6.8/10
31,140
316 user 228 critic

Phantasm (1979)

Trailer
2:00 | Trailer
A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

Director:

Don Coscarelli

Writer:

Don Coscarelli
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Popularity
4,187 ( 56)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
A. Michael Baldwin ... Mike (as Michael Baldwin)
Bill Thornbury ... Jody
Reggie Bannister ... Reggie
Kathy Lester ... Lady in Lavender
Terrie Kalbus Terrie Kalbus ... Fortuneteller's Granddaughter
Kenneth V. Jones ... Caretaker (as Ken Jones)
Susan Harper Susan Harper ... Girlfriend
Lynn Eastman-Rossi ... Sally (as Lynn Eastman)
David Arntzen David Arntzen ... Toby
Ralph Richmond Ralph Richmond ... Bartender
Bill Cone Bill Cone ... Tommy
Laura Mann Laura Mann ... Double Lavender
Mary Ellen Shaw Mary Ellen Shaw ... Fortuneteller
Myrtle Scotton Myrtle Scotton ... Maid
Angus Scrimm ... The Tall Man
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More Like This 

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Storyline

Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, afraid to lose his brother follow him to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lifting a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate, and discovers that the Tall Man, protected by his flying spheres, is shrinking dead bodies down to half their normal size and reanimating them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If you're looking for horror that's got balls...IT'S FOUND YOU. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nudity, violence, and intense scenes | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although released in 1979, the copyright date shown during the closing credits of this film says MCMLXXVII (1977). See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 11 mins) After Reggie makes the physical connection between the two nodes on the gateway, he falls backward onto the floor. In the letterbox edition, the ropes used to pull him back toward the gateway are briefly visible as he falls. See more »

Quotes

Jody: Now, remember: you don't aim a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. And, you don't shoot a man unless you intend to kill him. No warning shots. Hey, you listening to me? No warning shots. Warning shots are bullshit. You shoot to kill, or you don't shoot at all.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The remastered version begins with the Bad Robot logo appearing in one of the Tall Man's spheres. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a confirmed first workprint cut of the movie that apparently went over three hours long in length. It's been speculated that most of the excised footage from this version though served as padding and unnecessary characterization that merely slowed the overall pacing of the movie. Despite there being over ten minutes of deleted footage being officially released over the years through previous releases of the movie and through recycling in Phantasm IV: Oblivion, much of the missing footage from this first cut has never seen the light of day. However, it has been stated by Don Coscarelli at a screening of Phantasm: Remastered (Frida Cinema, 10/13/18) that he may consider releasing this cut someday through limited distribution after having been asked by a fan. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Sittin' Here At Midnight
by Bill Thornbury
Thornbury Music
See more »

User Reviews

 
You play a good game. But now you die!
26 December 2016 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) are mourning the death of their parents in a small Oregon town. Together with their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister), an ice cream man, they must do battle with a nefarious undertaker known only as The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) and his various minions...not to mention a neat flying sphere that can puncture skulls.

Writer / director / cinematographer / editor Don Coscarelli truly hit paydirt with this enduring fan favorite, a horror / fantasy classic that spawned a franchise spanning over three and a half decades. A great film it is not, but it sure is a fun and entertaining one. Admittedly, the acting is mostly amateurish and our heroes less interesting than our villain. But Coscarelli clearly enjoys himself playing with as much "it's all supposed to take on the tones of a nightmare" shtick as he can. He never does worry about any of this making sense.

Baldwin, Thornbury, and Bannister are at least likable as our heroes, especially Bannister, whose character turned into more of a badass as the series went on. Kathy Lester is alluring as a mysterious "lady in lavender". But "Phantasm" ultimately belongs to the imposing Scrimm, whose appearance is very memorable. "BOOOYYY!!!"

The film also benefits from a music score by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave that is pretty catchy, in particular its haunting, somewhat "Halloween"-esque main theme.

The main set piece involves the sphere mutilating a caretakers' face; Coscarelli fought the MPAA to keep this sequence in the film and actually succeeded.

Worth watching, at least once, by devotees of the horror genre.

Seven out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Morningside See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,988,469

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,988,469
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo (Visurama)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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