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Phantasm (1979)

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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
2,546 ( 273)
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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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:

This ball wants to play with you...for keeps! 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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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1971 Plymouth Barracuda was chosen because Don Coscarelli remembered a guy in high school had one, and was a little envious of him. A Barracuda was made to look like the Hemi 'Cuda. Though in one scene you can see the designation of 440-6 on the hood. Indicating the car had a 440, with a "six pack" (3 two-barrel carburetors).Bill Thornbury then took the car to a friend of his and had it custom striped so it felt like it was really his car. The true purpose of the car was so the brothers Mike and Jody could have a means of bonding. In fact, A. Michael Baldwin learned to drive in that car, he was only 14 at the time! After the movie was finished, the car was sold, and to this day nobody is sure what really happened to it. As a result the black Hemi 'Cuda became just as much of a hallmark to the series as the chrome spheres. See more »

Goofs

(at around 46 mins) In the car chase, Mike shouts that there is no one driving the car behind them, however some poor lighting reveals a tall man driving the car. See more »

Quotes

Mike: [upon seeing the Tall Man] Uuuumm...
See more »

Crazy Credits

With the exception of the title Phantasm appearing on-screen, there are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Troll 2 (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
This gives new meaning to the word "BOOOYYY!"
21 March 2003 | by Zbigniew_KrycsiwikiSee all my reviews

In 1980, Magnetic Video released the full length 90-minutes long version on video, with a difused glow throughout the entire film. In the latter part of the 1980s, the film was issued again on video, but one sequence (which takes place in near complete darkness in The Tall Man's glowing white room) was accidentally edited out by the people supervising the film to video transfer. This version of the film ran 87/ 88 minutes in length. When Phantasm was issued on DVD in the late 1990s the scene was restored, but the colour balance and the soft diffusion was corrected, which I think robbed the film of some of its atmospheric effect. My review is based on Magnetic Video's 1980 release.

This haunting, dreamlike hallucination of a movie was written, directed, photographed, produced and edited by Don Coscarelli, it doesn't make much sense but it's still a great bit of fun to watch with the lights turned out. This kid named Mike convinces his older brother Jody that there is something weird going on at the local cemetery. So he and Jody break into the old mausoleum and find out that it's actually some kind of factory where people are killed by a flying metal ball, crushed down to a height of about 3'2", dressed up like little monks and packaged up into round metal garbage cans and shipped off for use as slave labour in some other dimension. A dimension ruled and resided over by the six and a half foot tall mortician (known throughout the entire ordeal as just simply "The Tall Man") working at this cemetery. When The Tall Man kills another friend of theirs, they decide to put and end to him, or at least try to.

This movie has many different layered meanings, over the years some people have said that it's a reference to corporate America coming in (in the form of The Tall Man) and killing off everyone (by turning everything into a 'business') and some have said that this movie is also about a kid's loss of innocence and fears about everyone around him leaving (or in this case dying) Whatever the hell this movie is about, it's still great fun, followed by a couple of really disappointing (and belated) sequels.


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