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JP's Review

Created Oct 10, 2020 02:16AM PST • Edited Oct 10, 2020 02:29AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Don Coscarelli delivers to us his greatest creation with the eerie fantastical thriller, Phantasm.

    The residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, leading young Mike (Michael Baldwin) to investigate. After discovering that the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), the town’s mortician, is killing and reanimating the dead as misshapen zombies, Mike seeks help from his older brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury), and local ice cream man Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Working together, they try to lure out and kill the Tall Man, all the while avoiding his minions and a deadly silver sphere.

    When you say the word horror to an average movie goer, one may think of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger, Michael Myers, Dracula, Frankenstein, or one of the million gag inducing “reality” competition shows on cable. It’s safe to assume, however, that out of 100 moviegoers, maybe 1 or even none have ever heard of Phantasm or know the Tall Man. This saddens my icy black gorehound heart.

    At a time when films like Black Christmas, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween were helping the horror industry evolve into the 80s slasher craze, Phantasm dared to be different. While everybody geared up for masked killers, high body counts, and gratuitous amounts of premarital sex, Phantasm offered an original premise and villain. Though it obeys the rules and clichès of most slasher films, Phantasm’s originality would go on to create a universe that would spawn 4 sequels and a cult following of fairly epic proportions.

    The beauty of Phantasm is that it puts the viewer in the shoes of the victims. We know as much of what is going on as the guy running for his life and screaming, “what the h*ll is going on?” While there is a motive to figure out and backstories to be told, Phantasm urges its viewers to survive first, ask questions later.

    While it may not be a perfectly executed film and some of it’s late 70s elements give it an outdated feel, don’t be fooled. Phantasm is a scary, fun-filled ride that will keep you out of mausoleums for the foreseeable future.

  3. Barely OK 2.0

    The acting is on par with what late 70s independent films were doing. While some scenes and reactions feel plausible, others are quite laughable.

    A. Michael Baldwin does a so so job as young teenage Mike. While it’s easy to feel sorry for a 13 year old being chased by a maniac, Baldwin didn’t really deliver a convincing performance and came off wooden at times.

    Bill Thornbury plays Jody, the big brother/guardian of Mike. Jody is the best big brother in the world for allowing his younger brother to drive his incredibly sweet 1970 Hemi Cuda. Unfortunately, Jody is only there to be Mike’s security blanket and to come up with plans that involve him driving the Cuda incredibly fast which is great entertainment but seriously lacking in the ability to draw any emotion from this reviewer.

    Reggie Bannister as Reggie the Ice Cream Man is a fun and enjoyable character who wields a pretty bombastic 4 barrel shotgun in the later films. He’s the lovable dog that will constantly wrap his leash around a tree and get himself stuck but this dog can untangle himself if need be.

    Angus Scrimm owns the film as the mysterious and extra creepy with a side fries, Tall Man. We don’t know who he is or where he comes from and that’s part of what makes Scrimm’s performance so effortless yet impossible to duplicate.

  4. Male Stars Barely OK 2.0
  5. Female Stars Bad 1.0
  6. Female Costars Bad 1.0
  7. Male Costars Bad 1.0
  8. Great 4.0

    With a low budget of $300000, some of phantasm’s exterior night shots are a little too dark. The scenes inside the mausoleum are well lit and great

    The musical score doesn’t seem to be “all that” but you’ll get it stuck in your head. Add to that, edge of your seat suspense and special effects I’d give my fingers on my left hand for 😁, and you have a h*ll of a film.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Horrid 3.6

    We have

    2 horizontal dances
    1 female bare chest
    1 dead body that is reanimated only to be deceased once more
    1 dead undead body.
    1970 Hemi Cuda
    A metal sphere even Inspector Gadget would like to get his mitts on.

  15. Sex Erotic 3.3
  16. Violence Savage 3.8
  17. Rudeness Profane 3.0
  18. Fantasy 4.1

    While Phantasm has the look of a 70s grindhouse film, its creativity picks up the slack left behind as a result of silly imperfections

    The movie and series are shrouded in fantasy. Multiple dimensions, teleporters, autonomous vehicles, a legion of hooded dwarfs, drones, it seems Don Coscarelli was onto something way back in 1979. Or maybe he was just on something and got lucky 😉.

  19. Circumstantial Supernatural 4.0
  20. Biological Fantasy 4.1
  21. Physical Supernatural 3.8


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