I hate to admit it, but I have only just become a fan of the "Phantasm"
series. I remember as a kid that the movie just didn't sit right with me. This was
probably due to the fact that my house was originally the town morgue and my bedroom was
where they stored all the dead bodies before embalming them. Guess the whole story line
kinda creeped me out and I never took the time to watch the movie completely. I would see
it in bits and pieces and it never really made any sense to me. But lucky, I have always
been open to suggestions. And after receiving tons of email about when I would be adding
The Vault, and actually meeting and
partying with the guys (Angus, Reggie, Bill, Michael, Don), I decided to give it another
chance. And boy! I am glad I did.
So as I stuck the videotape in the
VCR, I have to admit I had my doubts. Rarely, do films get a second chance with me,
because I think first impressions are so important. But in this case I was wrong. So
as the film began and the theme kicked, I felt at ease. I knew the rest was pure horror
movie magic and I wasn't disappointed. So what was it about "Phantasm", this
time around, that warranted its position in
One of the things that I always
loved about "Phantasm" was the theme. Even from my limited viewing of the film
as a kid, I always considered it a classic horror soundtrack. The music was used so
effectively to heighten the dark atmosphere of this film. The composers of the soundtrack
were Fred Myrow (Soylent Green) and Malcolm Seagrave. Today, the use of the soundtrack has
definitely gotten away from the use of the classic score. Instead, they are dotted with
the "pop groups of the day." Rather than using the score to enhance the film,
Hollywood uses it to make a fast buck. One question for the "phans", what song
samples the "Phantasm" theme?
me, because I would like to know.
Second, I liked the mixture
of sci-fi/horror. I've gotten a ton of emails when I posed the questions, "Can you
have horror in a sci-fiction setting and vice versa?" I agreed with the fans, for the
most part, that sci-fi and horror can go hand in hand. "Phantasm" is the first
sci-fi/horror film that I have examined in the House of Horrors. "Phantasm" did an
excellent job of melding sci-fi themes into the world of horror. I guess one of my initial
turn offs with this film was the similarities between the "the killer midget
monks" and the "jawas" from "Star Wars". At first, I thought this
was just a fast way of cashing in on the immense popularity of "Star Wars", only
to find out that Don Coscarelli (writer/director) had come up with the concept of these
evil little mutants a full year before "Star Wars". He actually though about
taking them out after hearing about their similarities. Lucky, he didn't and their
presence in the "Phantasm" films have become my favorite parts.
Third, I liked the "Tall Man". Angus Scrimms performance as the "Tall
Man" in "Phantasm" has definitely served as a trademark role in
establishing him as one of the all-time greatest horror villains. He is the epitome of
true evil. He is not the "one-lining" madman of say "Freddy
Krueger" or the "slash at all costs" maniac like "Jason". Rather he is the manifestation of the grim reaper.
Finally and probably recognized as
being as big a part of the "Phantasm" series as the "Tall Man" is
"The Ball". Otherwise known as the "sentinel", these ultimate killer
watch dogs have offered us some of the more memorable scenes of gore. These flying spheres
of death and destruction have a mind of their own and no one, not even the "Tall
Man", is exempt from their wrath. I love the tagline for "Phantasm 2", "The Ball is Back".
Don Coscarelli did an excellent job
with "Phantasm". His well-crafted cuts in specific tension- filled scenes
helped to heighten the emotion of fear and pending doom in the film. It was only his
third film and he was 23 years old when he made it. It amazes me how someone so young
could make a masterpiece such as this film. But a lot of the classics were made by young
directors such as "Evil Dead", "Night of the Living Dead", "Halloween",
"Dead Alive" and "Texas
Chainsaw Massacre" just name a few. I guess these young directors are more
willing to take chances and do not get as bogged down by the games that Hollywood plays.
As always please
e-mail me if you have anything you can add
to this page, or if you have any comments, criticisms or suggestion.