Phantasm Reviews

 

Here are my reviews of the two follow-up films to "Phantasm". Although they are no where near as good as the original, they are some of the more entertaining sequels I have seen. 

 

Phantasm II

It took nine years to get a sequel made for the original "Phantasm". You have to love the tagline for this film "THE BALL IS BACK!" and they are better than ever.

Phantasm II picks up right where the first left off. Reggie (Reggie Bannister), our lovable ice cream man, tells Michael to go upstairs and pack up, because they are hitting the road. When Reg hears some commotion coming from upstairs, he heads up to do a little investigating. There he sees the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) directing his minions as they attempt to "shanghai"  young Michael. After a little midget monk tussling, Reggie is able to free Mike and blows up the house on his way out. Broiled Tall Man? I think not. It is only the beginning, my friends.

Fast forward to the present, we find our hero Mike (played this time around by James LeGros) still suffering from nightmares. It seems he's been calling the local loony bin home for the past couple of years. He's able to convince his doctors that all that Tall Man stuff, midget monks, spacegates, etc. was just left over emotions from the deaths of his family. They agree and let him out... SUCKERS!!!!

Right away he heads out after the Tall Man, but this time Mike's not alone. First, he enlists the help of Reg. Second, Mike seems to be psychically linked to a hot blond named Liz (Paula Irvine). He has seen her in his dreams and knows that the Tall Man is after her. Armed like RAMBO-wannabes (with a makeshift flame-thrower and quadruple barreled shotgun), Reg and Mike follow the trail of deserted towns and empty graveyards left behind by the Tall Man. Along the way, the always-horny Reg (again thinking with the wrong head),  picks up a mysterious hitchhiker (Samantha Phillips) for some added fun. We are left with this uneasy feeling that the Tall Man is just using Liz to lore Michael to him. This is definitely more than a simple urge to kill the boy. What does the Tall Man want? The end comes with some great effects and in the immortal words of the Tall Man, "It's never over", thus the sequel.

Phantasm II


Cast & Crew
Tall Man FBI File

B
ack to 
Morningside
MY RANKING IN THE SERIES: #2

Overall, Phantasm II is a pretty decent follow-up to the first film. This time around Don Coscarelli had the backing of a bigger studio (Universal) and this translated into a bigger budget. This is seen reflected in the better sets and special effects. "The Ball(s)" are deadly than ever. Armed with new weapons, they are ready to unleash their reign of terror on anyone (friend or foe) who gets in their way. Pay special attention to a scene in the crematorium. One of the Tall Man's assistants can be seen with a bag of remains labeled "Sam Raimi", a definite tribute to the master.

 

 

Phantasm III

A lot of people seem to like Part III more than Part II, but I have to say it's my least favorite of the "Phantasm" films. But I will admit, I just finished watching an uncut composite print, which included 4 additional minutes of footage that helped to tighten up the plot to make it an overall better film than the video release. This time around we got a cast reunion from the first film. We got the mainstays in Angus and Reg reprising their roles, but also A. Michael Baldwin (Michael) and Bill Thornbury (Jody) also returning.

Part III picks up right where II left off. The Tall Man has killed Liz, but Reg and Mike managed to escape his grasp. Later, Mike is visited by his dead (?) brother, Jody, who manifests himself as both a spirit and also as a "Ball". He promises to lead them to the Tall Man, but just as they begin their trek Mike is captured by the Tall Man.

Reg decides to go it alone (with the help of the "Ball" formerly know as "Jody") in his search for Michael. Along the way he picks another young boy named Tim (Kevin Connors… and I don't mean that you bunch of sickos) and a young black female army vet named Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry) to join in the fight. Together they track down the Tall Man and his minions for the final battle, but the fun has only just begun.

Phantasm III:
Lord of the Dead


Cast & Crew
Tall Man FBI File

B
ack to 
Morningside
MY RANKING IN THE SERIES: #3

This films ends with a lot more questions than answers. Like, how are Michael and the Tall Man connected? What truly is the origin of "The Balls"? Are they more than just motorized watchdogs? Could Reg ever really turn off his hormones (I think this is harder than stopping the Tall Man)? Also, I found this film was a little too comical for my taste in retrospect to the "Phantasm" series. In the previous two films (especially in the original), the mixture of horror and comedy was expertly balanced, but in Part III there are way too many comical interludes.  The zombies were rather boring. Overall, I still recommend this film and lets hope Part IV answers these question and more.

 

Phantasm: Obivilion

 

 

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