Written and Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Don Coscarelli
Producer: D. A Coscarelli
Screenplay: Don Coscarelli
Date Released: March 28, 1979
A. Michael Baldwin as Mike
Bill Thornbury as Jody
Reggie Bannister as Reggie
Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
When Jody (Bill Thornbury) returns home to attend a funeral, strange events start to occur. Excited to see him, Jody’s younger brother, Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), follows his brother everywhere. But when Mike follows Jody to the funeral parlor, he suspects that a tall man is using the diseased bodies for other means. Mike’s suspicion is further heightened when he observes the shadows of what appear to be little creatures lurking around. When Jody also experiences these events, together the two brothers investigate and try to stop what is happening around them.
It is clear that the producers from the film, Phantasm, had the capabilities to make this film a blood bath of a horror flick which was indicated by one notable scene. In this scene, a spiked metal ball is soaring through the air and subsequently attaches itself to someone’s head and simultaneously starts to drill into their forehead. This causes a massive gush of blood to pour out of the center of the ball. Surprisingly, there was no other scenes that were exceptionally graphic. The gore scene mentioned above was so good, it made you want more.
The Grave Review
The plot of Phantasm (1979) was exactly the meaning of the word, that is, a fantasy or illusion of some kind. However, there were some notable concerns with the delivery and execution of this plot.
Th first issue is that there did not seem to be one main antagonist in the film. There was the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), the dwarfs, and a lady who is possibly just another appearance for the Tall Man. The problem with this is that you never really know who is the main threat.
Another confusing point is that the spiked metal balls as discussed above, did not seem to have any origins. That is, who is controlling these objects and why are they there? Arguably, since everything is an illusion, that could be a catchall explanation for everything in the film, but there does not seem to be any significant purpose to these dangerous objects other than intensifying the gore in the film.
One positive aspect about the film was the chemistry between the two brothers, Mike and Jody. It is always nice to see brothers caring for one another and in that way, made the interaction between them pleasant to watch.
Overall, the premise of Phantasm was sound but delivery was poor. In addition, the prosthetic and special effects were well-done. However, as a whole, Phantasm, was a mediocre film which had great potential.
For the above-mentioned reasons, Grave Reviews gives Phantasm (1979), two and one-half graves out of five graves.
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You may also like our review of the 2010 film, Insane.