Phantasm (film)

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Phantasm

Theatrical release poster
Directed byDon Coscarelli
Produced byDon Coscarelli
Written byDon Coscarelli
StarringMichael Baldwin
Bill Thornbury
Reggie Bannister
Kathy Lester
Angus Scrimm
Music byFred Myrow
Malcolm Seagrave
CinematographyDon Coscarelli
Editing byDon Coscarelli
StudioNew Breed Productions
Distributed byAVCO Embassy Pictures
Release date(s)
  • March 28, 1979 (1979-03-28)
Running time89 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$300,000
Box office$11,988,469[2]
 
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Phantasm

Theatrical release poster
Directed byDon Coscarelli
Produced byDon Coscarelli
Written byDon Coscarelli
StarringMichael Baldwin
Bill Thornbury
Reggie Bannister
Kathy Lester
Angus Scrimm
Music byFred Myrow
Malcolm Seagrave
CinematographyDon Coscarelli
Editing byDon Coscarelli
StudioNew Breed Productions
Distributed byAVCO Embassy Pictures
Release date(s)
  • March 28, 1979 (1979-03-28)
Running time89 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$300,000
Box office$11,988,469[2]

Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and edited by Don Coscarelli. It introduced the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns the dead into dwarf zombies to do his bidding and take over the world.

Contents

Plot

Following the death of his parents and brother, 24-year-old musician Jody Pearson raises his 13-year-old brother Mike in a small town disturbed by the mysterious deaths of its citizens. Reggie, a family man and ice cream vendor, joins the brothers in their suspicions that the local mortician, dubbed the Tall Man, is responsible for the deaths. Mike relays his fears to a fortune teller and her granddaughter about the possibility of Jody departing and leaving him in the care of his aunt, along with his suspicions about the Tall Man. Mike is shown a small black box and told to put his hand into it. After the box grips his hand, Mike is told not to be afraid and as the panic subsides, the box relaxes its grip. The notion of fear itself as the killer is established and is what propels Mike toward his final confrontation in the film with the Tall Man.

Mike is pursued by minions of the Tall Man, alien dwarves (which are kept in a small room that houses a gateway device between the two worlds), who are made from the bodies of the recently deceased, and tries to convince his brother of what is happening.

After convincing Mike and Reggie, they find a strange white room with containers in the mausoleum; a gateway to another planet is also there that Mike enters briefly where he sees the alien dwarves that have hunted him being used as slaves. While trying to escape the Tall Man, Reggie is stabbed and appears to die while Mike and Jody barely escape. They devise a plan to lure the Tall Man into a local deserted mine shaft and trap him inside. After doing so successfully, Mike wakes with a start in his house, lying by the fireplace with Reggie sitting next to him.

Reggie tells Mike he was simply having a bad dream, something that has been a common occurrence since Jody died in a car crash. Mike goes into his room where the Tall Man is waiting and an alien dwarf pulls Mike through his bedroom mirror.

Cast

Production

Rating

The film was originally rated X by the MPAA because of the silver sphere sequence involving a man urinating on the floor after falling down dead. After Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Champlin made a telephone call in a favor to a friend on the board, the rating was changed from the (commercially non-viable) X-rating to R. Champlin's positive review was quoted on the film's promotional posters.[citation needed]

Deleted scenes

In 1998, MGM re-released Phantasm on VHS and DVD, the film had a newly remastered Dolby stereo soundtrack. Both the VHS and DVD releases included two deleted scenes:

Reception

Phantasm received mixed to positive reviews, currently holding a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] The film was rated #25 on the cable channel Bravo!'s list of The 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Awards

Sequels

The film has spawned three sequels:

Home media

The film was released as a DVD by MGM in 1999 and then re-released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment on April 10, 2007.

References

External links