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February 2020


 Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979)

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Judge Redd

Judge Redd

Posts : 914
Join date : 2014-03-12
Age : 27
Location : Ireland

Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979) Empty
PostSubject: Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979)   Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979) EmptyTue May 21, 2019 2:49 pm

Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979) 9f26f812
Hey there folks
Today I want to talk about a movie that I found very enjoyable and whose series and actors have worked on the series since 79, having just finished up the latest (and possibly final) movie in 2016. I am of course referring to the 1979 Sci-fi horror Phantasm directed and written by Don Coscarelli. This is part of a set of reviews I am doing where I will be covering the Phantasm Series, as well as another series of films. Currently doing a whole lot of work on sorting all these reviews out, because yes there are a lot of them and I have such plans for things to come. But for now, I hope this review inspires your interest in what is a fantastic movie that is often overlooked, or unknown to the mass fanbase. Without further delay, let me introduce you to Phantasm.

About this movie: This movie is one that is considered both a cult classic, and is considered by many to be one of the all time greats due to its dream like surreal imagery and narrative. This film often makes us question what is real and what isn't? The theme of death is a big one in this film, as well as the fear of the unknown which are  two themes that go hand in hand together very well. Add to the fact that this movie introduces us to a lesser known horror icon, but an icon all the same, in the form of the Tall Man (who I am convinced was some sort of inspiration for Slenderman. Tall, skinny, mysterious individual wearing a suit). The Tall man is played by the late Angus Scrimm, who played the Tall Man with such an intimidating performance that he dominates every scene he is in. Of course this wouldn't be too hard as most of the actors were amateurs but regardless of their status as actors they give pretty great performances. There is a lot to love about this film, but one thing I particularly loved when watching it was the character of Reggie. Who is set to become the Most Badass Ice Cream Man in horror movie!(Not a big list, but Badass Ice Cream man is such a niche character). A character development we will be exploring  in the sequels. Right now, hes just loyal friend Reggie the Ice Cream man.
The movie is full of great acting, along with some pretty cool effects, a great story, and evil zombie Jawas.

Movie Run Time: 1hr 29mins

Basic Plot: Mike, a young teenage boy who has recently lost his parents, soon finds himself at odds with a mysterious Tall man who works at the funeral home. While there one day he witnesses the Tall man lift a coffin on his own, without any hint of trouble. Soon Mike begins to investigate the Tall Man and discovers that the Tall man is protected by small creatures and flying spheres. Who is the Tall Man? What are these creatures? What is the Tall man doing with the dead of the graveyard? And can Mike, his brother Jodie, and Reggie the ice cream man possibly stop him before its too late?

Kills: There isn't many kills in this movie, but the kills that are in it were ahead of their time in terms of effects. It is rather interesting that in a horror movie that centers around death has such a low kill count. However, while some kills are standard those who break out are the ones with effects we wouldn't see for some years later.  

Best Kill in the Movie: My absolute favorite kill in this movie, is in fact its most memorable. For those who have yet to hit the spoiler button, I am referring to the legendary Sphere death. While its probably not that difficult to do nowadays, when I first watched this I found myself pretty damn impressed at just how cool this kill looks, especially for a movie from the late 70s.
The Scene:
I mean look at that. That is some pretty damn good effects for the film, but also really bloody as well.

Upsides in this film: The are a lot of upsides to this film such as the effects, story, villain and over arching theme. However, in my own opinion I think that the villain makes for the best part of this film, as he also contributes to the overarching theme as well. The Tall Man is intimidating, mysterious and looks like someone you would see during your childhood that had an urban legend about him. The Tall Man apparently represents the fear of death in our young hero's life(in the theme), which he does so excellently in both appearance and performance by Angus Scrimm. Even the dream sequences with him allow the Tall Man to dominate every scene he is part of.

Downsides in this film: A major downside of this film that I hear some people both praise and complain about is the dream sequences, and the inability to know what is reality and what is part of the dream. Is the Tall Man real? Or just a figment of the imagination of a child who has recently lost a people he loves, and wishes to blame someone for it. What is real and what is not? The dreams are not exactly secretive in their execution, but given the subject matter of this film its hard to know what is real and what isn't. While not exactly a deal breaker for many, this can be a put off for those who want a more clear cut horror film. I for one had no issue with it, besides the pacing at times. This is a slow burner of a horror film for sure, so don’t go in looking for a horror film where the body count is high and the gore is aplenty. Another issue that I found at least is that the movie goes into a sci fi element part way through that just seems to feel a little out of place to me, but it didn’t drive me away from this gem.

Personal Verdict: I really enjoyed this movie, and upon watching it at first I was looking forward to watching the rest of the series. There is so much good about this movie, that I had to watch it over again. With great performances from a mostly volunteer group of people, a fascinating story that borders sci-fi and magic, and a very intimidating villain that I am convinced was the basis for the slenderman stories, this movie is one of those rare gems that we seldom hear about but should see all the same. Its sequels are spaced out apart but the fact that they mostly keep the same cast adds to the charm of this story. Also, I have to give prompts to one of my favorite characters in horror films in the form of Reggie the Ice Cream man, who becomes a fantastic Everyman hero throughout the series. But more about that in the sequels, which we will explore.

Overall Rating: 8.9/10

For a movie made in 79, with very few professional actors, and reviews that didn’t promise anything special, Phantasm delivered on a lot of fronts that none thought it would and became something of a cult classic. It also inspired a series of sequels that carried most of the same actors in the span of almost 40 years, which alone is impressive. Its slow pace may not be for everyone, but for those who enjoy a film that blurs the lines of reality and dream like states, was well as some great acting and fascinating if not cheesy story points, this is the movie for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979)   Tombstone Review: Phantasm (1979) EmptyTue May 21, 2019 11:23 pm

The Judge is right on the money on this one! I had forgotten about this little gem. In it's day, (yeah...I remember) this was a good film at the drive in. Thumbs Up
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