HALLOWEEN FAVORITES: PHANTASM (1979)

MZNJ_halloween_favorites_02

now playing

Phantasm

bars

PHANTASM (1979)

Phantasm is a true horror classic and one of my all time favorite horror films. No matter how many times I watch it, it’s just as weird and creepy as when I first saw it back in 79. It may be considered slow moving and tame by today’s standards, but I still love it.

Phantasm tells the story of the Pearson brothers, Jody (Bill Thornbury) and younger sibling Mike (Michael Baldwin) who have recently lost their parents and now are burying their friend Tommy who is said to have committed suicide, but from the opening moments, we know different. All this time spent at the local mortuary has had an effect on the already traumatized Mike, who is starting to believe that the deaths are part of some supernatural conspiracy lead by the mysterious Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) who is the ominous undertaker at the Morningside Funeral Home. But as Mike continues to investigate the creepy mortuary to prove his beliefs to Jody and their best friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister), he finds that not only may he be right about the devious goings on, but the Tall Man may now have the brothers and their pal targeted as his next victims.

Phantasm is a creepy and surreal horror tale from writer/director Don Coscarelli who also made the cult favorites The Beastmaster and Bubba Ho-Tep. It is full of spooky atmosphere and Coscarelli and crew achieve some really nightmare worthy visuals and SPFX on a small budget. From it’s freakish horde of hooded dwarves…whose creation is a disturbing part of the Tall Man’s plan…to the murderous silver spheres that patrol Morningside’s hallways, Phantasm delivers an original and offbeat fright flick with plenty of chills and thrills. The cast for the young protagonists are basically amateurs and are fine, but it is Scrimm and his evil Tall Man that really helps make things work by crafting a malevolent and memorable villain who is now considered a classic horror icon. There is a decent amount of gore throughout the flick, but it’s rather tame compared to more modern horror…though ironically, back in the day, critics sighted it along with Alien and Dawn Of The Dead as examples of horror violence going too far…and the story nicely combines the supernatural with the extraterrestrial to make for a delightfully weird tale. The film does have a dream-like quality and doesn’t always follow a traditional straight and narrow narrative, but it is never hard to follow and it’s surreal tone adds to the overall effectiveness of the film. Phantasm’s equally goose-bump inducing electronic score by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave also adds a lot of atmosphere to an already atmospheric film and the sound effects guys came up with some pretty unsettling sound effects to accent the bizarre events occurring onscreen.

Obviously Phantasm now also comes with that late 70s, early 80s nostalgia too and that only adds to the fun and while I understand why the newer generation of horror fans may not quite get what the fuss is about, this film for me is an influential classic that has yet to ever really be duplicated even by Coscarelli’s own amusing, but inferior 3 sequels. One of my top 5 Halloween season must watches!…and I still want the black 1971 Plymouth Barracuda the Pearson Brothers cruised around in!

4 silver spheres!

phantasm rating

cuda

Maybe the coolest car in horror history since The Munster Mobile!

bars

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “HALLOWEEN FAVORITES: PHANTASM (1979)

  1. Pingback: HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: JOHN DIES AT THE END (2013) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  2. Pingback: HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BUBBA HO-TEP (2002) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  3. Pingback: FIRST TRAILER HITS FOR ‘PHANTASM V: RAVAGER!’ | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  4. Pingback: MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: PHANTASM II and PHANTASM III | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  5. Pingback: HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION (1998) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  6. Pingback: TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: BURNT OFFERINGS (1976) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  7. Pingback: TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE BEASTMASTER (1982) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  8. Pingback: TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: KENNY AND CO. (1976) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  9. Pingback: MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 MUST WATCH HORROR FLICKS FOR THE HALLOWEEN SEASON | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  10. Pingback: HOLIDAY GREETING FROM DON COSCARELLI INCLUDES PHANTASM: RAVAGER FOOTAGE! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  11. Pingback: TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: SURVIVAL QUEST (1989) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  12. Pingback: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGUS SCRIMM! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  13. Pingback: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGUS SCRIMM! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  14. Pingback: CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: PAULA IRVINE as LIZ in PHANTASM II! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  15. Pingback: HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HELLIONS (2015) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  16. Pingback: TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE LOST EMPIRE (1983) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  17. Pingback: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGUS SCRIMM! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  18. Pingback: PHANTASM: RAVAGER GETS A NEW TRAILER…BOY! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  19. Pingback: MONSTERZERO NJ’S 31 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  20. Pingback: HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: PHANTASM RAVAGER (2016) | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  21. Pingback: HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHANTASM! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

  22. Pingback: AVCO EMBASSY PICTURES: UNSUNG HEROES OF THE B-MOVIE! | MonsterZero NJ's Movie Madhouse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s