The Phantasm franchise consists of five films and is written and directed by Don Coscarelli (John Dies at the End, The Beastmaster). The films were released over a time period of 37 years, Phantasm 1979, Phantasm II 1988, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead 1994, Phantasm IV: Oblivion and Phantasm: Ravager 2016.
“You play a good game boy. But the game is finished. Now you die.”
Mike (A. Michael Baldwin – Brutal) is a young boy, still struggling to deal with the deaths of his parents and highly reliant on his big brother Jody (Bill Thornbury – The Lost Empire), who he follows everywhere. After the death of their other brother, he spies on the funeral and spots something strange. The undertaker returns with the hearse and takes the coffin away.
When he investigates the Morningside Mausoleum, he makes a number of disturbing discoveries. The place seems to be populated with angry zombie dwarves with custard for blood, under the control of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm – Satan Hates You, I Sell the Dead) and they seem to be made from the dead bodies in the graveyard.
They enlist the help of Jody’s best friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister – Bubba Ho-tep), an ice cream man and guitar player, who proves surprisingly proficient at taking out the undead. They soon realise that the Tall Man is in fact an alien being, bent on forcing the human race into slavery for his own gain. Relentlessly pursued by flying spheres, they find a dimensional gateway, similar to a tuning fork, which acts as a gateway to his world.
Following the tragic death of Jody in a car crash, Mike and Reggie track the Tall Man from town to town, following his trail of destruction and dead communities in a desperate attempt to prevent him from destroying humanity and Earth.
This is an excellent box set. It features all five films on blu-ray, each one with lots of special features and a bonus disc of pheaturettes, including a tour of filming locations with Reggie Bannister, an interview with Angus Scrimm, a look at the filming of the stunt sequences and a very interesting piece about the fans and how they have helped to shape the films. Phantasm (the original film) is presented here after a 4K restoration, overseen by J.J. Abrams, bringing it up to equivalent quality with the others.
It also makes for a very interesting overview of the evolution of the horror genre over the four decades, with the style and feel of each one reflecting its era. Magnificently, apart from a slight glitch with Phantasm II, where Mike was played by James Le Gros, Don Coscarelli has managed to keep the same actors across all of the films, giving them a feeling of continuity in spite of the length of time between them.
Also including a replica of the sphere and a 152 page book of archive material and stills, this is a fabulous package for the serious horror fan, something to be proud to put on your shelf.
“Small towns are like people. Some grow old and die a natural death. Some are murdered.”
Phantasm 1-5 Limited Edition Blu-ray Collection is available to order now and will be released on 24th April 2016.