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John’s Horror Corner: Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998), finally we have some answers to the mysteries of the Tall Man, his evil dwarves, his deadly balls…and now time travel!

June 25, 2017

MY CALL:  At first, this film feels like a typical bad 90s movie.  It’s not.  Give it a chance and franchise fans will be pleased by the revelations within even though the effects were largely lacking.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Phantasm IV: OblivionThere is little out there that compares to these films, so I’ll just suggest starting with Phantasm (1979) and Phantasm II (1988)—both of which are far better—and only then perhaps should one venture the subsequent sequels up to part 5. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) paled in comparison to parts 1-2, swerving away from original ’80s goodness right into ’90s bad movie-ville.

Where we left our ill-fated Reggie at the end of Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994).

Writer/director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm 1-4, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) returns with his fourth (and his final directorial) installment to explore the mysteries of the dimensional fork.  As Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) came to a close, Mike (A. Michael Baldwin; Phantasm 1-5) had fled the northwest and Reggie (Reggie Bannister; Phantasm 1-5, Wishmaster) was doomed.  Yet now we find that the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm; Phantasm 1-5, Subspecies, Wishmaster) mysteriously chose to spare him as it was “not yet his time.”  Meanwhile, Mike is having visions of evil dwarves during his cross-country Hearse tour, passing ghost town after ghost town, harvested of all life by the Tall Man over the last 20 years.

After the enigmatic and original foundation laid down by parts 1-2, Lord of the Dead (1994) really took a turn for the worse as a typical 90s “bad movie” and Oblivion seems to start out pushing that “bad 90s” envelope hard.  So much random crap happens that makes no sense.  And, no, I don’t mean it makes no sense now until they explain it later. No, no, no…this just feels like a bunch of random stupid scenes strung together.  Sure, it’s clear that there are some really cool ideas behind them (let’s stress the really cool)—and I’d love to hear Coscarelli explain it over a few pints.  But they seem wholly ill-explored, unexplained and prematurely forced on screen.  We need a Netflix series to re-approach the Phantasm film story arc!

Amid all this, Mike’s ghost/sphere brother Jody (Bill Thornbury; Phantasm 1-5) warns Reggie that Mike needs his help (and then we don’t see him again for half the movie), Reggie encounters a skinless demon state trooper who pukes yellow blood into his mouth (and we never find out why or what it was), Mike taunts the Tall Man with suicide only to not die because (like Reggie) it wasn’t his time (but the ends don’t justify the means…even though this “sort of” makes sense later), and then a portal just appears at Mike’s convenience to escape the Tall Man who seems content to not even try to stop or follow him.  Come on!  This stuff is inexplicable even for a Phantasm movie!  There’s even a scene featuring evil sphere BOOBS (Heidi Marnhout; Bubba Ho-Tep, Flight of the Living Dead)!  Do you think we get any explanation for how that happened?  Of course not. But, it was actually a pretty cool scene.

So now Mike is traveling through time to his own past in the 1970s (i.e., the Phantasm part 1 timeline), and even prior to that when we find a completely sane “Jebediah” Tall Man offering up fresh lemonade and southern hospitality.  This probably isn’t making too much sense yet, and it’s not you…it’s Coscarelli.  But, believe it or not (and much to my surprise), eventually some of this is actually going to congeal into a somewhat sensible storyline.  Not all of it, but the important bullet points.  However, one that they never clarify is how Lord of the Dead revealed that Mike himself actually is an evil metal sphere puppet of sorts.

As if the largely haphazardly disjointed (yet later somewhat comprehensible in hindsight) plot wasn’t problematic enough, I find great fault with the special effects in this movie.  Sure, the “sphere boobs” scene was actually really cool. But most of the movie relies on a few spurts of bright yellow blood and ugly dwarf make-up.  And we don’t have nearly enough flying sphere action!  Fine for a random direct-to-DVD 90s horror film, but not a worthy follow-up of the demonic back parasite or melting death or hair-pull reveal or sphere-in-the-mouth death of Phantasm II (1988; $3 million budget).  Even Lord of the Dead (1994; $2.5 million budget) had better effects than IV, but not II.  But Oblivion had a mere $650K budget, hardly more than double the $300K of Phantasm’s (1979) in the 70s!

It hardly seems fair to compare the best effect of part IV (ABOVE) to the highlights of part II (BELOW).

It’s funny, I spent an hour watching this thinking it was mind-numbing garbage, but a lot of things really did come together.  So…this isn’t garbage at all.  Were there stupid 90s-esque rando-scenes?  Yes, several, and they had no business being here.  But this sequel accomplished something that no other Phantasm film yet had—it actually answered as many questions as it created whereas parts 1-2 answered almost nothing while only raising hoards of questions.

This “apparently bad movie” turns out, when truly watched all the way through to the end, to rather, in fact, be the most comprehensible of the franchise so far.

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The MFF Podcast #100: We Loved Wonder Woman

June 22, 2017

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we are talking about Wonder Woman and horror movie sprinting. Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air in the DC muck and we loved every second that didn’t involve CGI battles on airfields. Get ready for a rollicking discussion that centers around Gal Gadot crushing it, Leatherface sprinting and strategic giving up of high ground.

Some Germans are about to get beat up….

As always we answer random listener questions and ponder why someone would ask about saving time in a bottle.  If you a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

 

MFF Special: Movies That Feature Characters Being Swallowed Whole Are Really Expensive to Make

June 20, 2017

There is a moment in Waterworld that has stuck with me for years. It involves Kevin Costner killing a massive sea beast with ease and then feeding it to people for dinner. I’ve never understood how a person can be swallowed whole by a many teethed beast and survive. The odds are basically insurmountable but it just keeps happening to cinematic characters.

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The following posts breaks down the numbers of the live-action films that feature characters being swallowed whole whilst engaging in battle and surviving with nary a scratch. Take a look at the Waterworld clip and you will see what I am talking about.

Sidenote: There are some films that features characters surviving a terrible ordeal. However, movies like Pinocchio, Where the Wild Things Are, Anaconda or The Empire Strikes Back don’t fit entirely into the criteria that I have set up. For instance, poor Jon Voight in Anaconda comes out on the bad side of things after being swallowed whole.

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1.The Average Budget is $194,457,667

Movies that feature people being eaten whole and getting out of it with nary a scratch are really expensive. Five of the movies (Waterworld, Pacific Rim, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) cost over $200 million and the lowest budget was Land of the Lost’s $116 million. I’m guessing when you are featuring massive beasts you need a massive CGI budget and all of these films (sans Waterworld) have loads of CGI. Take a look at this scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and you will see what I mean.

I know Captain Jack technically dies but he still comes back with nary a scratch in the third film….

2. The Average Inflated Domestic Box Office is $257,000,000 

People love movies that feature people being swallowed whole by creatures. Compared to all my other data involving movies featuring Foghat, jet ski action scenes, Corona and pencils used as weapons the total is massive. I understand the majority of these films are summer blockbusters but I’m still really impressed with the haul. I’d forgotten how HUGE the Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers franchises are. They both made over $450 million domestically which would be top five in any year. Too bad Land of the Lost and its $57 million haul kept the total from $300 million. I do love the T-Rex vaulting scene though.

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3. Rotten Tomatoes Critics Almost Consider Them Fresh and Audiences Sorta Love Them

The 58% RT average is actually pretty good considering this list features Transformers, Kevin Costner’s ego and broad jokes. I was pleasantly surprised to see the high ratings for Men in Black (92%), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (81%), Hellboy (81%) and Pacific Rim (71%). I love these three films and appreciate that some of my favorite characters survived being swallowed whole.

I wasn’t surprised audience scores were above average. The 6.7 score is legit and proves audiences love a lot of these films despite deserved bad ratings from critics. Only three of the movies (Men in Black, Pacific Rim, Hellboy) had higher RT scores than IMDb scores and that is natural considering IMDb scores never reach Men in Black’s 92% RT score and critics more often than not appreciate Guillermo del Toro (7.1 > 70%) more than the mainstream audiences.

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There you have it! Movies that feature people surviving being swallowed are very expensive to make and are often profitable!

If you liked this post make sure to check out my series featuring random data and useless numbers. Start with my groundbreaking posts about Leatherface sprinting,  Deep Blue Sea and Stellan Skarsgard and Halloween H20 then work your way down the list!

  1. Jet Ski Action Scenes Are the Worst
  2. A Closer Look at Movies That Feature the Words Great, Good, Best, Perfect and Fantastic
  3. An In-Depth Look At Movies That Feature Pencils Used as Weapons
  4. Cinematic Foghat Data
  5. Explosions and Movie Posters
  6. The Fast & Furious & Corona
  7. Nicolas Sparks Movie Posters Are Weird
  8. Predicting the RT score of Baywatch
  9. The Cinematic Dumb Data Podcast
  10. What is the best horror movie franchise?
  11. How fast can a fisherman clean a trunk?

 

 

 

Analyzing the Trunk Cleaning in I Know What You Did Last Summer

June 16, 2017

I Know What You Did Last Summer made me ask a question that I never thought I’d ask. How long would it take a murderous fisherman to clean out a car trunk that was once loaded with a dead body and stinky crabs? After looking at the data and sun movement affecting tree shade I have a good idea.

Watch the clip and you will see the dumb scene that has forced me to do way too much research.

Initially, I thought  Jennifer Love Hewitt was only gone for 15 minutes and that left the fisherman a limited window of time to clean. The reason I thought she was only gone for 15 minutes is she took off sprinting in the summer heat and came back totally sweat free. I assumed she only ran 50 yards and came back suddenly which left little time for sweat. However, after looking at the evidence featured in the clip there is a massive amount of tree shadow movement which means a decent amount of time passed (or it took the crew a while to reset the shot). 

In an effort to figure out the shadow movement I found a similar tree and kept track of the movement of the shade (it’s weird…I know). I’m thinking she was gone at least two hours because the shadow I tracked moved the same distance. Why was she gone so long? Did she get lunch? Why didn’t she calls the cops? Should the movie be called I Don’t Know What You Did For Those Two(ish) Hours?

I don’t think the fisherman would steal her car and take it to a car wash so I had to assume the guy took a lot of cleaning supplies, followed her vehicle and hoped she would notice the sound in the trunk in a quiet area that is free of walkers, nosy neighbors or traffic. It takes a lot of guts to stay around a vehicle loaded with a dead body and clean it.

When watching the clip way too many times I’m thinking there are about 50 crabs stuffed into the trunk. I counted 42 but underneath the guy there is movement so I added an extra eight. Also, there is a dead guy who must’ve smelt something terrible and was literal dead weight (How did he get all that in there?).

This is where things get crazy. The fisherman knew for some reason she would be gone forever (getting lunch) so he backed up his vehicle casually next to hers and began the cleaning process. Here is how I see it playing out.

    1. 10 minutes – backs up the car, collects cleaning supplies, and opens both trunks.
    2. 15 minutes – collects all of the crabs (and the few that escape), then looks around for a bit and pulls the body out of the trunk and dumps it into his vehicle.
    3. 90 minutes – This may seem excessive but the fisherman did an expert job on that trunk. It must have been a stinky mess because the body and crabs had been there for a decent of time which means there was blood and other gross stuff laying around. After reading through the WikiHow on car carpet cleaning I learned it is a very in-depth process. He’d need a vacuum, interior cleaner, brush, rag, wet rag, laundry starch, cold water, borax and a lot of patience while everything sets and drys.
    4. Total time – 115 minutes

The fisherman must’ve driven away minutes before the gang came back to survey the trunk. The guy is a master killer and car trunk cleaner. What I love about this scene is how the killer had to do a professional/stealthy job cleaning a trunk. Much like Michael Myers using his blinker while driving, I think a murderous man cleaning a trunk destroys any fear.

If you liked this post make sure to check out my series featuring random data and useless numbers. Start with my groundbreaking posts about Leatherface sprinting,  Deep Blue Sea and Stellan Skarsgard and Halloween H20 then work your way down the list!

  1. Jet Ski Action Scenes Are the Worst
  2. A Closer Look at Movies That Feature the Words Great, Good, Best, Perfect and Fantastic
  3. An In-Depth Look At Movies That Feature Pencils Used as Weapons
  4. Cinematic Foghat Data
  5. Explosions and Movie Posters
  6. The Fast & Furious & Corona
  7. Nicolas Sparks Movie Posters Are Weird
  8. Predicting the RT score of Baywatch
  9. The Cinematic Dumb Data Podcast
  10. What is the best horror movie franchise?

The MFF Podcast #99: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

June 15, 2017

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we are talking about some a-holes who got a big sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a welcome blast of irrelevance and murderous montages that prove bigger sequels can be better. Get ready for a rollicking discussion that centers around Marvel, music and severed toes. Also, how awesome is it that Kurt Russell plays a living planet?

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As always we answer random listener questions and ponder what would happen if Star Lord wasn’t such a great dancer.  If you a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

 

John’s Horror Corner: Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), and more of our other-worldly mortician the Tall Man, his evil dwarves, and his deadly balls.

June 13, 2017

MY CALL:  Somehow yet more incomprehensible than its predecessors, this is the first in the series I wouldn’t recommend outside of seeing the whole series in order.  Just imagine everything you liked form parts 1-2, and now imagine that there’s less of it.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Phantasm III: Lord of the DeadThere is little out there that compares to these films, so I’ll just suggest starting with Phantasm (1979) and Phantasm II (1988)—both of which are far better—and perhaps the subsequent sequels up to part 5.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? This franchise is just plain bonkers, and the story is all over the place with no real explanations in sight.  Parts 1 and 2 ended in inexplicable nightmare-like twists a la A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), leaving us at the end of part 2 with Reggie (Reggie Bannister; Phantasm 1-5, Wishmaster) apparently dead at the side of the road, and Mike (A. Michael Baldwin; Phantasm 1-5) and Liz (Paula Irvine; Phantasm III) being driven to their doom by the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm; Phantasm 1-5, Subspecies, Wishmaster), who had “melted to death” not long before.  Our part 3 opening reveals (ever so vaguely) how, indeed, the thought-to-be-dead Tall Man got to them in the end.  Then an evil dwarf eats Liz’ face, taking care of someone who apparently isn’t needed to further to plot in this next sequel.

After the car crash (with Mike, Liz and the Tall Man at the end of part 2), Reggie checks on Mike at the hospital to find an evil-sphere-possessed nurse trying to kill him!  The magical orb literally took the place of her brain, thus evolving the capabilities of these entities in the franchise.  That’s certainly new! So why not do that all the time and just assassinate the protagonists?  Mike ends up dying and, contrary to his from-the-dead brother Jody’s (Bill Thornbury; Phantasm 1-5) advice, he goes into the light.  But why would he do that? The ghost of his brother was right there telling him to do otherwise!  Parts 1-2 were admittedly weird, and a lot went unexplained.  Be prepared to be baffled.

Much to my dismay, this sequel adopts a 90s “bad movie” vibe (a la Leprechaun), complete with douchebag criminal bad guys and a tough little survivor kid with a razorblade frisbee.  Now in the form of a metal sphere, Jody’s spirit guides Reggie and the kid to the Tall Man.  I know, you’re thinking I must’ve left something out because this makes no sense for Jody to have been a ghost and then a killer sphere. Bad news. I’ve told you everything. This just doesn’t make sense.

On their journey, they join forces with the nunchuck-twirling Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry; The Devil’s Advocate, Phantasm: Ravager), Reggie somehow becomes a sleaze ball, and another silly sex scene transpires—I’m beginning to think this is a running joke between Reggie and Coscarelli.

Speaking of jokes, this sequel is doing very little service or justice to the franchise in that it is just incomprehensibly silly.  People are doing things in dreams that affect reality, the Tall Man’s severed body parts continue to become ridiculous monsters (as in part 1) for no reason, Jody keeps switching from being a sphere to a specter to a dream to a sphere, portals just seem to appear and disappear as needed, and…oh, right, the really stupid douchebag criminal zombie fights comprise much of the action. It’s become pretty campy.

Just having a chat with my brother Jody…who’s a ball now.

Despite all this silliness, we do get some answers.  We develop the Phantasm mythology by explaining how the Tall Man seems to continue returning from the dead, Mike’s strange connection to the Tall Man is elaborated, what powers the murderous spheres is revealed, some of the things done to create his evil dwarves are shown, and some additional aspects of the Tall Man’s grand plan are exposed.  We don’t really understand the ins and outs of any of this, but at least we know more.  And, despite all that isn’t answered, it felt good to learn more about what’s going on with this interdimensional graverobbing scheme to…take over the world?  Or at least, the Pacific Northwest?

Writer/director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm 1-4, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) continues to make sequels that hardly tie together, yet always manage to pick up right where the former ends.  Evidently, some duct tape and rewrites go a long way.  This is both admirable and a tad crazy, especially given the gaps between these movies (1979, 1988, 1994) and how he maintains the same lead cast.  Much to the film’s detriment, the Tall Man seems less menacing and less impressive here, as do his dwarves and balls.  Again, we have violently swerved into bad movie territory, so the suspense has been largely replaced by giggles as if to ask is this really serious right now?  You also may recall that psychic powers were prominent in Phantasm II (1988), and that Mike had a connection of sorts to the Tall Man. Now Jody shares other-worldly links to both Mike and the Tall Man. So, while this isn’t actually new, it’s already starting to feel old.

You can’t discuss these movies without mentioning the balls.  The effects were pretty solid, with the murderous chrome spheres flying through the air, unsheathing blades and buzz saws, impaling victims, and drilling into their heads!  The gore is decent, but more toned down from parts 1-2 (which were served better by their budgets). The balls appear markedly “more CGI” than before, when they were definitely rotoscoped in parts 1-2.  The gore overall was less satisfying than previous installments, along with most aspects of this sequel.

Of course, every movie has its trademark ball-spewing-blood scene.

Parts 1-2 worked because of the satisfyingly unusual story.  That’s gone.  The series also thrived on the relevance of the Tall Man.  That’s diminished.  It now relies on its mythology which, despite building somewhat, isn’t satisfying enough to save this movie.  It’s the first in the series I wouldn’t recommend outside of seeing the whole series in order.  Like parts 1-2, the surprise ending is pretty random and feels like Reggie, Mike and the kid are doomed.  I’m curious to see where this goes in part 4.

John’s Horror Corner: Phantasm II (1988), the return of our favorite evil mortician the Tall Man, his evil dwarves, and his deadly balls.

June 12, 2017

MY CALL:  This largely serves to continue the story and madness of Phantasm (1979).  If you enjoyed part 1, you’ll enjoy this.  If not, you won’t.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Phantasm IIThere is little out there that compares to this film, so I’ll just suggest starting with Phantasm (1979) and perhaps the subsequent sequels up to part 5.

So here we are 8 years after the events of Phantasm (1979) with writer/director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm 1-4, The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep).  A psychic girl (Paula Irvine; Phantasm III), Liz, has been keeping tabs on the Tall Man with her premonitions, Michael (James Le Gros) has just been released from a long stay in a psychiatric facility, and Reggie (Reggie Bannister; Phantasm 1-5, Wishmaster) somehow doesn’t remember that anything from part 1 even happened.  Reggie and the psychiatrists say it was all just a dream Michael manifested to cope with the loss of his brother.

After Michael has a premonition that Reggie’s second house would explode (one in 1979, one now), now with his wife and child within, as a result of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm; Phantasm 1-5, Subspecies, Wishmaster) and his army of ugly evil dwarves…well, Reggie just decides to believe Michael that evil is behind it and they set out searching the country for the Tall Man using Michael’s newfound powers of dream clairvoyance.

PSYCHIC-AMNESIAC SEQUEL SIDEBAR: Okay, this gets a bit confusing.  Completely different from Phantasm (1979), amnesia and psychic powers are prominent themes in this sequel.  There is no explanation for Reggie’s amnesia regarding the events of part 1, yet once he decides to believe Michael’s story, he behaves as if he always knew everything about the Tall Man, his evil dwarves, his extra-dimensional nature, and his vile plans for our dead.  Likewise, Michael’s powers just seem to “be there” as if they were always there.  As they are presented to us, these things are treated as if they have been constants.  Moreover, we now have psychic Liz and the Tall Man using telepathy.  Just go with it.

There are some great shots of country sides—a nice and unexpected touch in an 80s horror film.  During their trek they prepare, making a four-barrel shotgun and flamethrower, and follow the dilapidated remains of ghost towns and mass exhumed graveyards in the wake of the Tall Man’s murderous influence as he builds his army of the dead.

Their journey finds many strange things, among them a woman with an awesomely gory slimy monstrous parasite delivering the Tall Man’s messages, disappearing dead naked women in the morgue, a cute hitchhiker named Alchemy (Samantha Phillips; Dollman), a chainsaw fight with a low blow, a funny sex scene and, of course, the return of the blood-lusted spheres—i.e., the floating metal balls from part 1 which now have some mechanized upgrades. You can’t discuss these movies without mentioning the balls.  The effects were great, with the murderous chrome spheres flying through the air (excellent and seamless rotoscoping, by the way), unsheathing blades and drills and buzz saws, impaling victims, and drilling into their heads!  The gore is sufficient as blood gushes in bright red and mustard yellow.

Overall the gore is very satisfying.  One of the ball scenes is among my favorites… when the ball enters a man’s back, bores through his torso and up his throat, and out his mouth.  The finale also has a melty, gooey flair to it.

Boasting a lot more dialogue, the Tall Man is somewhat hammed up in this sequel. But this is not a bad thing at all. It’s a tad cheesy, but a lot of fun. Even more fun are the evil dwarves, which are far more numerous than part 1. We also see more about their creation and their other dimension as we pass through the gateway to another world again.  We don’t really learn anything more than we knew in part 1, though.  The Tall Man is transforming dead people into his growling hooded dwarf servants and there is a portal to another dimension, to which he apparently outsources this labor force…to do…something.  Maybe part 3 will have some answers.

Like part 1, the surprise ending is totally random, makes no sense at all, and hinders the series’ ability to continue to a part 3.  But, also like part 1, it seems more concerned with being looney than credible.  Perhaps it was all just a dream.

WHERE IS THIS ALL GOING SIDEBAR:  These somewhat sci-fi concepts from Phantasm (1979) are introducing us to a greater theme that is only partially realized in part 1, and unfortunately no more so in part 2.  As if world-building, you’d think Coscarelli is setting the stage for something of grander scale by letting us know that these things exist, without getting into the why’s.  In part 1, Michael visits a creepy fortune-teller and her telepathically linked granddaughter who subject him to a Dune-like “fear box” test.  But why?  Why are there truly supernatural diviners and why do they “prepare” young Michael for his future challenges (i.e., the Tall Man)?  Why does the Tall Man turn into a young woman, in a lavender dress in part 1 and the form of the cute hitchhiker in part 2, and why not someone else?
There’s a lot going on here.  The Tall Man is reanimating human corpses as evil compact dwarves so that their now denser bodies can handle the greater gravity of another planet, in which the dwarves serve as slaves.  We don’t know why, or to do what, or exactly where or for whom.  This is all somehow revealed to Michael (through a telepathic link perhaps) when he momentarily passes the portal and witnesses the harsh world on the other side in part 1.  Is it Hell, or another planet in a nearby solar system?  Did this permanently give him the psychic powers that we find now in part 2?  Are there other portals?  Is the Tall Man the head bad guy, or the equivalent of a Vegas pit boss or regional salesman/recruiter?  Who knows?  After watching parts 1 and 2, we sure don’t!  As far as ambitious stories go, Phantasm 1-2 are like the horror Avatar (2009) of the 1970s.  Unfortunately, after setting the stage we don’t seem to take it anywhere new in part 2.  And yet again, Coscarelli uses a rather A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) style ending that could only confuse us more.

What makes this movie work is how satisfyingly unusual the story is.  It’s weird and doesn’t make much sense.  That said, I remain quite impressed with this original product.  This film may not feel organized, but it still has a lot of good to offer the genre and its story stands out even today.

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