Phantasm: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: John Stanley

Plot: What’s it about?

Well, I have wanted to review this disc for along time now and finally, “lets get ready to rumble!!!” Phantasm,you all know the movie…yes you do, you know the “really tall old man” and the “silver ball”.In 1979 writer/director Don Coscarelli brought us a thriller that broke the threshold of modern horror flicks. The story of 13 year old Mike Pearson (Michael Baldwin) and his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury). Jody has just attended the funeral of his older brother and young Mike was left home to avoid any emotional distress. But being the inquisitive young man that he is, he decides to go to the burial site for some snooping. What he finds is creepy, some kind of little creatures running around, a 6’6″ grave keeper (aka “the tall man”)(Angus Scrimm) with the strength of 10 men, and as if that’s not enough, he sees this tall guy pick up the casket of his late brother and lob it into a hearse with one arm!! Mike and Jody’s parents bolth died one year ago, and Mike is always worried that Jody will skip town and leave him behind, so he follows him around constantly. Well, the two brothers along with their friend Reggie the neighborhood ice cream man (Reggie Bannister) stumble upon some pretty weird goings on. So starts our movie, and all the blood (which at times looks like HI-C ecto-cooler) guts,screams,scares and stabbings that make a great horror film. And this one is great! Originality, cool (but cheap) special effects, and even a hint of decent acting, wow in a horror film can you believe it?

Don Coscarelli who has also directed the Beastmaster another cult favorite, does a spectacular directing job especially considering his ultra low budget, lack of staff and crew, very crude special effects and pressure from his dad who financed the film! The story (written by Coscarelli) is very sharp, original and kinda trippy to be honest. A phantasm as defined by Websters, is an illusion or a warped illusion of reality, and that’s exactly what this movie is.

This definitely is a must see for all horror movie fans. The film which spawned 3 sequels, almost quadrupled what it cost Coscarelli to make. The cast is good, not amazing, and even by today’s standards this is a pretty creepy, scary flick. As far as DVD what better a way to view or own this horror classic. In closing ill just say this is a great classic horror film and if you have not seen any of the Phantasm movies, check this one out first…if you dare…OK, sorry.

Video: How does it look?

Amazing, even considering this was a direct transfer from its laser disc counterpart, the film quality is amazing. You would never be able to tell from the picture quality alone this film was made in 1979. Bright brights, clear vivid dark scenes, and just crisp all around. It looks like somebody took the original film, washed it with soap and water, painted it with new bright colors and plastic coated it. Phantasm is presented in its original widescreen format.

Audio: How does it sound?

Also very good, Dolby digital 5.1 is quite nice in this film. High pitch screams, breaking glass, and even a car explosion sound great. Check out the chapter 27 and put your face in front of your sub-woofer, look out now!! Also a great chance to check out the surround sound is the “silver ball” that zip’s up and down hallways, around corners and even drills into some guys skull…ouch!

Supplements: What are the extras?

Well I was trying to save room for this category so hold on tight, here we go!! Audio commentary by Don Coscarelli, Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury and Angus Scrimm is very good and pretty damn funny too. 10 min. of deleted scenes, a 2-part TV interview with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm, the original 1979 movie trailer and 3 T.V commercial advertisements. whew!! OK there’s more, a behind the scenes featurette, a still gallery of posters, lobby cards and worldwide advertisements, an Australian TV promo, a Fangoria TV commercial featuring Angus Scrimm, original Fangoria horror movie convention footage where Angus Scrimm gives a long speech. 3 radio spots,and…..ready for this?? The Pantasm techno remix dance song, now how can you beat that!?!?!

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