I first heard of Phantasm when its sequel came out. Barry Norman reviewed it and admitted that he hadn’t even heard of the first film. Neither had I.
Fortunately, my sister in law had a friend who had closed down their video business and so gave her a lot of the videos he used to rent out. She lent me two films that could be classed as life-changing. One was The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The other was Phantasm.
The film starts off like standard horror fare- sinister goings-on at a small-town American mortuary. But then the film starts to get more and more surreal. It’s like a lot of the film inhabits a dark dream-like world.
Check out the scene where the lead character goes to see a local seer. Add to that the chase scene in which Michael chops off The Tall Man’s fingers and takes one home. This film is most famous for the flying silver spheres within the funeral home. These spheres certainly don’t disappoint.
And then there’s the soundtrack which fluctuates between gritty analogue synths of doom and funereal organs. I found the soundtrack on CD and within the sale section of a local and long gone record store.
One of the best purchases I’ve ever parted money for.
Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man deserves recognition as one of the scariest and most sinister baddies of all time. He’s unrelenting, otherworldly and the inhabitant of many viewers’ nightmares.
Back in the day, this film was shown not just individually but also as a double bill with John Carpenter’s The Fog. Two amazing kick-ass horror films right there.
This film was remastered and released at cinemas across America last year. And it deserved the 4K treatment.
File this film under ‘underrated’. Also, file it under ‘masterpiece’.
5 out of 5.