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Phantasm (1979)
 Directed by: Don Coscarelli
 Starring: A. Michael Baldwin/ Mike
Bill Thornbury/Jody
Reggie Bannister/Reggie
Angus Scrimm/Tall Man


Weird stuff is happening at "Morning Side" funeral home. A creepy undertaker (The Tall Man) is up to no good helped by crazy midgets (look like rabid Jawas) and flying, murdering balls. Precocious brat, Mike (Baldwin) pokes his nose where it doesn’t belong and before you can say "f--ked up stuff", he has the Tall Man after him. Run Forrest run!



Creepy exercise in originality that grabbed me hard but lessened its grip in the last 20 minutes. It’s refreshing to see a horror film that’s not a rehash of another one. Phantasm feels fresh and you never know where it’s coming from. The film is filled with chilling images (specially those involving the Tall Man), beautiful, morbid locations (loved the morgue scenes), lethal flying balls, has an enigmatic, frightening villain and moments of true suspense. The film feels like death, it feels good…

The movie does become a tad sour in the last 20 minutes. The idea they come up with to defeat the Tall Man is very far fetched and I didn’t buy it. And I didn’t care too much for the typical twist ending. I guess in 1979 it was still novel.

The heroic characters are sympathetic but for some reason I didn’t warm up to them as much as I should have. I did love Jody’s jacket though.

On a whole there’s no denying this film’s ability to paint many morbid tableaux, to creep you out and to offer us a wonderful horror villain. Wait till you find out where the midgets come from or the Tall Man’s M.O…creepy. Can you really go wrong with a tall undertaker that steals corpses and never seems to die? Didn’t think so.


A. Michael Baldwin (Mike) does great as the balls on kid, very credible performance. Bill Thornbury (Jody) has his moments of bad acting but manages to make the audience like him anyways. Reggie Bannister (Reggie) manages to do the impossible: make a very bald dude, wearing a ponytail kool. Reggie is kooler than his ice cream truck. Angus Scrimm (Tall Man) is just plain scary, the scenes where he runs after Mike gave me the willies. Nice job.


Some stabbings, cut off fingers, ugly midgets but the highlight is without a doubt the damage a flying ball does when it buries itself into your skull and spits out your blood. Fun. The effects are all good except for that rubber looking fly.

T & A:

Some hot blonde shows us her tits and the ladies get a lot of flying balls.


The film has a very grim look, nice shots, groovy ball POV’s, smoke machines up the wazoo, slow motion and amazing lighting.


Chilling score that elevates the flick to a higher level.


Phantasm is a must see for any serious genre fan. No it’s not a perfect flick but you have to admire its creativity, originality and…well…its balls. It looks slick, moves fast and kind of has the same feel as the first "Nightmare On Elm Street", dark and mean. Even in death you’re not safe when the Tall Man’s around….


Several references to Frank Herbert's Dune, including a bar named "Dune" and a scene where Mike is forced to insert his hand into a black box that inflicts pain as part of a test.

The Arrow interviews Reggie Bannister here

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The Way The Arrow Points...

 I’d BUTCHER my family to see this again
 HANG me but I dug it a lot
 An ok way to KILL two hours
 Just sling an ARROW in my head and let me die in peace

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