Phantasm director Don Coscarelli spills his guts in memoir True Indie

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Phantasm Reggie Bannister Don Coscarelli

I'm always fascinated to hear behind-the-scenes stories about the making of some of the horror genre's low budget indie classics – one of those being the 1979 film PHANTASM, which was made on a budget of around $300,000 by writer/director Don Coscarelli when he was in his early twenties. Shot on weekends with rented equipment, PHANTASM took almost two years to complete… and the result is now widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made.

The chance to read about the experience of making just that one movie would be enough to make Coscarelli's upcoming memoir True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking a must-buy (and you can buy a copy HERE), but then Coscarelli went on to bring the world an entire PHANTASM franchise as well as films like THE BEASTMASTER, BUBBA HO-TEP, and JOHN DIES AT THE END. I'm sure True Indie is packed with mind-blowing stories.

In the book, Coscarelli

details the many highs and lows of his career, offering a masterclass to those hoping to pursue their own Hollywood dreams via his successes and failures. As PHANTASM fan J.J. Abrams notes in his recommendation, “True Indie is a charming, entertaining and insightful look at the life and work of a bold and brazen filmmaker. It hits the mark like a speeding, double-spiked chrome ball.”

October 2nd is the release date for True Indie, and to promote the book Coscarelli has embarked on a cross-country tour that kicked off with a take at the Los Angeles branch of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies last night. His future appearances include: 

9/30: Los Angeles, CA, TBD

10/3: Austin, TX, at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz

10/4: Washington, DC, at AFI Silver

10/5: New York Comic Con and Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn

10/6: Yonkers, NY, at Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers

10/7: Syracuse, NY, at Bristol Omnitheater (Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology)

10/8: Chicago at Music Box Theatre

10/9: Tulsa, OK, at Circle Cinema

10/10: Denver, CO, at Alamo Drafthouse Sloans Lake

10/11: Salt Lake City, UT, at Tower Theatre

10/19: Portland, OR, at Hollywood Theatre

10/21: Burbank, CA, at Dark Delicacies

10/22: San Francisco, CA, at Alamo Drafthouse New Mission

10/23: Omaha, NE, at Alamo Drafthouse La Vista


About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.