24 November 2014

Phantasm (1979)
88 min.
Directed by Don Coscarelli.
With Angus Scrimm, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Lynn Eastman, Susan Harper, Terrie Kalbus.
This low budget gem is one of those oddities you don't come across every day: it's unique, surreal and frightening.

Indeed, Phantasm is one cool funeral-parlor horror full of wonderful highlights.

Thirteen year old Mike (Baldwin) witnesses some strange phenomena at the local Morningside Cemetery.

First, a friend of the family just died under mysterious circumstances on the grounds. Then there's some strange dwarf figures scurrying about the place. And a menacing, superstrong caretaker overseeing the whole joint.

Could it all be in the boy's mind? Or are there really dark forces at work on some sinister purpose?

Mike joins forces with his brother Jody (Thornbury) and their friend Reggie (Bannister). But the trio uncovers a litany of horrors that are truly out of this world...

The extra-bizarre premise of Phantasm is given loving life by director Don Coscarelli, thanks to the game performances of its cast (Bannister and Baldwin in particular).

Scrimm is memorable as the Tall Man, and accomplishes one of those rarest of things: he creates a genre character of iconic proportions in one fell swoop.

Indeed, the cult strengths of Phantasm are its brave talent at creating 'firsts': Morningside's silver sphere of death, the Tall Man, the kooky other dimension.

Unlike other overreaching horrors of this kind, here the quirky science fiction subplot of Phantasm actually complements the weird action nicely.

Boasts a top notch score by Myrow and Seagrave.

Also known as Never Dead.

Followed by three sequels, the first Phantasm II in 1988.

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