Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Movie Review #21: "Phantasm" (1979)

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Movie"Phantasm"
Director: Don Coscarelli
Year: 1979
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

After the death of his parents and a family friend, a young boy begins to be haunted by a strange tall man and his small hooded minions.

"Phantasm" is written, directed and produced by Don Coscarelli. This film revolves around a young boy named Mike, played by A. Michael Baldwin, who has dealt with a lot of loss in his young life. Both of his parents have passed away. Now, he lives with his older brother Jody, played by Bill Thornbury, who just lost a close friend and is thinking of leaving Mike with some relatives and heading out on his own. Mike then becomes haunted by the mysterious Tall Man, played by Angus Scrimm, who has a brood of hooded little monsters and floating silver balls that can bore deep holes in their victims' heads. Scrimm has a great presence as The Tall Man and is very unsettling and creepy to see on screen, even though he is just an older guy in a suit. Plus, the funeral home setting helps add to the scare factor.

In some ways, this seems like a simple horror mystery with a couple of sci-fi elements thrown in to add some zest. In other ways, it feels like a surreal and extreme allegory for loss and abandonment. Either way, "Phantasm" does not have a straight-forward narrative and the plot doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, for some reason, that doesn't stop this film from being wholly enjoyable and even pretty scary at times. We get drawn in by the spectacle of it, as well as its intriguing visual style. Oh, and did we mention the silver balls that drill holes into the heads of their victims!? Yeah, those are so freaking awesome. We are never quite sure if what we are seeing is a dream or reality, but it sure is fun to watch. The performances aren't exceptional, but we don't really watch horror movies for Oscar winning performances. Check this one out if you haven't already seen it, it has just been remastered by none other than J.J. Abrams.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
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One year ago, we were being scared by"The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Demons"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "A Bay of Blood"

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