First off, even if you’re not a great fan of this classic horror saga, the brilliant packaging is irresistible. The four chapters in the series (and a bonus disc of extras) are housed in a replica of the lethal levitating spheres from the films (which chases you down, pokes into your skull, and drills a hole, sucking out your skull and squirting the liquid brains out the back of it!).
Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead brings back Baldwin as Mike, and all the better for it. Another six years have passed since the 2nd chapter (of 1988), bringing the Phantasm series into the mid-‘90s. And with time comes improved special effects. Bill Thornbury (who played Mike’s older brother) died in the first film. He returns for the rest of the installments, but the Tall Man is becoming more devious. Here a kid gets thrown in for dynamics, but again, not very convincingly. Still, as long as you have Reggie, the V8 GTO, and the Tall Man, you can’t miss.
Phantasm IV: Oblivion seems to put the lid on the Tall Man and his deadly endeavours as we’re taken back in time to witness this classic horror character’s origin. Made for just over half a million dollars, Coscarelli proves that great ideas and good visuals are more important than flooding a project with money and hoping something pops out.
What makes this even more of a phenomenon is the fact that director Coscarelli didn’t let his creation slip through his fingers and into the homogenized boardrooms of a clueless studio. His hands-on involvement throughout makes it that much more credible as no-one knows these characters better than him.
The extra disc Where The Dead Are No Longer That Way includes an array of documentaries, interviews and behind the scenes looks to get your fill.
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished