PHANTASM Movie review

Most of us MANIACS OF HORROR  Remember when and where we saw PHANTASM for the First time.  For me it was a good while after it came out in the mid 80’s on a VHS tape I rented from my neighborhood Video Store.  I got frightened by The Tall Man and the creepy little Dwarves scurrying around the graveyard and I have been hooked ever since.

The plot of the movie is Jody Pearson is raising his younger brother Mike, played by A. Michael Baldwin, after their parents died.  Mike is worried his older brother will leave him, so he follows him everywhere.  When Jody attends the funeral for one of his high school friends, Mike sneaks into the cemetery sees the Creepy Tall Man, who is played by Angus Scrimm, display unnatural strength by lifting the casket by himself and tossing into the hearse.  that startles Mike but then some tiny hooded dwarves pop up around the cemetery and he jumps on his dirt bike and hauls ass.

Mike tells his brother what happened, but Jody doesn’t believe him and says it’s his overactive imagination.  Mike also asks a local fortune-teller and her granddaughter what he should do, and the have him stick his hand into a black box.  The box closes on his hand and he panics causing himself great pain.  The fortune-teller tells him to stop being scared and all we be fine.  He calms down and the box removes itself from his hand.  She informs him that like the box, The Tall Man can cause him pain but it is mostly in his own mind.

Mike then travels to the Mortuary to try to find proof that he can take back to Jody.  There Mike encounters a small metal orb that flies around and has vicious blades that stick out.  The ball pursues him and kills a man by boring into his brain with a drill bit.  Mike is then chased by the Tall Man and escapes into a room slamming the Tall man’s fingers in the door severing them.  He then takes one of the Fingers back to his brother to convince him that something horrible is going on at the mausoleum.

Jody arrives at the house to find Mike asleep with the family shotgun on the stairs.  Jody takes the gun and unloads it, then asks why is he is so worried.  Mike shows him the severed finger that he keeps hidden in a small box.  Then the finger transforms into demonic Bug that attacks Mike.  Jody’s best friend Reggie shows up as they attempt to get rid of the demon bug.  They destroy it by tossing it into the garbage disposal and set back out to the mortuary to find more answers.

Back at the mausoleum the 3 enter a white room with several containers and 2 metal rods rising out of the floor.  Reggie notices they resemble tuning forks and places his hands on each rod.  they find out the rods are a gateway to a distant planet  where the hooded dwarves are used as slaves.  Mike comes to the conclusion that the dwarves are actually the dead of the cemetery transformed to adapt to the foreign planet’s intence gravity.  They then are attacked by the Tall Man who kills Reggie but Jody and Mike escape.  Jody ends up shooting the Flying metal orb and lure the Tall man to an abandoned mine where they trap him.

Mike then wakes up from a dream and finds that Jody has been dead from a car crash for some time now.He has been living with Jody’s best friend Reggie since his death, who says they need to get away from there and get their minds off everything that has happened.  He tells Mike that it was all a bad dream, and he should go upstairs and get ready to leave.  Mike goes upstairs to his room, and in the mirror waits the Tall Man.  He reaches out and pulls Mike into the mirror.

Like Many of the 70’s Horror Movies PHANTASM was originally given an X rating when it was released due to its graphic violence.  It was later changed to an R rating by Film Critic Charles Chaplin who made a phone call to the board to get the rating changed.  Now most of you MANIACS OF HORROR know that I Love 70’s Horror Movies, but I insist that this is one of the greatest from that decade.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it, and If you have watch it again for Fun.

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2 Responses to “PHANTASM Movie review”

  1. Spinderella Says:

    It scared me as a kid but when I watched it again….nothing. Maybe we’re all jaded now?

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