Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Phantasm (1979)

Weird things are going on at the neighborhood cemetery.  After the funeral of a friend, Mike sees the Tall Man carry the 500 pound casket himself into his hearse.  He finds this to be strange and he follows the Tall Man.  He is then attacked by not only the Tall Man, but small creatures in hooded robes.  

Mike goes to get help from his brother and they do what they can to defeat the Tall Man and his minions.  After finding a portal to another dimension, it is realized that the Tall Man is from another planet.  These creatures in hoods are actually corpses shrunk down in size and used as slaves for the Tall Man's planet.  It is up to Mike and his brother Jody to defeat the Tall Man and save the world from this alien being.

From the very beginning, "Phantasm" is a thrill ride.  The first scene takes place in a cemetery and it is all out eerie.  The film never seems to take a break.  It is suspenseful and scary.

Angus Scrimm is very good as the Tall Man.  He is a strange character that the viewer does not know much about.  He is a scary looking fellow, but a good sort of zombie makeup could have made him even scarier.  In the later scenes, the way he is lit makes him very frightening.  I would never want to come face to face with him!

One of the most memorable scenes involves a flying orb that is out to kill Mike.  The caretaker of the graveyard captures Mike and the orb is coming after him.  Mike bites the caretaker's arm to get free.  The orb then slams into the head of the caretaker, instead of Mike, killing him.  Knives pop out of the orb and it wedges itself into his head.  Then a sort of drill pops out and drills into his brain.  Then a stream of blood comes shooting out the other side of the orb.  I didn't really get what the orb really was, but it was strange to see.  It was a very graphic and violent scene.

Another good scene is when Mike chops the fingers off of the Tall Man.  His fingers are still moving after the fact and his blood is a strange yellow color.  Very scary.

The music is actually pretty good in the movie too.  It kept the pace of the movie up nicely.

The only thing that is disappointing about the movie is that at the end you find out it is all a dream.  It is annoying to know it was all a dream, but it does have a nice twist at the end.

"Phantasm" is a great horror picture.  It does a good job to scare the audience and it still holds up today.

B+  I recommend it.

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