Fans of cult horror can finally rejoice after a 16 year long absence:
The Tall Man is back!
For those unaware, the “Phantasm” film series is an underrated but much beloved collection of movies from director and creator Don Coscarelli that has inspired and influenced many other horror films since the debut of the original in 1979. Each film is a surreal, strange, and downright weird chapter in an odyssey following Mike Pearson, his brother, Jody, and their former ice cream vendor friend Reggie as the pursue a nefarious inter-dimensional being in the guise of a devilish mortician known only as “The Tall Man” as they try to stop him and his growing army of the undead...and flying silver spheres.
Of course, to casual horror fans, this sounds ludicrous or gloriously odd, and it is, but that's what makes it all so endearing. The characters are memorable, the villain is one of the greatest and most recognizable in horror cinema, the music is creepy, and the effects are quite well done for lower budgets (aside from the second film, which had the highest budget of them all). But the question among those who love the franchise was whether or not there would be a new film.
The last film, “Phantasm IV: Oblivion,” was released in 1998, and it was believed to be the final film, though there were always rumors of a gestating fifth, but none of it had any truth.
Until now. This week, a poster was released- on it was a slender figure in a black and white suit standing above a large “V,” and above it were a series of silver balls with hooks sticking out from them. At the bottom, it said, “PHANTASM V: RAVAGER.” And across the U.S., cult fans shrieked, me included, but I still figured that perhaps it wasn't real. Then a teaser trailer was released the next day, featuring Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, and most spectacularly, 87 year old Angus Scrimm in his trademark black suit and tie with his eyebrow cocked. The only thing missing was his legendary guttural growl of “BOOOYYYYYYYY!”
So it's real. The film is mostly completed, having been filmed secretly over the last two years in California, and though this is the first film not directed by creator Coscarelli (instead by David Hartman), it still looks to be another intriguing entry in the franchise. The actors are back, the horror is back, and the balls are back.
Expect a review once the film is finally released, but even if it may not be an incredible film, it doesn't matter because it's just refreshing to see a return to one of my absolute favorite horror series. And if you're not acquainted with the world of The Tall Man, then check it out if you love scary movies with a touch of science-fiction.
Welcome back, Phantasm.