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Phantasm (1979)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 22,572

My Rating

Movie Info

Phantasm is a surprisingly artful and imaginative horror film, an impressive film for 23-year-old director Don Coscarelli who worked with a miniscule budget to create a small masterpiece. When Mike (Michael Baldwin) spies some sinister Jawa-like creatures stealing corpses from the local cemetery, he and his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) explore the mausoleum, where they find that the mortician (Angus Scrimm), a towering, emaciated figure with superhuman strength, has somehow bridged the


Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror

Aug 14, 2001

AVCO Embassy Pictures

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (13) | DVD (23)

Strong point of the feature is that it's played for both horror and laughs.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A spotty little horror movie, effective here and there through some appealing eccentricities.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although enough of a cult favourite to spawn a trio of undistinguished sequels, this low budget independent horror movie is a surprisingly shambolic affair whose moments of genuine invention stand out amid the prevailing incompetence.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's thoroughly silly and endearing.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the definitive '70s horror pictures, in the last few months before '70s horror got steamrolled into oblivion... a raw blast of sensory information.

May 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Passable in spots, it offers dumb fun and turns out to be one of the best films that Coscarelli ever made

October 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comment (1)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Extremely gory. Horror fans should delight.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

With its blend of horror and sci-fi and crap and cool, and its deceitful story-line, Phantasm's certainly unlike other American films of the period.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

A film filled with unique, personal, witty, and, at the same time, terrifying imagery rarely seen in low-budget horror films.

May 6, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Coscarelli made this with very little money but with plenty of imagination.

May 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Phantasm isn't necessarily one of those films you see for the brilliant writing.... but all of this is forgivable for the groundbreaking vision of the film.

May 10, 2007 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Phantasm can be viewed as a haunting fable of an adolescent grappling with his fear of death.

April 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Doesn't fall into any of the easily-classifiable genres, and I suppose that's one of the reasons it's so well-remembered all these years later.

April 12, 2007 Full Review Source: FEARnet

Cult horror outing this is SCARY!!

August 17, 2006
Atlantic City Weekly

oh so boring

April 3, 2006 Full Review Source: | Comments (5)

Benefits from repeated viewings

October 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

A classic horror spooker.

October 8, 2005

Ugh. This is a classic of the genre? Are you sure we watched the same movie?

February 22, 2005 | Comment (1)

both inventive and completely nuts

September 19, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Not for inpatient

April 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Slasherpool

Audience Reviews for Phantasm

This 1979 Cult classic is a very interesting Horror film with many creative ideas on-screen; Phantasm is a brilliantly constructed piece of work that is sure to please the true horror fan. What makes this a wonderful, terrifying and memorable experience is that it introduces a unique horror villain, a Mortician with strange powers by the name of The Tall Man. This sinister being collects bodies and shrinks them down to dwarves and makes them his slave in another dimension. This is a work of Sci Fi and supernatural horror. While watching this movie, you realize all the elements that director Don Coscarelli uses to enrich his film's plot, therefore Phantasm branches in a few horror genres, most notably the ones that I've just mentioned. This is an effective chiller that does generate plenty of eerie moments due to the films atmosphere and memorable theme by composers Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave. The performances are great and every actor brings something wonderful to the film. I view this film as one of the defining movies that helped reshape the face of terror. This is a classic, and rewatching it years later, you can see why genre fans call it a favorite. Don Coscarelli adds enough supernatural overtones to keep viewers wide eyed from start to finish. This is one feature that no one should pass up. Angus Scrimm delivers as The Tall Man and introduced us to a memorable horror quote: "BOOOYYYYY!!" This is from a horror enthusiast's perspective, a terrific and creepy line. There's enough gore, spooks and other surprises that are very well constructed by director Don Coscarelli to make this one stand out among other horror yarns that have come before and after. A lack of logic is permitted throughout the film because it's such a unique film that you simply don't care. The sequels add to The Tall Man's story, but never do anything new. However, they're just like this one, very entertaining and worth seeing.
November 30, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

One of my favourite horror movies of the 70s, it's a surreal supernatural film with a surprising twist at the end. I loved it.
January 7, 2011

Super Reviewer

Not quite sci/fi & not quite horror. It?s an odd film that makes very little sense, has very bad acting and isn?t scary! Not sure why it?s a classic really!?
September 29, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Tall Man: You play a good game, boy, but the game is finished. Now, you die.
    – Submitted by Danny M (2 years ago)
    1. Tall Man: Boy!
    – Submitted by James G (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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March 14, 2005:
New Line to Mount an All-New "Phantasm" Remake
Fresh out of my inbox comes a press release from New Line Cinema, and this is the news: "New...

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