Phantasm Reviews

Page 1 of 62
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2014
Don Coscarelli's cult classic is admittedly disjointed. It's not quite the sum of its parts, but there are many individual scenes that are wonderfully conceived and executed, some even with unexpected humour. The amateurish acting, odd transitions, and plot holes keep Phantasm from being great in my eyes, but the film is an exercise in creativity and ingenuity, not to mention in showcasing the coolest flying killing device in recent memory.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ February 15, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2007
There are so many ways of appreciating film. Initially, everything I saw was given a very typical "does it have a good plot/strong characters?" critical once-over, and if it didn't, then the movie sucked. End of story. Then I moved on to "is it well-made? Does it accomplish what it needs to?" which is a good stopping point for any discerning film viewer. But then...there's stuff like Phantasm, which I thoroughly enjoyed. No, it does not have a good plot or strong characters, and the last thing I'd call it is well-made. Watching it made me realize that I just don't really give a fuck anymore - what I like is what I like, and there's never going to be a static standard applied to that. So thank you, Phantasm, for being deliriously crappy and yet so wonderful at the same time.

To list Phantasm's flaws would be damning. The movie has a terrible sense of flow, with nearly every transition from scene to scene coming across as jarring or incomprehensible. The ensuing feeling of "what the fuck is going on?" is difficult to get around, but oddly exhilarating; there's a definite strength in Phantasm's willingness to thrust you into a bizarre situation and not really explain what's happening. The movie's pervasive use of the unknown, both on its characters and on the audience, allows us to really use our imaginations. The floating silver spheres? The tall man? The dwarf world? Who the fuck knows, but it's fun to think about! Phantasm may come across as a jumble of "scary" ideas, but the chaos of the experience is actually very appropriate, not to mention thematically relevant. On that note, the ending is a pleasant surprise, working well to shade the movie in a completely different light and give the preceding events a new depth.

If evaluated on the craftsmanship alone, Phantasm is more or less a failure. The movie mostly looks muddy and dull (with a few really inspired shots), and some of the special effects are laughable. It should also be remembered that this is very low-budget horror, and though its achievements within the scope of its limitations aren't always impressive, the force of its ideas is what really shines here. If you can bring yourself to look past the dated filming, iffy acting and occasional sheer ridiculousness of the movie, it's actually a really original experience. Recommended to the offbeat horror fan.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2009
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!?
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2007
Two brothers investigate seriously strange happenings at a nearby funeral home run by the mysterious Tall Man, who also appears in the younger brother's nightmares. Highly atmospheric, with ahead of its time effects and terrific atmosphere; unfortunately, poor characterization and amateur acting hold it back from being the classic it could have been.
Super Reviewer
½ February 27, 2009
A dated horror movie that I really didn't understand the first time I watched it. You have to give a watch if you are into horror though as it is one of the staples of the genre.
FilmFanatik
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2007
Still as terrifying and unnerving as it was when I was kid when I first saw it. Gave me nightmares!
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2007
Outstanding horror film with a splash of sci-fi in it. Creepy and funny at the same time with a perfect cast and eerie premise.
The silver "sentinel" spheres a.k.a. "computerized vampires" are a brilliant, memorable touch to this 1979 horror classic.
Super Reviewer
August 29, 2007
Two orphaned boys, Mike (Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury) notice some strange things happening at Morningside Mortuary. Bodies are disappearing from coffins; a lady in lavender has sex with men in the graveyard and then stabs them to death; little midgets in brown cloaks (making sounds like lions) are roaming about and there's a flying silver orb with spikes that embeds itself in people's heads! And then there's the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) overseeing it all...Soon Mike, Jody and their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are fighting for their lives...

The story is pretty thin (and REALLY out of whack at the end), the acting dismal, there's no characterizations or depth and some of the special effects are horrible but...this is STILL a classic horror film. It takes a while to get going (nothing much happens in the first half hour), but when it does there's scarcely a letup. Action leaps into high gear, there's some fairly graphic gore (including the now infamous flying sphere killing), there are plenty of scenes guaranteed to make you jump and the music score is very spooky...right up there with "Halloween". Also some of the special effects are impressive (considering there was no budget). Also Michael Baldwin was a VERY attractive man and there's gratuitous male and female nudity. What's even more surprising is Don Coscarelli wrote, produced, directed AND edited this at the age of 24! He's never matched it since and all the sequels really suck...but this stands alone as a classic. A must-see for all horror fans. Also Scrimm is EXCELLENT (and damn scary) as the Tall Man.

Trivia: This was awarded an X rating FOUR TIMES because of the sphere killing...Coscarelli went all the way to the head of the ratings board who overturned it and gave it an R--a rare occurrence that the ratings board kept in a gore scene!
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2007
The tall man is a really unnerving creation but he's far less scary than the flying spiked ball.
Super Reviewer
½ June 7, 2007
A classic horror film, which mixes in elements of science fiction perfectly to tell the tale of a teenaged boy investigating the strange body harvesting going on at his small town funeral home. There's a great villain in the form of the Tall Man and his army of carnivourous dwarves and killer chrome spheres. The design alone of the chrome sphere with blades flying through the marble hallways of a funeral home is an awesome image and lives up to the "Phantasm" name. The 70's clothing and furnishings stand out today, but that adds to the film's charm.
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2007
Heard this was scary. Wasn't. Really isn't when you find out what the big secret is.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2012
boring
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2007
Written, directed, produced, photographed and edited by Don Coscarelli on a pretty meagre budget, this is a rather fantastic flick from 1979, combining elements of horror, thriller, comedy and sci-fi. Mike, spying through binoculars at the local cemetery, witnesses a mysterious 'Tall Man' lift a coffin from the ground single-handedly and load it into a hearse. Mike (whose parents are dead and is plagued by fears of losing his older brother, Jody) does some investigating, heading to the mortuary, which has an ingenious security system that almost kills him. Initially sceptical, Jody is eventually convinced by Mike that something strange is happening in their home town, and together they attempt to understand what the hell is going on. Killer dwarves, flying spheres, ice-cream trucks and a bizarre door to another world are all thrown into the mix. The film is perhaps a bit too haphazard and 'out there' to be entirely successful, but it has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere to it and a few nice shocks. It's rather too dated to still be scary exactly (though it terrified me as a kid), but it's definitely worth a watch for fans of horror (think Evil Dead crossed with Halloween).
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2007
Cult-ish old school horror about a young boy(who confusingly looks like, and acts a bit like, a young girl) who makes a sinister discovery at a nearby funeral home. Its seems the funeral director isn't all he seems and is actually some sort of human/demon/alien/woman(?!) hybrid. Maybe in 1979 this might've been cool but a few scares aside, Phantasm feels really dated and a bit strange. And not in a good way. You don't even see much of the mysterious floating silver killer sphere thing which is meant to be a big selling point along with The Tall Man. Ok-ish, but by no means great.
Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2012
"Phantasm" is hailed as one of horror's best, but I just don't see it. It has aged awkwardly and feels confused and strange, and it doesn't even seem like there was an attempt made by its creators to make it scary. Even the infamous "silver sphere" scene contains very little gore. On top of this, the main villain has less than five minutes of actual screen time, the acting is questionable and there are too many elements left unexplained. This is sad news because "Phantasm" has an awesome premise and Don Coscarelli has a great, macabre sense of humor, but it just ends up being pretty average.
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2012
Incredibly eerie and bizarre, one of the best low budget films!!! Acting was OK, Mike was memorable so did Reggie. The camera angles were superb, Don Coscarelli did a great job directing. I love how he used the unseen to scare the audience. Some scenes are unnecessary however, and the ending was crap. But overall good!!!
neffielee
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2010
I remember watching this as a little girl and being somewhat scared. Now older, I had a really difficult time getting through this movie. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who have to finish a movie once I start it; so I muddled through the whole thing. Everything about this film, from the acting to the storytelling, just fell flat.
Page 1 of 62