8 May 2017

ARROW VIDEO PRESENTS: PHANTASM 1-5 LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




PHANTASM 1-5: THE LIMITED EDITION COLLECTION FROM ARROW VIDEO.
PHANTASM- THE ORIGINAL MOVIE. (1979) WRITTEN, DIRECTED, PHOTOGRAPHED, CO-PRODUCED AND EDITED BY DON COSCARELLI. HE PRETTY MUCH DID IT ALL!
STARRING MICHAEL BALDWIN, BILL THORNBURY, REGGIE BANNISTER, KATHY LESTER AND ANGUS SCRIMM AS 'THE TALL MAN.'
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This series of cult horror and sci-fi films is so iconic and famous that I'm nearly embarrassed to be finally adding my two penn'orth to the mountains of writing that already exist about it, but you know me. I'm pretty much shameless, haha. I'm happy to write about anything and I never care if I'm late to the party. Of course, that could be because- cue music- the party don't start till I walk in...!

This whole PHANTASM idea was the brainchild of Don Coscarelli and plenty of critics have already remarked on how that first film, which we're looking at today, was a complete and utter labour of love on his part. Others have remarked that the plot is a wee bit incoherent at times.

I totally agree with both statements. The director clearly adored what he was doing. Also, the plot is ever so slightly incomprehensible at times and hard to follow, but it all comes together perfectly in the end so it's all good. Plus the film introduced Angus Scrimm, who passed away in 2016 aged eighty-nine, as the horror icon 'The Tall Man' to the world of horror cinema.

Angus Scrimm was already six foot four feet in height in real life to begin with, but he wore platform shoes and suits that were several sizes too small for him to accentuate his lankiness when he was playing The Tall Man. Can you imagine how much in demand he must have been at horror movie conventions and conferences in his lifetime?

Anyway, the original PHANTASM movie from 1979 sees The Tall Man terrorising a really, really really small town in Oregon (it's actually tiny, just has a pub and a cemetery, although when you think about it, isn't that all you need...?) with his murderous antics. He's a lugubrious-looking mortician or undertaker who takes on the form of a beautiful woman dressed in lavender to lure the men of the town to their deaths.

Well, we know that he's lured at least one man to his death, haha, the heavily-moustachioed Tommy who thinks he's getting some serious loving when he's actually just a pawn of The Tall Man's. Imagine thinking that you were getting it on with the hot blonde girl from ABBA only to have her turn into Lurch from THE ADDAMS FAMILY times two...

That's deeply, deeply disturbing but you know guys. They'll get up on the crack of dawn if they think they're gonna get some. Yes, that's an old Irish saying that implies sex mania, snigger. The Lady in Lavender is a real stunner, though, and she shows her tits too which are lovely. Well, they could be a body double's tits but either way, there are tits in the film so don't miss 'em...!

Anyway, The Tall Man's purpose for luring these hapless blokes to their gruesome deaths is as sinister as you might expect. He turns them into zombie dwarves (it's okay for me to say 'dwarves' because it's used, like, a million times in the film! Political correctness hadn't been invented yet, see? It was still only the 'Seventies...!) and uses them as slaves on his home planet. This is accessible through a wall in the creepy old local mortuary. I see...

The local cemetery is where everyone in the town congregates to have sex, by the way. Well, there are at least two guys from the town who have sex there, the aforementioned Tommy and Jody. Jody is the older brother of Mike, the film's thirteen-year-old hero and the only person who can stop The Tall Man's fiendish scheme in its tracks.

Well, he can try, anyway, but he'll have to grapple with the hooded dwarf minions, a selection of deadly flying silver spheres that can take your eye out and, of course, The Tall Man himself before he's home and dry.

Mike has his brother (and guardian, because they're orphans) Jody and a good-humoured ice-cream man called Reggie for back-up, plus the usual tenacity and stubborness of your average
teenage boy. 

The kid should be in school learning something useful like trigonometry or how to conjugate ancient Latin verbs but no, he's whizzing around the countryside driving cars he's absolutely not old enough to drive and dodging flying spheres in a mortuary which he's broken into and entered numerous times illegally.

He also spends a lot of time in the cemetery, watching his brother Jody attempting sexual intercourse with The Tall Man in the guise of Agnetha from ABBA, haha. Funny how the blonde one was always the sex symbol just because she was the blonde one.

I always thought the other one, the brunette one, had a lovely sweet face. She probably heard that a lot. I wonder if it compensated for constantly being overlooked in favour of 'the blonde one?' Show-business can be such a cruel bitch-goddess, in the words of Bart Simpson.

Anyway, isn't it a bit creepy to be spying on your older brother when he's trying to have sex in a graveyard with a shapeshifting arch-villain? Let's just say that Jody's a pretty lousy guardian...! The kid could be up to pretty much anything and cute but gormless Jody would be oblivious.

Jody's mind (if there even IS anything going on underneath his blankly vapid pretty-boy looks and expertly-flicked 'Seventies hair) is filled with sex and hot chicks and the guitar with which he's no doubt hoping to achieve musical world domination. Yeah, him and Reggie the ice-cream man. Dream on, losers. Man, what a couple of losers. Dream on...!

The fantastic news for fans of this terrific old cult horror series of films is as follows. Wait for it. Cue drum roll aaaand now...! The good people at ARROW VIDEO, in their infinite wisdom, have released all five of the films in the PHANTASM series in a magnificent Limited Edition box-set. This is in conjunction with the equally nice folks at FETCH PUBLICITY, I hasten to add. Lest they put out a contract on me, heh-heh-heh.

Each film comes complete with a ton of nifty special 'pheatures' (see what I did there?) that will be worth their weight in gold to fans of the series. You'll have trailers, deleted scenes, promos, stills, interviews and audio commentaries coming out your ears, I can assure you. Here are the films:

PHANTASM- 1979.
PHANTASM 2- 1988.
PHANTASM 3- LORD OF THE DEAD- 1994.
PHANTASM 4- OBLIVION- 1998.
PHANTASM- RAVAGER- 2016.

There's no need for me or anyone else to tell the 'phans' of the series what a 'phantastic' package they'll be getting when they buy or order PHANTASM. The 'phans' already very much know how 'phantastic' these cult horror films are and have always been.

In fact, it's a 'phascinating' and 'phabulous' time to be alive if you're a 'phan' of 'PHANTASM.' The enduring nature of PHANTASM 'phandom' is what's kept the films alive over the years, as vibrant and exciting as the years they were first released. Get the picture? 'Phantastic...!'


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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