Phantasm (1978) – By Brian Morton

 It’s a rare thing for a low budget movie to reach legendary status, in fact, I can only think of a handful, Texas Chainsaw, Evil Dead and, of course, Phantasm. And the thing that all those movies have in common is heart, the love and passion of the filmmakers for the project that they’re working on. The new Anchor Bay release of Phantasm shows us why this move deserves the accolade that it’s received!

First the story: This is really the story of Michael and his brother, Jody. Their parents have died and times have been tough for the brothers, and they get tougher when Michael spots the local mortician lifting a coffin into the back of his hearse by himself. Phantasm moves between horror movie into sci fi movie then back into horror territory so smoothly that it’s amazing. While the kernel of the story if about the brothers and their friend, Reggie, it’s really the Tall Man who’s the star of the movie. Angus Scrimm is the perfect actor in the perfect role here, and he’s earned the years of admiration that he’s had. On this DVD, there’s also a short documentary, Phantasmagoria that gathers interviews from all the main characters, from 2005, talking about their roles, what happened behind the scenes and how tough it was putting together this classic movie! One of the things I found out here is that Phantasm was filmed over two years, almost exclusively on weekends, something that I’ve heard current filmmakers lamenting too…well, pay heed guys, it can pay off.

Whether you’re a fan, or Phan as they’re called, or just interested in watching a movie that you’ve heard about, this Anchor Bay package of Phantasm is well worth the price, between the great transfer of the movie, the documentary and all the other extras (including TV spots, behind the scenes footage and a rare Fangoria commercial featuring the Tall Man) you get your money’s worth about three times over! You can get a copy for yourself by running over to the Anchor Bay web site and grabbing one for yourself. So, until next time, when I’ll be reliving my nightmare of having a silver ball chasing me through my house, remember that the best movies are bad movies.