For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror flick a day leading up to Halloween. Each one will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR.
PLOT: For 37 years, audiences have followed small town friends Reggie (Reggie Bannister), Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), and Jody (Bill Thornbury) in their quest to stop the evil, dimension-hopping schemes of The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm in his final performance) and his armada of killer Silver Sentinel Spheres. Now, Don Coscarelli’s acclaimed horror/sci-fi PHANTASM franchise comes to a close in a truly epic finale, a multi-dimensional battle across multiple timelines, alien planets, and altered realities, where no less than the fate of Earth is on the line.
BODY COUNT: 43 on-screen …and millions more off-screen thanks to a plague/virus The Tall Man releases and his giant “Death Star” Silver Spheres that wipe out most of humanity. The on-screen BODY COUNT is as follows: Reggie shoots two of the Silver Spheres, the Lady In Lavender (Kathy Lester), one of the Jawa/Minion/Dwarf/Lurkers, and four Gravers before possibly maybe sorta dying of old age in the finale (something about the multiverse …so maybe an alternate Reggie dies). Mike guns down four gravers and blows up five of The Tall Man’s followers using a rocket launcher. Jody, driving a souped-up Hemi-Cuda with mini-guns, mows down three gravers. The Silver Spheres drill kill a car thief (Daniel Schweiger), Dawn (Dawn Cody), three randos, a horse, and Demeter (Daniel Roebuck). Resistance Soldier #1 is spiked by a Mace variant of the Silver Sphere, Jane (Dawn Cody) ends up with her neck snapped, and a slew of Jawa/Minion/Dwarf/Lurkers and Gravers are smoked in a mini-montage moment. Finally, post-apocalyptic badass Chunk (Stephen Jurtas) takes down a dozen or so Jawa/Minion/Dwarf/Lurkers and Gravers before suicide bombing The Tall Man. No worries though, Chunk somehow survives and reappears in a post-credits scene. More on that down in the “WTF?!?” MOMENT section.
MOST MEMORABLE KILL: Jody rolling into the party behind the wheel of a “Mad Max” variant of the Hemi-Cuda and laying waste to a bunch of was a great bit.
NAKEDNESS: Daniel Schweiger in a speedo and some amazing cleavage from the still smoking hot Kathy Lester.
SIGNATURE MOMENT: As with all the PHANTASM films, there are a lot of SIGNATURE MOMENTS. Not wanting to narrow it down to just one, here are our personal favorites from PHANTASM V: Angus Scrimm’s final role (RIP), the “Death Star” Silver Spheres, the “Mace” Sphere, the almost TERMINATOR-esque Silver Spheres, the army of Tall Men, the return to the Red Planet, Reggie almost scoring (nothing for four movies and then when his moment arrives …he’s nodded off trying to write a love ballad), the fractured story structure (Are the events of RAVAGER in the original PHANTASM continuity? In a multiverse? A post-apocalyptic wasteland? Another post-apocalyptic wasteland? The dementia dreams and delusions of Reggie?), Chunk, the janky CG (which actually fits the phran-chise and looks good considering the budget for PHANTASM V was somewhere around $300,000), Dawn/June, The Tall Man telling Reggie “You’re my bad dream”, and the return of Jebediah Morningside, Rocky (last seen in PHANTASM III), Jody, and the Lady In Lavender (last seen in the original PHANTASM back in ‘79).
IDIOT MOMENT: Five movies into the PHANTASM phran-chise and Reggie is still falling into the dumb horror movie cliches like wandering alone around dark hallways weaponless and taking too long to kill the Silver Spheres. Will this man never learn?
“WTF?!?” MOMENT: As we mentioned in the BODY COUNT, Chunk sacrifices himself to take down The Tall Man. He does this by pulling the pins on all the grenades on his flak jacket vest and turning himself into a bomb. The audience sees him and The Tall Man explode. End of story …except it’s not. Halfway through the end credits, Chunk pops out of one of The Tall Man’s portals with some minor wounds and a missing hand. Yeah, that’s not how a suicide bombing like that works. One like that kills everyone involved. No escape. Even through a portal. Those grenades were ATTACHED to Chunk. They were not in his hand, not in a bag, not lying loose on the ground. They were on him. Physically ON him! Yes, we understand that he was an awesome addition to the phran-chise, but, awesome addition or no, an act like that should’ve killed him, not possibly set him up as the villain (The Little Man?) of the next installment.
USELESS KNOWLEDGE: A mock up DVD with the title PHANTASM: RAVAGER appears next to a television in Don Coscarelli's earlier film JOHN DIES AT THE END.
> According to the book "Phantasm Exhumed," filming on PHANTASM: RAVAGER first began in late 2008 where it was originally envisioned as a spinoff webseries about the Reggie character. This webisode footage was eventually expanded upon with new footage that featured appearances by main cast members to become feature-length.
> With no prior production news, PHANTASM: RAVAGER was announced to the world as a completed project on March 26, 2014. A teaser trailer was released the following day.
> In the beginning of the first Phantasm film, Jodi says to Reggie, "What a way to break up a trio." At the end of Ravager, when Reggie and Mike are getting in the car with Jodi, Jodi says "What a way to start a trio."
> The song Reggie plays on the guitar while creating a song for Dawn is the same tune he and Jody played together in the original Phantasm during their jam session. Several years after the movie's release, actor Bill Thornbury finished the song which is titled "Sitting Here At Midnight".
> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this article was provided by IMDB.