Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: Phantasm 1979 Review


Phantasm 1979
Director: Don Coscarelli
Writer: Don Coscarelli
Starring Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury

This is one of the creepiest films ever made, in my eyes. I first saw this at the Drive Inn when I was 8 years old, and I immediately latched onto this gem. Everything about this film works, from the eerie music, to the sinister portrayal of Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man. Whenever he speaks, it sends chills down your spine. IT is a film more about mood and atmosphere, than a coherent and linear plotline. It plays like it is someone's fevered nightmare. And too many that is your experience as you watch the story unfold.
The plot basics are this, Jody (Thornbury) is in town for the funeral of his friend Tommy and to look after his young brother, Mike (Baldwin). As Jody and his friend Reggie (Bannister go to the funeral, Mike watches them from a distance and after the funeral he sees the funeral director a tall man (Scrimm) pick up the coffin like its a paperweight. Soon, he is investigating the Morningside cemetery and sees strange things and believes that the Tall Man is doing something to the bodies. He now has to convince his brother, that something is out of whack here, and then try to stop the Tall Man before he destroys everyone in this town.
I still get a kick out of this film every time I watch it. Coscarelli, did a great job on directing and writing this film and I am still amazed how it creeps me out every time I watch it. His direction is solid and you never know what is awaiting you around each corner. The acting is great too, especially Scrimm as the Tall Man, still one of the most memorable and defining horror icons of the last 30 years. I just get chills, whenever I hear him yell "BOY". The effects in the film while limited, are really done well, and the film relies more on mood than trying to gross you out.The music is really the defining characteristic of the film too, I believe without it this film would not leave such an indelible mark on our psyches. This film is a true classic of the modern horror film and if you have not seen it yet, what are you doing reading this review, go and see it.
This one gets 5 spheres out of 5

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