Watching Phantasm series for the first time and not seeing what makes them great.

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by crikan, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Messages:
    20,607
    Likes Received:
    1,363
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Missouri
    The original Phantasm for me is a nearly perfect Horror/Fantasy film. I've loved it since first seeing it when I was around 11 years old. If it was a fast-paced film, it just wouldn't work on quite the same level of beauty. The characters, production design, cinematography, and the soundtrack all weld into an otherworldly joy...for me at least. I love the film more every time I see it.
     
  2. wago70

    wago70 Surviving on nostalgia

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,586
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Francisco - down by them two ol' sheds
    Being roughly the same age as the main character when I first saw it on local TV at 1 a.m., I really took to it. Just sat and took it all in with no expectations. Loved it then, love it now.
    I was actually surprised it wasn't on pay cable Showtime or HBO before it aired on Creature Features.
    At the time, it was only slashers which were dear to my heart (aside from HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, CARRIE and THE HOWLING) so it was the first dream-like, fantasy horror flick that I really liked.
    I remember seeing NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET for the first time in it's 2nd day of release - and thinking to myself, "...how cool...this is soooooooooooo Phantasm!"
     
  3. AndresG

    AndresG Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New York
    I loved Phantasm since the first time I saw it back in the day and have seen it at least 4-5 times since then (never get tired of it!), a classic horror masterpiece imho :)
     
  4. msw7

    msw7 Re-animated member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Brigid Fitch, USA
    I saw Phantasm when I was young (no idea, but before high school, I think), and it made virtually no impression on me. I saw it again recently, and didn't like it much, though some parts were pretty cool (the silver ball, the Tall Man chasing the kid in a basement?).

    I think I get the whole dream/nightmare structure, but the "acting" really bothered me. I saw one of the later ones (not sure if 3 or 4), and thought it was largely an annoying mess - part of it took place in the old west? Where the Tall Man didn't realize he was an evil alien?

    Anyway, I don't have a strong anti-Phantasm sentiment, maybe "indifferent" is the best word for me to use.

    Not a fan in any case.
     
  5. NaturesMistake

    NaturesMistake Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    500
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    msw7, check out 2 and 3, much better than 4 and much different than 1 (think Evil Dead).
     
  6. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,479
    Likes Received:
    478
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    i like em...don't know why, really, but i do. dont own any of them though....guess i was holding out for a region one sphere. not gonna happen now. so maybe when i get some cash, i'll pick em up.
     
  7. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,069
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Others have already explained what is so good about it better then I ever could, but maybe after watching it again this October when it is all fresh to me I can expand upon it.

    Off the top of my head though, I loved the atmosphere that every nightmarish scene is soaked in. I like that the whole thing has a dark dream like quality and the fact that it doesn't make much sense seems to work for this movie, trying to decipher what's real and what's not. It makes you think after watching it and that's never a bad thing.

    I liked all the characters (I wish they didn't delete the ice cream scene as it added to their charm) and thought the Tall Man was a great and menacing villain. There is just something creepy about him and his plain mortician look that allows him to stand up against the best of the horror villains such as Jason, Freddy, Pinhead, Leatherface, ect. No the Jawa creatures aren't scary at all, but they add a little bit of fun to the dream like world. Not everything in a nightmare has to be outright terrifying. I think the fact that they are just so damn weird works well enough.

    And last but not least, the music, like Goblins score in Suspiria, adds so much to the film. One of my favourite horror movies scores!
     
  8. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    5,079
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Horror
    I'm SO glad someone else besides me wants to see that shitty sequel gutted. To say I don't get the appeal or why it should have amassed so loyal a fanbase, is an understatement of epic proportions. Phantasm II is such a bad sequel, it is probably the reason the phrase "sequels suck" was invented.

    And I think one of the reasons why it sucks so bad is because the characters from the first movie were not interesting. And I actually agree with you, Crikan, the acting is bad. But, bad acting doesn't bother me unless there's no cause to like the movie. And, bad acting or not, bad dialogue or not- Phantasm deserves credit for well-timed scares, and for being a beautifully-shot film, for probably the single greatest music score in the history of the horror genre (sorry Suspiria, and John Carpenter's Halloween, but even you must bow down to Phantasm), and for being an all-around sumptuously atmospheric delight that actually manages to wash away the bad taste left in my mouth by the cheap tit shots (nice pair, honey- but back up because I'm seeing too much detail here, I don't want to know how cold it was the night you shot that scene) and the lame "coming of age" living-vicarious sex scene in the cemetery.

    The first movie worked, but making a sequel alone was Coscarelli and company seriously pressing their luck. These are boring people who were allowed to seem a little more interesting because the movie was so cutting edge for its' day in terms of filmmaking. In 1988, this couldn't be more stale and boring.
     
  9. wago70

    wago70 Surviving on nostalgia

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,586
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Francisco - down by them two ol' sheds
    I love the soundtrack score. Sort of a Carpenter/Italo Horror sound to it all.
     
  10. TheCoroner

    TheCoroner New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I enjoy the first two Phantasm films.:cool:
     
  11. HellRazor

    HellRazor New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2001
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Like a lot of films, you really have to look at the first PHANTASM flick in context of the times it was released in. One of the big draws was that the silver spear head stabbing scene was way above and beyond anything that had been done prior to that, gore-wise. It was just SO over the top. You didn't see anything like that in the theaters back in 1979, this was some crazy shit back then. Combine that with the dream-like atmosphere and a crazy plot that involves dwarves, cemetaries, a ghoulish funeral director that has yellow blood and digits that turn into crazy flying furry creatures, and alien dimensions and you got one hell of a ride.

    Now the sequels are another matter. PHANTASM 2 was long awaited but half of it was almost a remake of PHANTASM only with a bigger budget, and the rest of it went south pretty quick - I never really bought into the whole "Mike and Reggie make it their mission to ride around looking for more Morningside cemetaries" thing, it just wasn't a very believable or interesting direction to take things in my opinion. And it was all downhill from there. PHANTASM III and IV are nearly incomprehensible.
     
  12. Matt89

    Matt89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,678
    Likes Received:
    950
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto
    I haven't seen Phantasm in quite a while. Not since I started studying film anyway. I somewhat liked it, but I felt that I should've liked it more than I did. I didn't like the fact that it was rather ambigious, but now that I'm familiar with the style of art films and avant-garde cinema, I dunno...I'm thinking I should maybe give this another go. I might enjoy it more now that I understand its style. I'm not saying it's an art film or an avant-garde film, but it seems to follow the formula somewhat.

    ~Matt
     
  13. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    5,479
    Likes Received:
    478
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    you might just end up hating it, what with your high-falutin snobbishness and pighead-ery.:fuck:

    ....:lol:
     
  14. crikan

    crikan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    2,026
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Over the past year I've really delved into a lot of classics from the 70's and 80's and in many cases I didn't need to make concessions to understand what make them great. Blade Runner, The Thing, and Halloween are great movies that don't require you to have seen them when they originally came out or put yourself in the context of the times when they were made. They are timeless. Seeing all the praise Phantasm gets, I'm surprised I didn't get the same feeling. I can certainly see what made it great back then, but it hasn't aged well.
     
  15. bigwes15

    bigwes15 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I love Phantasm now as much as I did when I saw it as a kid, and the sequels as well, although to a lesser degree. It was one of the first horror movies I ever saw on a vcr, so I guess my opinions as one of the old guys here in their 30's would have to be taken into account as a possible prejudice with the nostalgia factor.
     
  16. Shannafey

    Shannafey Don't Monkey With Me!

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    6,941
    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South Florida, But Far from the Hell that is Miami
    You're not alone! Unfortunately, I've passed 40 now!
     
  17. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2001
    Messages:
    10,780
    Likes Received:
    658
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Keene, NH
    Could budget have something to do with it? I've been noticing lately that virtually all of the horror films that are accused of being "dated" (like Dawn of the Dead) are ones that were made outside of the traditional studio system. Both Blade Runner and The Thing were financed by major Hollywood studios. Halloween actually receives a lot of the same criticism that Phantasm gets nowadays but at least it had the benefits of a star or two in it's cast. Phantasm, by contrast, was made by a cast and crew of (virtually) complete unknowns, and it was also made on weekends spanning for more than a year. For what Coscarelli and crew had to work with it could have certainly aged far worse.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  18. msw7

    msw7 Re-animated member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Brigid Fitch, USA
    For me, I'm not sure. I love Dawn of the Dead, and Night of the Living Dead, but have never seen the appeal of the Phantasm series. I even gave Phantasm II a chance after a recommendation here, and while I liked it more than the original, I didn't think it was great.
     
  19. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2001
    Messages:
    10,780
    Likes Received:
    658
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Keene, NH
    Well, if you never liked it to begin with then that's a different story altogether.
     

Share This Page