Phantasm (1979) A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Terrie Kalbus Movie Review

Phantasm (1979)   2/52/52/52/52/5

A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm in Phantasm (1979)

Not My Fantasy

Having lost both of his parents, teenager, Mike, is fearful of losing his brother which is part of the reason why he sneaks into the cemetery home when his brother goes to a funeral. But whilst watching from the bushes Mike witnesses The Tall Man lifting up a coffin with a dead body in all by himself. Deciding to investigate further Mike not only discovers that inside the funeral home The Tall Man is protected by lethal shiny floating balls but he is shrinking down the dead and bringing them back to life to be his slaves. Now Mike, his brother and their friend Reggie must bring an end to what ever The Tall Man is up to.

As a movie reviewer of older movies I often wish I could read minds so that I could fully understand what a fan of one of these older movies saw in it that I am not. I would certainly like that ability when it comes to the much loved 70s horror movie "Phantasm" as to be honest this old movie struggled to entertain me from start to finish. A funeral home, a creepy tall man, strange goings on all combine to frankly not very much and I will be honest the longer the movie went on the more I became convinced that there wasn't so much a script for this movie but the imagination of writer and director Don Coscarelli making it up as he went along. It simply didn't work for me when it comes to story and I was genuinely waiting for something good to happen and truthfully I don't need all my fingers and thumbs on one hand to count those good things.

Now I have admitted before that there is something about 70s horror movies which don't do it for me and this has everything which I don't like about these movies. It is not just that it feels like a movie some friends made on a weekend and as such feels mostly low budget but it just doesn't have that atmosphere which keeps you hooked which means that when the occasional scary scene comes up it fails grabs you off guard. Ironically for a movie which didn't do much for me there are some moments of creativity which worked including having Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man wearing suits a size to small to make him look even stranger, although at times the distance shots of him made me think of Max Wall which certainly didn't help.

What this all boils down to is that "Phantasm" didn't do much for me at all and has been added to the list of 70s horror movies which I am convinced don't work for modern audiences, leaving them wondering what it is which those who watched it back in the 70s saw in it.