After the first two radical entries in the series, I was ready to watch Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (what a cool title, too) and see more of what Don Coscarelli had to offer. Unfortunately this movie is a bit too uneven at times to match the others, and while I liked the new batch of characters sent to aid the timeless hero Reggie (Reggie Bannister, multi barrel shotgun and guitar in hand) parts of this flick are too just too weird even for me. Also the movie needed more Tall Man, not less-the trio of undead travelers that go after Reggie, his new buddies Tim and Rocky, are not really menacing or creepy. I feel that the second movie had the right balance of action sequences and freaky moments, something that for some reason or another Coscarelli failed to match at times. This is a reminder that often third installments feel too “Been there, done that, seen it,” a factor working against them.
On the other hand Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry) is a great addition to the series, as Tim (Kevin Connors), who manages to be that rare child actor in a low budget horror movie who is not annoying. Jordy as a sphere is at times more amusing than strange, and he acts as a sort of super weapon as Reggie and Mike seek a way to end the nightmare. I think this series does not get enough credit at times for being a pure apocalyptic take on the American Southwest. And as a reminder that even when chasing a sinister alien man through deserted cities there is always time for some quality guitar playing.
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