Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994, Don Coscarelli)


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.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: IT (1990, Tommy Lee Wallace)


All too many Stephen King adoptions don’t work out. Yet still there are ones that manage to at least properly tackle his material, IT being one of those adaptations that works rather well. Such a novel is immense and rather hard to tackle, especially considering the novel’s use of flashbacks, many which intercede with the present setting of the novel in the 1980s. And just like the novel the 1950s flashbacks work the best.

Oh and Tim Curry is wonderfully creepy as Pennywise, the villain of the piece. He has hilarious one liners and manages to even terrify in some parts. Particularly when poor grownup Bill recalls what happened to his brother Georgie. So much teeth…how they bite. Some of the adult versions of the young cast don’t quite fit with the novel’s descriptions of them, however. Especially John Ritter and Richard  Thomas, although both give quality performances. Also while I like Harry Anderson as Ritchie it oddly feels a bit too obvious of a casting pick. That said the rest of the cast is spot on, particularly with all of the young kids (Seth Green and Emily Perkins being notable standouts); also Annette O’ Toole is perfect as Beverly and Tim Reid is a great Mike.

Also they get Eddie right despite changing a few details. The second half isn’t as strong as the first, mostly since the kid actors play their parts with the utmost sincerity. Still I also enjoy the second half and naturally due to budget and length issues certain other aspects of the novel had to be cut. I wonder how the planned new version will work out, and I am hoping that it’s an improvement. Still I rather like and enjoy this slice of 1990s TV miniseries, a reminder of the days when such programs existed.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Phantasm II (1988, Don Coscarelli)


Created almost a decade after the original cult classic, Phantasm II is a really cool, well made sequel. Reggie, Mike return to do battle with The Tall Man once more after surviving the events of the first film. Hunting the evil being across the United States, this film has the look and feel of a road trip movie in addition to being a horror film. The stakes are even higher in this movie, as Mike rushes to save a girl he loves from a terrifying fate.

Unlike the first movie there is more action involved. Particularly in the form of a chainsaw battle, which is epic. Also the flying spheres of death are back and one turns out to be the ultimate in horribly killing people. The series retains its dark sense of humor and keeps the strong weird factor that makes it so watchable and interesting in the first place.

Furthermore elements of this film are right at home stylistically when it comes to some of Don Coscarelli’s work. You have inter-dimensional beings, sinister henchmen that dress only in black, and even a mocking of organized religion. It seems that many of the 80s and 90s horror films had something to comment about God, the Devil, and evil versus good in the world. Also the flamethrower moments plus the beings from another plane of existence reminded me a bit of one of his latest films, John Dies At The End, which I also enjoyed last year.

Naturally this is not the last entry in the series. I look forward to viewing the rest of the Phantasm series and enjoying what they have to offer. Oh and they are making another one, which just goes to show that nothing truly ends.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑