Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Scary
The film takes place in a quiet seemingly innocent town. Jody (Bill Thornbury) and Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are attending a funeral at morningside for their best friend Tommy who apparently killed himself. Jody's little brother Mike (Michael Baldwin), who wasn't supposed to attend watches the proceedings from a distance with his binoculars. After the services Mike sees...
Published on 14 May 2002

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not fantastic but...
I hadn't seen this for more than 25 years, so to watch the DVD on a big widescreen TV was a real treat. The film has many good points: Its errie atmosphere, the unexplained spheres and in fact the general surreal nature of the goings on. Especially the portal to another world scene. Its also well photographed, the special effects for 1979 look good and on DVD the picture...
Published on 21 Mar. 2012 by S J Buck


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Scary, 14 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantasm Box Set [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The film takes place in a quiet seemingly innocent town. Jody (Bill Thornbury) and Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are attending a funeral at morningside for their best friend Tommy who apparently killed himself. Jody's little brother Mike (Michael Baldwin), who wasn't supposed to attend watches the proceedings from a distance with his binoculars. After the services Mike sees more than he bargained for. A mysterious Tall Man arrives in a hearse and picks Tommy's coffin up by himself and loads it into the hearse with his bare hands. Mike, bewildered by what he saw, rides out of Morningside in a hurry, but not before being spotted by the Tall Man.
Mike visits a psychic living in the neighborhood and confesses to her about what he saw at the cemetery. The psychic tells Mike that it was all in his mind and that fear is the real killer. Still not convinced, Mike begins to notice strange things and decides to break into Morningside at night and spy on it's occupants. After encountering the Tall Man and his minions, Mike narrowly escapes and returns home. Mike tells Jody about the horrific things he saw at Morningside and that they have to do something. Jody, reluctant to believe his little brother, is finally convinced when Mike shows him his evidence. Now its up to Jody, Reggie and Mike to figure out the nature of the Tall Man and stop him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If this doesn't scare you..., 12 Jan. 2015
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Phantasm [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
When you think of horror, usually you think of gore, ghosts and/or slashers.

But Don Coscarelli introduced an eerier kind of horror in "Phantasm" -- the kind that flies at you in little metallic balls and drills into your head. This low-budget horror movie quietly worms its way into your soul and exposes all sorts of little fears -- of death, loss, undeath and creepy old men -- while also spooking you with the horrors that you can't even identify.

While his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) is at a funeral, Mike Pearson (Michael Baldwin) sees something odd outside the funeral home -- an old man (Angus Scrimm) casually lifting the casket and singlehandedly slinging it into a hearse. Soon Mike is being stalked by the Tall Man and his gibbering, dwarfish minions in their hooded cloaks. Think undead Jawas, but much, much more primally horrifying.

Of course, Mike tries to tell Jody and their old friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) what is going on, but they believe that Mike is just reacting to his brother's impending departure. So he sneaks into the Morningside Funeral Home, and comes back with the Tall Man's still-moving, yellow-bleeding finger. Finally convinced, Jody and Reggie help defend him from the Tall Man -- but what they find lurking with him is more ghastly than they could even imagine.

Reportedly Don Coscarelli originally wanted to adapt Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes," but the rights weren't available to him. So instead he crafted a movie out of his own nightmares. After all, the best horror movies are about more than the trappings -- they are the ones that tap into primal terrors that lurk in the shadows of your soul, and frighten you with the unnerving wrongness of everything that is going on.

Coscarelli directs the whole film in an oddly dreamlike manner, with lots of floating voiceovers and eerie marble halls. But the dream slowly turns into a nightmare, where scuttling things come out of the dark and collapse cars on you, or drag you screaming into the graveyard. Even the pleasantly shabby 70s home isn't safe from anyone. And the climax is terror of a different kind, especially when Mike sees where the Tall Man and his minions come from.

All the actors in this were relative newbies to the craft, but they give excellent performances -- Michael Baldwin as the gawky, inquisitive teen who adores his cooler older brother, but dreads his impending departure. The fear of loss and death permeates the entire story, underpinning the whole role of Mike. He clicks well with Bill Thornbury, who has the disbelieving-older-sibling role down without being a jerk about it.

And of course, Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm. Bannister isn't the central character as he is in later Phantasm films, but he gives a nice, solid, everyman performance as the boys' rock. As for Scrimm... he's every creepy old guy you ever saw in your life, encapsulated into one lanky unblinking creeper.

One slight flaw, though: the box scene. It's ripped directly from the beginning of "Dune" (it even has the same message -- I started babbling about fear being the mind-killer) and it honestly baffles me why this scene as-is is in the movie.

Don Coscarelli made a horror movie like no other with "Phantasm" -- an eerie, freaky movie haunted by the horrors that you usually can't see. You won't see anything else like it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, Bizarre, And Thoroughly Entertaining Films., 22 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
Don Coscarelli created a fantastic series of horror films with the Phantasm series, these films would definitely appeal to those who are looking for something different within the sci/fi horror genre. If you like low budget cult sci/fi horror films then your going to love this. Phantasm combines a nightmarish quality that few horror movies achieve with a nostalgic trip back in time to the late 70's. The central theme is that of young Mike being abandoned by his brother Jody, and overcoming his fears. The cryptic nature of the Tall Man's presence adds to the tension, and Myrow's eerie soundtrack is the perfect finishing touch. His well-crafted cuts in specific tension- filled scenes helped to heighten the emotion of fear and pending doom in the film. It was only his third film and he was 23 years old when he made it.

While spying on his older brother at a friend's funeral, Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) notices strange things happening at Morningside Cemetery. He witnesses a Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) picking up a full coffin and placing it back into his hearse. Unable to convince his brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) and the local ice cream man Reg (Reggie Bannister) about what he saw, he heads out to do a little investigating on his own. He discovers that their local mortuary hides a legion of hooded killer dwarf-creatures, a flying silver sphere of death, and is home to the sinister mortician known only as the Tall Man. The first film while it does have a little gore in it, mainly focuses on the dark and moody atmosphere and it has a surreal style, there's also the possibility that it wasn't real but a bad nightmare, great stuff.

Phantasm II begins right after where the first film left off. The freaky dwarfs have invaded Mike's home and Reggie must foil the Tall Man's attempts at kidnapping him. Flash forward seven years and Mike is in a mental institution. He is released upon admitting that the whole Phantasm experience was made up only to find that in his absence the Tall Man has been plundering many of America's small towns and thousands of graves are empty. As before, the Tall Man is the best thing in the film. Angus Scrimm is so wonderfully silent and unholy that no matter how slick and entertaining the rest of the film is he'll come out on top. This also being one of those great 80's sequel as it's filled with more action, blood and gore and humor.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead is a pretty inventive and fun sequel. Following Part II, this time Reggie (Reggie Bannister) is continuing his search for the Tall Man to stop him from his deadly work. Mike (Michael Baldwin) is captured by the Tall Man after falling into a coma, and now it's up to Reggie to save him. With the help of Jody (who is mainly in the form of a silver sphere now) and some others that he picks up along his journey, including a young boy named Tim (Kevin Connors) and a woman from the Army, Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry), Reggie begins a relentless search for the Tall Man's current location, where he has Mike, and what he plans to do with him. A different but very entertaining entry, "Phantasm III" is a very fun film. Although a couple of scenes felt abit ridiculous there were some cool scenes especially with that demon nurse. Phantasm IV is the weakest of the series. Despite the intriguing and effective integration of unused footage from the first film and some nifty location work, it remains too unfocussed. In terms of atmosphere and suggestion, Phantasm IV scores rather well, with Mike's in-car visions and Reggie's initial encounter with the phantom patrolman proving genuinely creepy, but the rest of the film lose steam quickly and becomes a bit dull. No doubt about it, Anchor Bay has done a great job with this set, it has a ton of great features and the discs all feature DTS tracks and commentaries, plus a well specified bonus disc which includes Phantasmagoria, a feature-length look at the making of the series, starting with Coscarelli's first films Jim the World's Greatest and Kenny & Company, which then takes us through all four Phantasm films in some detail. I highly recommend this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not fantastic but..., 21 Mar. 2012
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantasm [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
I hadn't seen this for more than 25 years, so to watch the DVD on a big widescreen TV was a real treat. The film has many good points: Its errie atmosphere, the unexplained spheres and in fact the general surreal nature of the goings on. Especially the portal to another world scene. Its also well photographed, the special effects for 1979 look good and on DVD the picture is mostly very sharp and it looks great.

On the downside the script does the actors no favours, and there is some very wooden acting going on!

But I enjoyed the film and will watch it again and would probably give it 3.5 stars if allowed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars If you like playing with balls, keep your head out the way with these!, 30 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Two brothers and there friend decide to investigate a creepy "tall man" undertaker, when it seems he is connected to killings and deadly sliver spheres.

Highly atmospheric horror thriller that'll keep many genre fans enthralled. Encompassing several horror elements including, supernatural, zombie, sci-fi and even stalk'n'slash and doing a very good job in all. The biggest standout is the very creepy atmosphere that the film maintains throughout, the brilliant soundtrack adds to this, its understated but always there and makes its presence known when needed. The set-pieces are another strong point, the attack sequence in the car is excellent and very intense and scary as is the climax, the low budget was used very well, not made for much but it does have a bigger budget feel and standard that many of its contemporaries don't. Acting wise everyone does a fine job, A. Michael Baldwin as our young hero stands out as does (quite literally) Angus Scrimm as the the malevolent "tall man". The writing and story are decent particularly in the first half where the story unfolds very well but after 30-35mins the story becomes far less interesting, the set-pieces and pace never let up and the scares do keep coming but for me the story just couldn't hold as much interest and my mind did start to wonder as the less enthralling supernatural element became more prominent.

A very good horror with much to admire (especially young director/producer/editor Don Coscarelli), more mass appeal than might be initially thought, although there is a fare bit of blood it's far from extreme of offensive and can be easily enjoyed. Placed on the Section 3 nasty list probably because of the sphere's gory brain drilling sequence's, but with the authorities at the time it could have been the cemetery romance that offended them!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars PHANTASTIC DVD BOX SET, 24 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
Just bought this dvd box set ,its a great looking set - the slipcase has a lenticular / holographic picture of THE TALL MAN complete with flying spiked sphere on the front cover , 5 discs = all 4 movies + 1 bonus PHANTASM special feature disc ,each movie also has optional dvd commentary mostly with the director DON COSCARELLI + cult Phantasm star REGGIE BANNISTER.

First time I ever seen a Phantasm movie was in the late 80s - I was a member of Brittania video & Phantasm 2 was the editors choice ,in those days if you did not send the slip back saying that you DID NOT want the editors choice then it got automatically sent to you , I forgot to send my slip back & thats how I first came across these movies.Dont regret a thing though coz I love this set of odd-ball horror films - after watching PHANTASM 2 I was hooked ,after that I bought PHANTASM 1 and then accquired each movie as they were released on VHS - ah VHS those were the days , seems very very old fashioned these days lol.

The first movie ends very wierdly , dont want to spoil it BUT when you watch it you'll see what I mean , and that sets a trend - coz there is alot of weird kinda unexplained things happen in each of these movies , you usually end up with more unanswered questions - than you do answered questions, but dont let that put you off coz thats a big part of the appeal of PHANTASM ,theres plenty of gory horror scenes and also some great comedy in these movies , and I cant get enough of those flying killer balls , the balls get better and better with each movie as they become more advanced killing machines,love the new weapons that the balls accquire

The TALL MAN played by ANGUS SCRIMM is the ICONIC bad guy of these movies , In each movie he plays the part tremendously well , he is very menacing and very very hard to kill , The tall man is going through graveyards in America and turning the already dead into mutated dwarfs ,and in various guises he also picks people to kill so that he can turn them into said dwarfs , his process is to crush there large bodies into small deformed type bodies, which he then uses as slaves & henchmen to do some of his killing and dirty work ,actor REGGIE BANNISTER is one of the good guys, he is also in all 4 movies and he funnily enough he plays a character called REGGIE ( ironic I know ),he is great , and provides alot of comedy relief but he is also always in the thick of the action as he helps MIKE /actor A.MICHAEL BALDWIN hunt down the TALL MAN , Mike believes the tall man has taken his brother /Jodie and his parents and turned them into mutated dwarfs using his crushing process , Mike is trying to find them and put there living hell to an end - well thats the way the story sets out in the beginning but boy does it get alot more complicated - and I do mean ALOT MORE ,all 4 movies are full of surprises and they never get boring.

4 GREAT CULT HORROR MOVIES ..... BUY THE BOX SET - AND FIND OUT IF REGGIE AND MIKE SUCCEED.... AND DONT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE - YOU WONT REGRET IT
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, twisted and very watchable, 7 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Phantasm [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
I do like films that are `so bad they're good.' And recently I watched The House By the Cemetery (by the same writer/director Don Coscarelli) and I hated it. So perhaps I lowered my expectations with this one. Either way, I was pleasantly surprised.

It started with a young boy. Now, this can be a problem, as kids in horror movies (especially ones from the seventies and eighties) are notoriously annoying. However, despite his old fashioned haircut, he was actually pretty watchable. The same could be said for his older brother, who he goes to for help when he starts watching a suspicious undertaker in a local funeral home.

What transpires is the brothers and their friends investigating some pretty dark and nasty goings on. Yes, it's a bit dated, but fun nonetheless. Could you really pass up the opportunity to watch cloaked dwarfs, angry mutant flies with super-strength and, of course, that scene with the miniature Death Star (watch it, you'll know what I'm referring to).

Rather than just being a straight slasher film, Phantasm actually tries to be a little different, not just with the plot, but also with the way it's put together. Some people have described it has having a similar feel to David Lynch's films. In some ways they're not wrong.

All in all, if you're a horror buff, then you really should watch this. It may look a little dated, but it's different enough to be regarded as an important part of the horror genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Variations on a theme, 7 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
Old school fantastic-horror of the 'is this all a nightmare?' narrative playground. The first has low budget, no, i mean proper low budget not the modern equivalent, late seventies & early eighties low budget constraints. Thus, enthusiasm & imagination must rule the day to carry the flick. Oh does it..

If the following films develop & expand the themes of the first film, of varying budgets & demands, still there is a consistent drive to each one. Give the viewer a playful midnight movie, draw 'em in, let 'em roam about, throw some crowd-pleasers at 'em. In the form of the Tall Man, the floating spheres that drill and spill blood, the femme fatales, the dwarves, the ice-cream vendor, the creepy soundtrack..

One of those flicks commonly assumed to be categorised as either really like it/really fall into the world-view, or don't even bother throwing your popcorn. In many ways a better nightmare in four 'variations' than that Elm Street nonsense. The deft playfulness & indie film-making need no mainstream veneer to sell it, nor an attempt to make it's bogeyman palatable. Recommended pleasing entertainment of a gothy driven drive-in. And in this box set within the special features you also get every facet of production given air-time & everyone involved seemed to have a blast..which shows throughout the four films.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars "BOY!", 13 Oct. 2014
By 
Mr. J. G. Thomas "Jash" (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
The most arthouse mainstream sci-fi/horror hybrid ever committed to celluloid finally arrives on a shiny disc, and the wait has been worth it!

For die-hard "Phans", this release is everything that they could've hoped for, and much, much more; for the uninitiated, it's the perfect point of entry into the bizarre world of The Tall Man and his minute minions.

To even try to submit a synopsis of the movie, and it's more than acceptable sequels, here would be an exercise in futility...the features contained within this frankly stunning package are more about implication and nuance than they are a linear, coherent storyline.

Fans of David Lynch will revel in the surreal atmosphere conjured up by the underrated Don Coscarelli, whilst admirers of Seventies cinema will no doubt enjoy the movie's Grindhouse aesthetic.

Weird, wonderful, exciting and essential...It'll change the way you look at grave yards forever! :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PHANTASM: A cult classic!, 30 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Phantasm 5 DVD Box Set [DVD] (DVD)
This is a brilliant boxset. All films are presented on exciting dvds, with fancy menus, the best being the first where you follow phantasm spheres flying around, and the picture and sound quality was suprisingly good seeing as the films started in the late 70's. Each disc is filled with great special features and followed by a bonus disc of even more documantaries on the huge cult success of the series! The films themselves are all great, classic entertainment. Despite the low budget, phantasm 1 is incredibly effective. The atmosphere of phantasm is intensely eerie and will leave you with chills in your spine after you've turned the lights out. As the films go on the special effects improve and increase and so do the explosions and car crashes (there appears to be at least one in every film) and the humor tends to get much funnier. The tall man is a haunting creation, played experly by Angus Scrimm, who can easily sit with other cult horror icons such as freddy and pin head. The dvd box is beautifully designed and well presented, it looks great on the dvd shelf. I would highly recomend this, it is 4 films of fun entertainment on 5 dedicated discs. You couldn't want anymore (unless you're buying the phantasm sphere dvd's, of course).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Phantasm [VHS]
Phantasm [VHS] by Don Coscarelli (VHS Tape - 2002)
Used & New from: £3.98
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews