Sunday Sesh: Let’s All Just Watch Phantasm
“The funeral is about to begin, sir.”
Since the Toilet’s humble genesis, we have been haunted by a specter; long has the grim visage of the Tall Man stalked these marbled halls. His origin is mysterious, his demeanor gruff. In truth, all we know of him is his thirst for death.
And yet, I’ve somehow managed to endure the entirety of my two years of friendship with the enigmatic Scrimm without seeing the film from which he draws his namesake. That’s right. Until about 8:00 pm last night, I had never seen Scrimm’s chief love and inspiration, the cult classic Phantasm. That was a mistake.
It was a mistake because Phantasm is a nutty and utterly delightful film. Upon first examination, Phantasm seems every bit a product of 1970s horror. The plot is a bit kooky, the teenagers are horny, and the violence is schlocky. The film was initially panned for its bizarre plot and general incomprehensibility. Horror fans looked deep beneath the surface though and found a film that was very much a love letter to its genre, one with some excellent cinematography and characters to boot.
If you can get pass some of the odd pacing choices (and a bit of a frustrating twist at the end), I guarantee you’ll find a lot to love. The film is chock full of genuinely beautiful scenes. Both the spartan marble halls of the funeral home and the blood-red aurora of the dwarf planet leave strong impressions of the film’s bold art direction. The soundtrack is fantastic and perfectly accents the otherworldly and imposing nature of the film’s antagonist. And the Tall Man himself is an excellent villain, the kind of classic horror killer whose goals are unknown and whose menace seems unstoppable. It’s no wonder Scrimm chose the name of the Tall Man’s actor as his moniker.
If you’re a fan of the genre, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch Phantasm. The film isn’t perfect, but it is damn good and certainly deserves its place in the pantheon of classic horror films. It’s got dread, menace, and just the right amount of gore. What more do you need?
If you’re interested, you can watch Phantasm for $1.99 on Amazon Prime or just pay for it on the Youtube embed below!
Beware the flying balls.