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Phantasm (1979)

A. Michael Baldwin , Bill Thornbury , Don Coscarelli  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Terrie Kalbus
  • Directors: Don Coscarelli
  • Writers: Don Coscarelli
  • Producers: Dac Coscarelli, Paul Pepperman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: AVCO Embassy Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MV8ABS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,134 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Phantasm" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Phantasmagoria: 30-minute documentary and interviews with cast and crew
  • Deleted scenes
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Actors having a ball
  • TV Interview
  • TV Commercial with Angus Scrimm
  • Angus Scrimm convention appearance
  • Trailers for Phantasm and Phantasm III
  • TV Spots

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Jody is the kind of guy that every 1970s teen looked up to. He's in his early 20s, has a cool car, splendid '70s hair, leather jacket, plays guitar and (naturally) snags all the girls. His little brother, Mike, in particular, admires him and emulates him at every turn. Things start to go astray, however, when the two brothers and their friend Reggie attend a funeral for a friend. Mike notices a tall man working at the funeral home; in the course of his snooping, he sees the tall man put a loaded coffin into the back of a hearse as easily as if it was a shoebox. Jody doesn't believe his little brother's stories, though, until he brings home the tall man's severed finger, still wriggling in what appears to be French's mustard. From there, the film picks up a terrific momentum that doesn't let up until the sequel-ripe twist ending. Phantasm was one of the first horror movies to break the unspoken rule that victims were supposed to scream, fall down, and cower until they were killed. Instead, Mike and Jody are resourceful and smart, aggressively pursuing the evil inside the funeral home with a shotgun and Colt pistol. Furthermore, the script has a great deal of character development, especially in the relationship between the two brothers. The film even has a surprisingly glossy look, despite its low-budget origins, and little outright gore (except for the infamous steel spheres that drill into victims' heads). This drive-in favorite was a big success at the time of its release, and spawned three sequels. Little wonder; it includes an inventive story, likable characters, a runaway pace, and, of course, evil dwarves cloaked in Army blankets. The end result is one of the better horror films of the late 1970s. Hot-rod fans take note: Jody drives a Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda, the pinnacle of 1960s muscle cars, rounding out his status as a Cool Guy. --Jerry Renshaw

Stills from Phantasm (Click for larger image)









Beyond Phantasm

Phantasm III

Phantasm IV

More from Anchor Bay - Re-Animator

Product Description

The Original Classic From The Director Of THE BEASTMASTER and BUBBA HO-TEP Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury star in the shocker that started it all, in which two brothers discover that their local mortuary hides a legion of hooded killer dwarf creatures, a flying drill-ball, and the demonic mortician known as The Tall Man (an iconic performance by Angus Scrimm) who enslaves the souls of the damned. More than 25 years later, it remains unlike any fright film you’ve ever seen. Reggie Bannister co-stars in the heart-stopping classic from writer/director Don Coscarelli that launched the most uniquely chilling series in horror history and is still hailed as one of the scariest movies of all time. Experience PHANTASM again, now featuring frightening extras never before seen in America! Features:Widescreen Presentation TV Spots Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Stars Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thronbury Deleted Scences, Also on DVD PHANTASM Trailer, PHANTASM III Trailer PHANTASM: Behind-the-Scences, PHANTASM: Actors Having a Ball Phantasmagoria, 1979 PHANTASM Interview, 1988 Fangoria TV Commerical

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark dreams are made of this... May 24, 2004
Format:DVD
If good films are like waking dreams, then good horror films are like waking nightmares. Few can match the power of Phantasm in this regard. Masquerading as a B-shocker, it gradually develops a kind psychological depth shared only by the best in the genre - films like The Exorcist and Silence of the Lambs.
To begin with, the story is frankly outrageous: after the death of a close friend, two brothers (Mike and Jody, played by Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury) discover some strange things about the Morningside Funeral Home where their friend - and their parents, who died two years earlier - are interred. It seems the dour funeral director (a character known only as The Tall Man, indelibly rendered by Angus Scrimm) is not quite human. He's able to lift fully occupied coffins by himself, as the younger Mike secretly observes; he bleeds yellow blood; he has a strange reaction to cold; and he is aided by small silver spheres that roam the halls of the mausoleum, doing unspeakably gruesome things to intruders. It seems his main activity, though, involves a novel use of the corpses of the dearly departed - a use we learn in the striking left-turn the film takes in the third act.
Somehow, what could have been a very silly film takes on an unnerving, Lynchian kind of surreality, thanks in large measure to a well-developed subtext about abandonment, isolation, despair, and guilt. These are the anxieties that drive nightmares, and - despite the frequent humor throughout - writer/director Don Coscerelli infuses the proceedings with a poignant sense of sadness and dread. Like Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, or Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Phantasm isn't just a scary film; it has the authentic texture of a dark, disturbing dream.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Tall Man, Booooyyyy! April 14, 2004
Format:DVD
"If this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead." Or so goes one of the taglines used in the promotions for PHANTASM, the 1979 low-budget film from auteur Don Coscarelli that has become a much-loved horror classic. By today's standards, the film doesn't quite reach the level of fright promised by that slogan. But PHANTASM is nonetheless a well-made indie flick that has always been a real crowd-pleaser due to its enigmatic, unpredictable script; the ingenious and effective low-budget special FX; excellent directing and cinematography by Coscarelli; good acting, especially from the four principals; and a very memorable, haunting score.
PHANTASM follows precocious 13-year-old Michael (Michael Baldwin), his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury), and friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) as they investigate the enigmatic goings-on at the creepy nearby funeral parlor. Just who or what is that terrifying Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) that seems to have the run of the place? What is his part in the recent disappearance of corpses at the mortuary, and what is his relationship to the elfish eidolons lurking in the graveyard shadows?
PHANTASM's script is loosely structured and rather weak in spots, but this actually heightens the unpredictability of the plot and thereby gives the film an unnerving surrealistic quality. And when combined with bizarre imagery (e.g., an airborne chromed sphere drilling into a human head); gloomy, atmospheric sets and on-location sites; and a genuinely creepy, inscrutable antagonist like the Tall Man, the movie transcends the script and evolves into a 90-minute spine-tingling nightmare-on-film.
The excellent musical score also adds much to the nightmarish quality of PHANTASM.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very odd, but very good April 26, 2000
Format:DVD
As a successful director of kid's films, Don Coscarelli felt like moving into horror. But he was out of ideas so he shut himself in a mountain cabin for a few weeks and dreamt up Phantasm. God only knows what he was smoking or drinking in order to conjure up a story like this. I've been watching it for over six years, trying to get my head around it. But like the most complex of David Lynch films, there are still some parts of the puzzle that are too warped to fit.

Mike and Jody Pearson are two brothers living in small town California. Their parents have recently died, leaving twenty-something Jody in charge of 13-year-old Mike. But Jody is restless and cannot stay cooped up in such a small town for long. Mike dreads that Jody will dump him with an aunt or uncle and disappear beyond the horizon.

But that's the least of his worries for the moment. Jody's friend has mysteriously committed suicide and after his funeral Mike, hiding in the bushes, sees the undertaker, a sinister Tall Man, heave the coffin out of the ground all by himself and dump it back in the Hearse.

Knowing something ain't quite right about all this, Mike investigates the funeral home and is attacked by hooded dwarfs, flying killer chrome spheres (inspired by one of Coscarelli's nightmares) and is chased by the Tall Man. He gets away but loses a shoe and hacks off some of the Tall Man's fingers for proof.

It's not an ordinary finger, it oozes some kind of yellow puss (embalming fluid perhaps) and still pokes around on it's own. Convinced of supernatural interference, the brothers team up with their Ice Cream vendor pal Reggie to kick the Tall Man's head in.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic!
Classic. Our of the most underrated movies of all time. Although there's more action in part 2 , this is how it starts and you gotta have both!
Published 17 days ago by Lisa M. Diego
5.0 out of 5 stars Tall man...
One of the best "cult movies" ever. Get it, watch it. I have not yet watched the sequels but I have them and I will... too little time!
Published 1 month ago by J. Bowles
5.0 out of 5 stars Movies
I like this movie. I just need to buy the rest of the collection. It will be awhile before I can though.
Published 1 month ago by Carl R. Kannady
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic B-Movie Horror
I watched this film a lot as a young adult and perhaps even younger than that, because I can always seem to remember this movie and it's awkward creepiness. Read more
Published 1 month ago by William Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars ball
this is a classic from my child hood. was scary back in the day for most of us. perfect condition and shipping was fast.
Published 1 month ago by superman86
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Flick
It's a great cult classic. As a 9yr old when it came out - after I watched this movie the first time. I had to go to a funeral about a week later. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Russ Chersky
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
These movies were ahead of their time i enjoyed them when i was young and have still enjoyed as got older.
Published 3 months ago by 20 Words or less
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Horror Movie
Phantasm is an American horror movie about a Hellish entity called "The Tall Man," who connects the realm of the living with that of the dead through a machine. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story (SPOILER)
Unusual horror film with a kid lead. Resourceful and smart 13 year old hero works to save his beloved brother from creatures from another world. Scary villain.
Published 4 months ago by customerS
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantasm: A True Horror Classic!!
Phantasm Rocks!! This movie rules so much and the Tall Man is such a bad ass, I loved this movie growing up and I still love it now at age 33, Phantasm will forever be a horror... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jay W
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Anchor Bay release any better than the previous MGM version?
I am also trying to sort this out!
Dec 3, 2012 by Carlos L. Colon |  See all 2 posts
Release Info for Blu Ray?
I'd love to see a "complete series" set on Blu... Better even, if it was a combo pack (wouldn't mind the movies themselves being on a bare double-sided DVD for the "combo" part of it; though, on the Blu-rays I'd probably want any/all special features, retrospectives,...
Oct 1, 2012 by Michael Gmirkin |  See all 4 posts
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