50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The long and outrageous wait is over and we FINALLY have PHANTASM II on DVD in region one. Universal knew that fans were in a frenzy to get this one and they also knew they didn't have to bother doing anything more than a bare bones release. Fans would buy whatever version they decided to throw our way and they did the LEAST amount of work on this they could get by with. What we got was a good looking anamorphic print of the film and an unimpressive STEREO soundtrack. Thats right, only 2 channel sound (even though the other films in this series all got new Dolby 5.1 remixes Universal knew they didn't have to bother). There are NO EXTRAS on this disc (other than one faded and dirty copy of the trailer). No cool animated menus, no commentary track, deleted scenes, making of features, retrospective documentary, cast interviews, NOTHING. All of this material is available and is on the worldwide releases of this film but the North American market gets ripped off by Universal. It would be so nice if they would allow Anchor Bay to do a decent release of this remarkable film but sadly it looks like that will never be a reality for the region 1 poplulation. Still...we do at least now have the film on DVD and the anamorphic transfer looks far better than my old pan and scan VHS copy. Even my laserdisc copy was pan and scan so this is a nice improvment. I sort of like the new cover art for this release as well although Unviersal even went super cheap on the flimsy, light weight keepcase this came in. They really should be ashamed of themselves for holding the film hostage all these years and then giving us such a no frills version when they finally decided to release it. Its a great film and an impressive follow up to the original film and it deserved so much better than this.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This second Phantasm begins where the first film, PHANTASM (1979), left off and takes you seven years later. In real time it was nine years before they finally made this sequel. That is why everyone looks more mature. James Le Gros takes over as "Michael" for this film only. But A. Michael Baldwin can be seen in flashbacks. Reggie Bannister and the Tall Man Angus Scrimm are back and so are those deadly silver spheres. I'll keep the plot a surprise for you, but this sequel is more big-budget. They go all out for this one and is very enjoyable if you like suspense, horror and more gore.
Funny sex scene.
If James Le Gros looks familiar, twelve years later after this film, he had a regular role in the tv series "Ally McBeal" in 2000-2001.
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead(1994).
Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998).
Update: January 2015. Phantasm: Ravager is in development with director David Hartman and co-producer Gigi Fast Elk Bannister.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
I wonder why they decided to release PHANTASM II on blu-ray / DVD before the first movie PHANTASM?
Let's hope we can get the rest of this series with GREAT PICTURE QUALITY on Blu-ray soon...PLEASE!!!!
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
When I was younger I saw Phantasm one night on T.V. when I was flipping channels. You know, one of those nights when it's late, it's the weekend, you feel good, and you're all alone and all you want is to see a movie that makes an impact on your life somehow. Phantasm IS one of those movies. It is, to me, the impidimy of what a horror movie should be. Graveyards, darkness, fog, monsters, evil powers, zombies that are actually scary, and a sweet 1971 Hemi-Cuda. The "ball" is the most revolutionary idea to come to horror movies. I was so excited after seeieng it I went to the video store and to my sheer pleasure, there was part 1,2, and 3. Each one takes up from where the last one ended. I absolutely LOVE the Phantasm series more than any other series.
I feel as if the series was taylor made for me. It touches a primal fear in me that is both scary and exhilerating. The Tall Man is so cool !! The flying ball(s) and the sound they make is Phantastic !!
I couldn't care less who owns the copywrite to the series. Yes, I adore Mike and would've loved to see him in part 2, but, dammit, I want the BOX SET !!!!!!!! I know I speak for other fans.
Quite simply, the Phantasm series holds a very special place in my heart. It is what movie making should be.
Don, if you are reading this, thank you so much for bringing joy into my life. I'm sure you aware by now that you have quite a cult following !!
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2005
Don Coscarelli demonstrated his talent in first "Phantasm" and now he was granted a bigger budget by Universal Pictures. And extra money appeared to be quite useful. We got the same grim and atmosperic movie but with better special effects and more advanced technically. Money allowed to build beautiful and extended interiors, make the picture spellbinding, increase the number of killing spheres and expand the cast - therefore we got to see wonderful actors here like James LeGros as Mike and Kenneth Tigar as a charismatic priest.
And although "Phantasm II" has a bigger calibre than the previous one it is still very atmospheric and claustrophobic. If the first was more of a little mystic film, the second grew up to be an action horror road-movie. And it served him good. As Don Coscarelli mentioned in his commentary track, you may like this film or not, but you will not deny the fact it's a film of great imagery. It is picturesque indeed. There are plenty scenes you can get pleasure watching, even if you had watched them separately, not in chronological order, not knowing the plot. "Phantasm II" is just beautiful. And it's not that slowly-paced as other "Phantasm" series, it's much more active and intense.
This film of great imagination is one of my all-time favourites. I just bought the British 5-disc sphere edition. Guess soon it'll be released in America too.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2009
I have been a huge PHANTASM fan ever since I saw the original in the theater back in '79. I loved it so much, that frankly it took me awhile to get around to seeing this first sequel, released about 9 years later. I guess I've had a lot of disappointment with sequels over the years. When I finally did see it on VHS maybe a year or two after its release, I was a bit let down. They had a different actor playing Mike, and the overall feeling just wasn't the same.
That being said, I've come to appreciate this film more and more with each viewing. Sure, it's got a different feel to it. At times it plays more like a full-bore action movie. But the way it unfolds is essential to the storyline of the entire series, and does a great job setting up the two subsequent sequels. For me at least, after repeated viewings, it became increasingly evident that it really is an absolutely perfect sequel to the first film. I even came to truly enjoy and appreciate James LeGros' portrayal of Mike. Reggie Bannister is great, as he is in everything he does. And I don't need to say anymore than has already been said at length over the years about Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man. Pure sinister evil.
When my VHS copy finally wore out, I had to content myself with a VHS television copy (probably even edited - I don't remember). Then one day a couple of years ago, I found out about the Anchor Bay Region 2 Silver Sphere edition with all four films on DVD, and I jumped on that, even though I had numbers 1, 3, and 4 already on Region 1.
Needless to say, I will pre-order this as soon as I finish writing this review (I'm shocked I didn't pre-order it first). If ONLY there would someday be a PHANTASM V, but that possibility becomes more remote with each year that passes. I just hope that Hollywood doesn't decide to remake or "re-envision" the first film or the series. Not a good idea.
If you love PHANTASM, buy this DVD. It's what U.S. Phantasm fans have been waiting for, for a long, long time...
One last thing - Phantasm II has the best re-working of the incredible original Phantasm theme music I have ever heard play during the end credits. It was so awesome, they used what sounds like the exact same arrangement again at the end of Phantasm III.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This had the potential to be one of the truly great horror sequels of the 80's. In a decade of Halloween inspired "slasher flicks" the Phantasm franchise had a golden opportunity to show its' originality. However such is not the case... well not quite. Phantasm 2 did return to the screen the vision of a true auteur of the genre Don Coscarelli, but his vision is badly flawed this time around.This, I'm sure, is due in no small part to his affiliation with the studios. His ground breaking original was done independently and so he had the final say on the production. Unfortunately Universal forced him to explain every nuance of the film so you always know whether it's a "dream" sequence or not, and for those not sure that's a bad thing. Infact that was the key to the originals genius. Not that it realy matters this movie still lacks coherence. On top of that is the fact Coscarelli does very little to continue the story, unless you consider a few more apparatuses for the flying spheres to slice and dice with a continuation. He does have his endeavors, though they tend not to please. One such example is the inclusion of Liz and Alchemy. They have no real purpose in the film besides serving as faces to talk to and,concerning Alchemy, Reggies labido. The movie does benefit from beautiful photography, creative direction, and fine acting from the likes of Reggie Bannister and of course Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man. Also Phantasm 2, along with Halloween 2, features amazing continuity in it's opening sequence, with the original Phantasm scenes interjected seamlessly. Even title music is a slight improvement over the original. Despite these developments Phantasm 2 is still lacking. Coscarelli shows us more, and with less cash, in Phantasm 3: Lord of the Dead. In the beggining of that film the director shows the Tall Man stepping through the dimensional forks to dicard of his own body! He also rudely kills off Liz showing she has no place of importence in the Phantasm saga. Phantasm 2 does utilize it's bigger budget (you can't realy call 2 million dollars immense though) to fill the screen with an aray of dazzling efects, unique props, and well staged stunts. To bad they forgot about the story.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Phantasm II (1988)
Phantasm II is the sequel to the 1979 horror classic,Phantasm. If you ask me,it's just as good as Phantasm,if not better.
The story is simple.Michael Pearson (James LeGros) talks his doctors into freeing him from a mental hospital.Michael has been in a mental hospital for quite some time,due to his crazy story about the events from Phantasm (the hooded midget monks, flying spheres,etc).Michael convinces them that those were just leftover nightmares.
The doctors foolishly believe Michael and let hime free.He contacts his long-time friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) into stopping the sinister mortician known as "The Tall Man" (Angus Scrimm)."The Tall Man" is a very tall mortician who is strong enough to lift up a casket and multiple people.He targets a beautiful young girl named Liz (Paula Irvine),who Michael & Reggie intend to rescue then destroy "The Tall Man".
This time their not un-prepared.Michael & Reggie break into an abandoned hardware store and take some powerful weapons in the process.Makeshift flamethrowers,quadrulple-barreled shotguns, chainsaws,power drills,and various other weapons are used as Michael & Reggie hunt down "The Tall Man".
The special effects are excellent (the finale is very cool), the story great,the acting wonderful (Angus Scrimm is brilliant as "The Tall Man"),and the film a thrill ride from start to finish.Phantasm II is in my opinion the best of the entire Phantasm series.I would highly suggest you buy it now.It's one of the most entertaining,engrossing,scariest movies your bound to see.An underrated classic (besides it's predecessor).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Many people were first introduced to the tall man by this film. This ran pretty regularly on television back in the late 80's into the early 90's. This may not be your favorite of the Phantasm's. I prefer the original...but that being said this has so many extras in it that it is hard to not prefer it until they do the original on blu ray. The first film was more mystery sci fi and this is a much more direct action horror film. The extras include 47 minutes of Don, Angus, Reggie and most folks in the film. It also has commentary from those first three on this. It also has a 17 minute special called gory days just dealing with the gore effects. To top it all off the tall man included a film from his collection where he plays Abraham Lincoln. The only person missing from the extras seems to be Michael's replacement James LeGros. Whether he refused or was not asked to do anything with the extras I don't know. Michael Baldwin of course is in all the other films and James got this role mainly because he was a bigger name and Michael didn't act really after the first film so the studio said they had to have a working actor.
The film itself is of good quality. I don't think they could really get the print to look much better. It does have some artifacts and things with the black levels but that is minor nit picking at what so far is the best looking of all four films due to the blu ray release.
The sound is in 5.1 but you won't notice too much use of the back speakers. The spheres do fly left to right or vice versa in the speakers but weren't as pronounced as I expected. Still the sound was very adequate and I had no issues with it.
Overall this is a great addition to a horror collection. Shout Factory puts every bit of effort doing these films. They take these things seriously and you can spend days going over the extras and listening to them all.
If you like any of the films then you will appreciate the upgrade of this one and pray that shout factory gets the others to upgrade them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The second and possibly best entry in the franchise, PHANTASM II is one of those rare sequels that is even better than the original. These films are unique in the horror genre, groundbreaking achievements in storytelling compared to it's competition from the time they were made through the present day. The film plays out like an unsettling dream, haunting and compelling at the same time. Predating the CGI FX of modern film making, everything you see was done in the real world, and they still look amazing and believable.
I have always been of the opinion that not enough films have good cemetery scenes, and on that note, this is hands down the best cemetery film I've ever seen. Most of the film takes place in a cemetery and mausoleum to truly creepy effect. Don Coscarelli's script makes bold leaps to bring us disturbing ideas and images without feeling the need to explain much of anything. And yet, it has a smooth flow that leaves you with a very entertaining viewing experience that leaves you wanting more. Luckily, there are two more entries in this series.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the film is in masterful inclusion of flashbacks to the first film, expanding on the storyline from the end of the original and tweaking the details to set up this sequel. You can totally watch this film without ever seeing the first, but I recommend watching them all. If you like horror films with more than the typical killer in a mask storyline, you owe it to yourself to check out these films.
The DVD is sadly lacking in special features. Parts I, III, and IV all have commentary tracks, behind the scenes features, and other little extras. As my favorite film in the series, I would love to hear from the actors and writer/director about all the experiences they had in creating and filming this movie. Alas, the special features of this DVD are like a small town already pillaged by the Tall Man. Empty.