Customer Reviews: Phantasm II
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on September 15, 2003
Phantasm II (1988). Rated "R". Running Time: One hour, 37 mins.
Directed and written by Don Coscarelli.
Produced by Dac Coscarelli, Robert Del Valle, Roberto A. Quezada.
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.

Filmed in San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, Santa Paula, Valencia, Chatsworth, Hawthorne, Highland Park, Los Angeles, California.

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.

Followed by:
 Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead(1994).
 Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998).

Phantasm V: Ravager will be released October 7, 2016 as a double bill with Phantasm: Remastered (1979).

Angus Scrimm passed away January 9, 2016 at the age of 89. He had finished his scenes as "The Tall Man" for Phantasm V: Ravager (2016).
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on September 23, 2009
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.
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on January 15, 2016
I know the general opinion of Phantasm II isn't that great, but I've always enjoyed this sequel. It's nowhere near as weirdly dreamy as the first film, and sure they replaced the actor playing Mike, but this is still a great entry in the series. We get some backstory on the Tall Man, Reggie gets plenty of screen time to deliver one-liners and basically play Ash from Evil Dead, and there's gore all over! Really, what else do you need from a Phantasm film?
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on March 5, 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!!!!
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on March 11, 2015
Phantasm 2 is one of those films that is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the movie is almost equally as great as the Original Phantasm. The production is far better. And lets face it, the effects are way better. On the other hand, Coscerelli had to choose between using A michael Baldwin & Regie Bannister in the film. Universal Studios wouldn't let him do his usual surrealistic style in this one. And The Studio Crimped his style.
But overall the movie isn't bad. It's an enjoyable watch. And Shout!/Scream! Factory did a great job of the transfer. And the extras were great!
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on March 28, 2013
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.
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on April 11, 2016
While thinking what my favorite 80's horror movies are, the Phantasm series completely slipped my mind! I forgot all about being a kid in the late 80's and being scared watching a metal ball fly through the air with sharp blades attached to it, and carving up people's foreheads. Angus Scrimm, the talented man who plays the evil Tall Man, also supports several midgets in his sick game of being fascinated with... whatever it is he's trying to accomplish. I probably should have watched the first Phantasm before seeing this one because I get the strong sense I missed some crucial storyline segments that would have explained the midgets, the Tall Man himself and the metal ball. Despite not knowing for sure what's going on, Phantasm II delivers on a really good horror film. I'd like to know if Stephen King wrote this story because it has that familiar/unusual feel to it.

Anyway the story is about two men who make it their mission to search for the Tall Man after he invades the home of one of them. Oddly I can't figure out who the actors are in this film so I can't mention them by name to make my review more readable. Sorry. The scene in the beginning gives me chills. It's when the midgets and the Tall Man invade the man's home, and basically try to take him away. However he fights them off while sneaking around and hiding throughout his home. You can tell this is an 80's movie because there's just that array of weirdness to it that I can't explain. It's like Phantasm isn't quite an older movie with faded picture quality, but it's not loaded with top notch cinematography either. That's what makes the 80's so special- the way the way horror films *look* is a major charm.

While I'm never quite sure what the story is about other than heading to the desert mountains in search of the Tall Man and finding empty graves realizing that the Tall Man has passed through (again, had to see the first Phantasm to what the Tall Man's agenda is) there's a lot to love about this movie anyway. The acting isn't as cheesy as you'd expect, while the storyline is interesting it's probably hardly ever chilling due to the cheese factor being apparent (and also due to the writing never relying on atmosphere- small problem there) and this Tall Man's presence is always exciting because you just KNOW he's up to no good, but for a while you can't figure out why (and because I haven't watched the first movie is several decades, that movie probably explains why). And yeah, that metal ball that flies down hallways and attacks people is just so creepy because even when the actors try to run into different rooms, that metal ball with is carving intentions has the ability to drill through doors and continue the chase! Really creepy and Stephen King-like.

This is a slight spoiler, but when the metal ball attacks the wrong person and drills itself through this man's body, I'm not sure how the man and woman running around avoiding it could be so confident that the metal ball wasn't going to pop out of the man's ripped apart body and continue the chase! I would have kept running seriously. They were too confident it was over at that point. And I LOVE the ending! I won't spoil what happens but it's pretty creepy and a fitting way to end the movie. Overall this is one horror movie that might leave some people thinking it's a comedy, but actually it's a pretty good horror film in its own right. It's just a different style of horror writing than we're accustomed to.
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on November 2, 2013
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.
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on April 29, 2014
Most of the time with movies of this genre, the sequels tend to be rather poor. This sequel I almost liked better than the original movie. True, we are not dealing with major plot lines, but we do have the tall man and his flying orbs and this movie explains a bit more about the tall man. This is a good movie for those Friday nights you want to stay in and watch something creepy. I gave it 4 stars as I got the DVD version and the quality left something to be desired.
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on July 9, 2013
Don Coscarelli started this series ( 1of 4) with a few main characters that live the horrors of a "tall man" (Angus Grimm) that takes the dead once they're buried. Mike (some years later) is in psychiatry treatment since no one believes his story about the "Tall Man" . He learns how to be released from care so he can go home and continue his search for the formidable "Tall Man" and to stop him from trying to take over town by town. His friend Reggie (Reggie Banister) is on the outside waiting for him to be released ready to back Mike up.

This is a great horror cult movie that I highly recommend to those that love horror, and great effects.

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