Phantasm blu-ray boxset : Phantasm II (1988) (part 2 of 5) (horror/sf Blu-ray film review)

Just so you keep the numbers straight in your head, this is number two not eleven. There were only ever four ‘Phantasm’ films. The follow-up, again written and directed by Don Coscarelli with pretty much the same cast bar one who got older as the first film was filmed 9 years later. It’s a little confusing at first because Alchmey (actress Samantha Philips) has been in a mental hospital for some time. The others, Reggie (actor Reggie Bannister) and Mike (actor James LeGros) are in pursuit of the Tall Man (actor Angus Scrimm), discovering that he’s been emptying cemeteries for some time. Worse than that. There are others in the same profession and, ultimately, it becomes a battle of fire versus balls. These balls are silver and, when thrown, have a nasty habit of opening up and putting a drill through your skull. There is also a bigger reveal that the Tall Man isn’t quite what he seems neither and moves the horror film towards a Science Fiction aspect.

When films turned into series back in the 1980s, the general rule was to have more of the same and the things that were seen as what sold the first film in the first place. ‘Phantasm II’ is no exception to this although this time with a bigger budget as a bigger studio is financing it. If anything, the action is piled on far more here than character scenes.

Again, there are a lot of extras on the disk. The second part of ‘Reflections Of Fear’ at 20 minutes continues the examination of ‘Phantasm’. Director Don Coscarelli explains why he never saw a sequel in the works until Universal came along. The rest is history and special effects as they say.

The ‘Making Of Phantasm’ is a 46 minute featurette with Don Coscarelli and most of the cast. Coscarelli describes the sequel as a road movie.

Greg Nictero explains his special effects in 22 minutes in ‘The Gory Days’. 6 minutes of 7 deleted scenes. 17 minutes of 12 scenes from the original print that were either deleted, alternative or extended. 9 minutes behind the scenes of special effects showing how slow a few seconds of screen time takes. 9 minutes of filming on the set including seeing the house blow up. 10 minutes with Angus Scrimm at the 1989 Fangoria convention demonstrating his lines from the films and how less is more. For the ever more serious fans, the film trailers and three TV spots. Just when you think you have everything, a stills gallery, although these aren’t functioning on the advance disc. More than enough to prove it’s more than a dream, booooy!

GF Willmetts

April 2017

(5 blu-ray disks: pub: Arrow Video. 88 minute film with lots of extras. Price: £69.99 (UK). ASIN: B01MZ9OZQ9)

cast: James Le Gros, Reggie Bannister, Samantha Philips and Angus Scrimm

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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