Phantasm (1979)

Produced, Written, Directed, Edited and Cinematography by: Don Coscarelli


Michael Baldwin .... Mike Pearson
Bill Thornbury .... Jody Pearson
Reggie Bannister .... Reggie
Angus Scrimm .... The Tall Man

Release Date: Theatrical: March 28, 1979



A 13 year old boy Mike (Michael Baldwin) is badly affected after his parents have died and is scared of losing his oder brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) as well. Mike follows him wherever he goes including to another funeral where Mike experiences a tall man (Angus Scrimm) lifting a heavy coffin on his own with one arm. Mike spies on him entering the funeral home and experiences strange happenings and shrinking people into dwarf like creatures using them as deadly slaves as well as seeing deadly flying spheres. Later on he experiences some terrifying nightmares surrounding the tall man as well as being chased by the creatures. At first his brother doesn't believe him but then he shows him some proof after he cuts off some of the Tall Man's fingers as they later on turn into a deadly insect of some sort. Suddenly Mike and Jody are in a middle of the Tall Man's deadly game when they find out that he is from another world. They get a little help from their local ice cream man Reggie (Reggie Bannister) to try and put a stop to his evil doing's.


There's a good shot on the Tall Man putting his hand on Jody Pearson's arm with a deep voice telling him that the funeral is about to begin.
He shows a good discussion between Jody and Reggie at a funeral home discussing about not allowing Mike to come after the tragedy of his parents.
We have a good shot on Mike Pearson lying on the ground with binoculars and a shot on the Tall Man carrying a coffin by himself in a vehicle.
There's a good shot on Mike running on the side of the street along with Jody riding his bike.
We spot some suspenseful shots on Mike driving his motorbike through a graveyard and him wiping out with a good shot on the Tall Man staring at him evilly.
We spot a real effective scene with two fortune tellers towards Mike as the scene is very dark and still.
There's a nice scene between Reggie and Jody jamming outside on front of a house with their guitars.
Some good shots with Jody making out with a lustful woman near a tombstone along with good shots on Mike staring behind some trees in a forest looking amused.
We have a good dark shot in the woods with a small figure growling and approaching towards Mike as this looked suspenseful and dark along with him freaking out which adds a nice horror touch to the scene.
Perfect camera shots on Mike sleeping and then a shot of him in his bed in the graveyard with the Tall Man looking over him and zombies grabbing at Mike as that scene will truly psych you out.
We spot a good shot on Mike walking on a corner of a street near a town along with another shot on the Tall Man walking by on the other end next to an ice cream truck that Reggie is pulling stuff out and then slowly staring evilly too.
We also have a good shot on a steel ball flying in the air then aiming towards Mike with him running away and one of the people at the mortuary grabbing Mike and the steel ball heading towards them.
A perfect shot on the steel ball drilling this person's head with blood splurting out and good shots on his painful expressions.
Good close up shot on Mike standing in the hall with the Tall Man in the background walking up and spotting him. Then we spot good blocking on the two of them walking towards one another and then Mike makes a run for it in another corridor as there's great shots on him running away with the Tall Man on his tail.
We have a great shot on Mike sleeping on a staircase in his house and then a great shocked reaction on Thornbury's face after what he shows him in a little box of proof and has a great choked response saying he believes him now.
Great shot of a monstrous bug flying out of a box that Mike revealed to his brother Jody along with a shot on the bug on his head as it truly gives you a chill for those of you that hate certain insects.
We also have good moments by Reggie and Jody along with Reggie himself by battling this bug flying around as they try to destroy it.
A terrific energetic discussions with the three of them on how to destroy the Tall Man.
A good shot on Jody carrying Mike upstairs to his bedroom and locking him in with this 13 year old throwing a fit.
Good scene with Mike in a white room seeing two metal bars and then falling in with a good shot on him in another world with a red background and then Reggie pulling him out.
We also spot a good moment with some wind blowing in the white room and Reggie trying to struggle to get out before going through the metal bars.
There's a good chasing scene between Mike and the Tall Man as well as a great close up shot ona lustful woman repeatdly stabbing Reggie in the stomach with her evil smily expressions as well as a great close up shot on him with his wide eyes.
We spot a great shot on a funeral mansion exploding.
There's a great camera shot on both Reggie and Mike by sitting near a fireplace with their discussions with Reggie telling him about his brother being killed and that he will take care of him.
We have a real shocking ending which is terrifically done but I won't give it away leaving a door open for a sequel which is awesome as you wonder what's going to happen next.
Bottom line is at first you may think OK where is this story going? But it's excellent when the story starts rolling. Alot of great special effects here especially with the flying sphere ball which all of us remember who have seen this flick. It remains mysterious with plenty of sci fi elements as well as these little dwarf type characters in hood giving the film a perfect taste and of course those famous steely balls with the blades coming out sucking the blood out of you. It also makes you sympathise for young Mike after losing his parents for being so needy and scared of losing his only family member left which is his older brother.
A cult classic and a film worth watching on Halloween. Watch it with the lights off as it makes the movie even more effective.

The acting is well done and a couple of these actors used their own names in the film too. Of course we get a good charming performance by Michael Baldwin (Mike Pearson) as the paranoid and needy 13 year old in the film who really put alot into his part and had terrific energy too. A good shocked look on his face mouth WTF when he sees on how a coffin is being carried by the Tall Man. Does well when he puts his hand in a box and shouts in pain during a fortune telling scene. Also does well by screaming hysterically and running through a graveyard after hearing something watching him. In a scene when he's facing the Tall Man's character does well turining around to see him not knowing what to say and really looking choked up. He kinda had that Danny Bonaduce type of appeal to him and knew how to freak out and be loud too. However he looked quite a bit older than 13 for his part.
Bill Thornbury
(Jody Pearson) also does a nice job as the older brother in the film with his outgoing attitude and dominant attitude. a great shocked reaction on his face after what he is shown by his onscreen brother. During this scene he does well by persistently stabbing it in a garbage disposer. Had a great clean cut guy next door type of appeal to his role and was on the ball within whatever he did here.
Supporting actor Reggie Bannister (Reggie) is witty with his cheesy dialogues and became famous for his role as the ice cream man. He also performed a song on the film with his character which later on helped him pursue a music career too. He does well by being emotional near the end of his performance after discussing a tragedy towards his fellow actor and saying that he will take care of him. Definetely had a sympathetic behavior and portrays an all round nice guy. Was also clear in his speaking too. Truly, this guy has alot of spunk.
Angus Scrimm
(Tall Man) presents himself very well as the intimidating title character and shows his stuff very well with his growly voice and creepy looks too as well as his walking.
He was powerful in every way especially during nightmare sequences or at the end of the film with his words BOOOOOOY. He for sure made those words stand out for anyone who saw his role in it.

There is nudity from a beautiful blonde in satin clothing when she appears topless making out with two different people during two different scenes.

Blood splurts out of a sphere ball after it stabs a man in the head.
Also, fingers are cut off of the Tall Man.

The music is terrific compsed by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave giving the sounds and music elements excellent taste for the scenes surrounding it. There's of course the keyboarding chiming theme song giving it that fantasy type feel to it as well as some cymbal beating sounds during the beginning of the film and in other parts too which almost has the similar sound to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We also have a hypnotic electric sound too.

Jody: What's out there?
Mike: I don't know. It was little, brown and low to the ground.
Jody: Ahh, it was probably just a gopher in heat.

Mike: I know you're not going to believe this, but these things were here, right in the garage, and they were going to get me!
Jody: Aww, give me a break, would you?
Mike: They were jumping on the car and making these weird sounds!
Jody: You're sure it wasn't that retarded kid, Timmy, up the street?
Mike: No, it was the same thing that chased me last night!

Reggie: Hi guys. Heh heh, just thought I'd come over and see what was going on before the kids got out of summer school. Hey Mike, you want to ride along with me today? It's pretty warm outside and the ice cream's going to be flying fast and furious. Remember how good you were at crowd control last time? Hey, what's going on here?

Reggie: Okay. I see it, I see it all now. What we gotta do is we gotta snag that tall dude and stomp the shit out of him, and we'll find out what the hell is going on up there. Yeah! We lay that sucker out flat and drive a stake right through his Goddamn heart!
Mike: You gotta be shittin' me, man! That mother's STRONG!

Mike: There's this door down here. And I bet there's something behind it.

The Tall Man: You play a good game boy, but the game is finished, now you die.

Mike: First he took mom and dad, then he took Jody, now he's after me.
Reggie: Mike, that tall man of yours did not take Jody away. Jody died in a car wreck.

The Tall Man: [shouts] Boooy!