In 1979, writer/director Don Coscarelli released a tiny budgeted horror film called PHANTASM. Little did he, or anyone else involved, realize they would have a worldwide horror phenomenon on their hands. Thirty eight years and five films later, we’ve come to the end of the road. Earlier this year, WellGo USA released a fantastic Blu-Ray collection of all five films and now, the DVD collection has stepped out of the shadows for those who haven’t upgraded to Blu or isn’t willing to shell out a gigantic sum of money. That set originally sold for $70 but it sold out so quick, you’ll be lucky to find one for under $200. This DVD set was released on September 12 and will only set you back somewhere between $18 and $22.
As far as the films go, they’re all considered classics in my book. PHANTASM: REMASTERED is a near perfect classic. There are so many iconic moments that it should be in everyone’s top ten list of all-time horror greats. PHANTASM II is just a wild and crazy ride, just as much of a classic as the original. The only issue I ever had with the first sequel was the fact A. Michael Baldwin didn’t return to the franchise. James Le Gross took over the role of Mike in this film and he was terrific but he just wasn’t Baldwin. PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD is quite fun but at times, the child sidekick can be a bit much. PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION might be the most inventive of the series. The way Coscarelli weaves in the unused footage from the original film into the narrative of this one is insane and brilliant all at once. PHANTASM V: RAVAGER was met with very mixed reviews. It does have several issues but for what it is, it delivers exactly what it needs to. The audience gets to spend time with some old friends (and devilish foe) for 90min and that’s all most of us really wanted. The CGI in the film can be tough to handle at times but everything else tends to make up for it.
As fans, the main attraction for these films is the cast. Reggie Bannister and A. Michael Baldwin are such a terrific team. If I had to pick a team to help me save the world, those two would be standing by my side. These films would be nothing without the presence of the legendary Angus Scrimm. He’s the face of the series, the one you fear, the Tall Man is as iconic as other horror legends like Dracula, Frankenstein, or Freddy Krueger. Angus was a brilliant actor and his portrayal of the Tall Man was always a cut above everyone else. His walk, his scowl, his voice, all have haunted me since I was a child. These collections will immortalize him forever and his face is clearly displayed on the cover.
As far as supplements go, the Blu-Ray set has so much more but the DVD collection doesn’t skimp on the extras:
(Standard Definition (1.78:1)/Dolby Digital Audio 5.1, Mono and Stereo / 1978 / Color / R /90 minutes)
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli, Michael Baldwin (Mike), Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man), and Bill Thornbury (Jody)
Graveyard Carz Episode
Interviews from 1979 with DOn Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm
PHANTASM II: THE BALL IS BACK
(Standard Definition (1.85:1)/Dolby Digital Audio 5.1 and Stereo / 1988 / Color / R / 95 minutes)
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Stars Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister
The Ball is Back: The Making of PHANTASM II
TV Spots and Trailers
PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD
(Standard Definition (1.78:1)/Dolby Digital Audio 5.1 / 1993 / Color / R / 91 minutes)
Audio Commentary with Director Don Coscarelli and Editor Norman Buckley
Balls of Steel: Bob Ivy’s Stunt for the Ages
PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION
(Standard Definition (1.78:1)/Dolby Digital Audio 5.1 / 1998 / Color / R / 90 minutes)
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Stars Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm
Behind the Scenes
PHANTASM V: RAVAGER
(Standard Definition (1.78:1)/Dolby Digital Audio 5.1 / 2016 / Color / NR / 86 minutes)
Audio Commentary with Director David Hartman and Writer/Producer Don Coscarelli
Behind the Scenes
Phantasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
The PHANTASM DVD Collection is available now.