Friday, July 1, 2011

Tribute: The Phantasm series


 I know I've been going super hard on the posts here lately. I got a lot of time on my hands what can I say. Anyway, I wanted to take the time (and waste all of yours) on paying tribute to, in my mind, one of the most underrated series, if not the MOST underrated series of horror movies to ever be made. Everyone knows about Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th. Everyone also knows Child's Play (Chucky series assholes) and obviously Scream and Saw. But how many people have ever heard of, much less seen the Phantasm series? I can probably count that number of people I know at least on one hand. That's a fucking crying shame. This series has more ideas in 20 minutes of film then any of the series I mentioned above through 8 or 9 whole movies.

  Yeah, some people (assholes) won't get these movies. Some people will also say if they watch them the inevitable, "whoever made these movies was on a lot of drugs". Like no one can be fucking creative without copious amounts of mind altering substances. Yet, there is one thing you can not deny about all four of these movies. They are fucking completely original. I dare anyone to watch these movies and then tell me you've seen anything like them before. I will try not to mock you like the little liar you are.

So what makes them so great? Several things. In the interest of time and space restrictions I will briefly break these all down right now.

1. One of the BEST villains in horror movie history: The good guys in the Phantasm series are being terrorized by The Tall Man, played by Angus Scrimm. The Tall Man starts out in the original movie as what appears to be a creepy undertaker that the good guys suspect is up to some sinister shit at the funeral home. Turns out it's a shit load of a lot worse than that. My interpretation is that he is the ruler of another dimension and his mission is to kill the entire human race and enslave them to build his army of feral dwarves, and to trap their souls in his death orbs. More on that later. The Tall Man, like Pinhead from Hellraiser, is a completely developed, evil as fuck character. He's not some mindless brute like Jason or Michael Myers, nor is he some wise cracking jokester like Freddy Kruger. He's evil and he doesn't fuck around with catch phrases. He is just out to straight up murder the world. Not to be fucked with.

2. The premise itself: I sort of alluded to this above, but I will explain the basic idea behind the movies. Basically, these friends from a small town stumble upon the activities of the Tall Man whose mission is to kill every fucking human on Earth. When a person dies, The Tall Man steals their bodies, shrinks and disfigures them, steals their brains, and sets them loose on the next victim. He does this to build his army of the undead to rule time and space. How fucking awesome is that shit?!

3. The Death Orbs: When the Tall Man steals your brain, he traps it into these flying death balls (which kind of look like big Chinese Stress Balls). When these things come after you, they have all manner of sharp objects that slice and dice you. Their primary way to kill you, however, is a three pronged blade thingy (see picture below). When they stab you in the head, a tiny drill comes out of the orb and drills into your skull causing your brains and blood to shoot out. In the interest of better explaining this to the uninitiated, I have provided many pretty pictures.

4. The fact that you can't kill ANY of the Tall Man's zombie people: When the Tall Man takes a human slave, either to dig up graves or whatever, they are like super powerful and you can't fucking kill them no matter how hard you try. I mean they die eventually, but you pretty much have to light them on fire or blow their heads off.

5. The quad-barreled shotgun: Reggie, one of the good guys, builds himself a super shotgun with four barrels of death. He uses this throughout the whole series, and as a result murders dwarf and zombie fuckers on the regular.

6. The endings to each movie: I have written before on these fine pages in regards to the "Carrie" scare, which you may recall was the last scare of a horror movie, usually cheap and ineffective. Phantasm takes this idea, turns it around, and tells it to go fuck itself. For the entire duration of the series, just when there's 2 minutes of downtime, the Tall Man fucks shit up again. It never seems to stop. At the end, just when the good guys think they finally beat him, he comes back for one last attack, usually killing one of their new companions. In fact, every time our good guys meet someone new who isn't a servant of the Tall Man, it's almost like the guy on an old Star Trek episode wearing the red shirt. You just know the guy (or child, or woman) is going to die miserably.

In conclusion: There will be people out there who are going to say I'm retarded for writing this post. They will disagree and tell me I have taste up my ass. These people suck at life. Phantasm as a series is probably the most creative and original series in horror history. The entire series is like a low brow Dali painting. You're not sure what's going on, and it's pretty messy, but you know that it's fucking interesting. I wish that just once I will see another movie or series in my lifetime with this much originality. But no. I have already resigned myself to the fact that all I will see in the next 20 years is rehashed bullshit and remakes. So if Saw is your thing, don't bother with Phantasm. You want something a little different, Netflix has them all. It's a good use of your time.

Fuck that's gotta hurt.

No comments: