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PHANTASM - 1 Slime
Rated R
Copyright 1979 New Breed Productions
Reviewed by KYGOTC on 7 May 2008

The Characters:  

  • Tall Man - Some tall guy that seems to be the ringleader of all the shenanigans that have been going on. He can also change gender at will.
  • BOOOOOOOYYY!!! (Michael) - A kid whose parents are dead; his older brother looks after him.
  • Older brother (Jody) - An older brother.
  • Reggie - Ice cream man and friend of the family.
  • Silver orbs of DOOM - This movie's saving grace.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Before I saw this movie, I had heard nothing but good things about it. Everyone that I asked about it said it was great. Everyone was wrong. Near the beginning of the movie, a kid is spying on a funeral and sees some weird things and mouths quietly, "What the f**k?" That boy's words can pretty much sum up this movie. In fact, I'd be the one saying those words had I not fallen asleep while I was watching it. I've seen this movie twice now, and that's 4 times more than I should have seen it. This movie made about as much sense as that last sentence.

I'm going to make an attempt to explain the plot of "Phantasm." Key words there are "make an attempt." It starts out with these sexually aggravated humans fornicating in a cemetery. After the man thanks his girl for a good time, she stabs him in the chest and transforms into a tall, balding man. The next day, there is a funeral in that same cemetery for the departed man, and it turns out the tall bald guy/woman thing works at the mortuary! Later, that boy that I mentioned earlier sees the tall man pick up the casket all by himself, where as usually it takes about four people to lift it. The kid panics and goes to some psychic old lady and her creepy granddaughter to tell them what happened. After he leaves, the grandma laughs at him, probably because she knows that that kid will never act in another movie again after this piece of trash.

That night, the boy's older brother meets the tall man at a bar, but he's in his sexy lady form, so they decide to go do the nasty. Can you guess where? I'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "cemetery". The Boy follows them to watch his big brother in action. What little brother wouldn't want to see his older brother's junk? While he's hiding in the bushes, a freaky brown cloaked creature growls at him so the boy jumps out of the bushes and runs by his brother and the lady, screaming. As you can imagine, older brother won't be playing "hide the weasel" tonight, so he's less than happy. He chases his brother down and tells him to go home. The boy goes to bed, but soon realizes that his bed is in the middle of the cemetery and a bunch of zombies drag him off of his bed while the Tall Man watches. The next morning, the boy walks around town while enjoying a lollypop. Oh, what's that? You want to know why he's not zombie chow anymore? Good question. I'd like to know myself, actually.

That night, the boy decides to break into the mortuary and snoop around to try and figure out what's going on. While he's in there, he gets attacked by this flying silver orb. It chases him around for a while until it hits one of the Tall Man's henchmen instead. It sticks into his forehead with these small knife things and then drills a hole into him. Then, a hole appears on the back of the orb thing and it starts shooting out all of the guy's head blood. This part is actually pretty cool, but I still have no idea what the thing is or why it's there. After the guy's dead body falls to the ground, the boy turns around only to see the Tall Man about 15 feet away, staring at him. They walk toward each other slowly, as if they were going to hug, then the music gets loud and the boy runs away as the Tall Man chases him. The boy get into a closet with a metal door and locks it, so he thinks he's safe, but he looks to his left and the Tall Man's fingers are stuck in the door. The boy decides to chop them off. At this point, mustard sprays out of the Tall Man's finger-stumps. The kid is safe, until a freaky hooded-creature attacks him! He escapes thru a window and runs home.

What just happened was the climax of the movie. All the most interesting things happened right there. Whoever wrote this movie must've thought it would be cool or revolutionary to put the best part of the movie at the halfway point. So just letting you know, it's all downhill from here, not that it was very far up any hill to begin with.

The boy goes home and tells his brother what happened, and he doesn't believe him until he is shown a severed finger in a box with mustard all over it. He responds to this by saying in the calmest voice ever, "Ok. I believe you." Later, they decide to go show this to the police. The boy goes to his room to get the box with the finger in it, but he notices something different about it. He opens it up, and there's not a severed finger in it anymore, but instead a little bug thing that flies around and sounds like a dying lawnmower. They catch the thing and throw it in the garbage disposal. With their evidence now gone, the brothers decide to go check out the mortuary. While they're there they get attacked by another short hooded thing. Seriously, George Lucas should sue and use the money to make better Star Wars prequels. The thing looks like it should be selling stolen droids and cruising around the dunes of Tatooine in a sand-crawler. Anyway, they leave the mortuary and get in their car only to be chased by another car which appears to be driverless. The older brother shoots the car's engine and it crashes into a tree. They go to take a look and it turns out there was indeed a driver, and the driver was the guy who got stabbed by the Tall Man/lady in the beginning of the movie!

After a few more hooded-creature attacks, the brothers and their friend Reggie go to the mortuary one last time to put a stop to all of the freaky stuff that's been going on. They open a door that leads to a room that has a bunch of hydrogen tanks in it, and there's also two poles sticking out of the floor. While the two older guys are looking around, the boy goes in between the two poles and slips into another dimension. This place is a desert planet with a bunch of the short, hooded-creatures on it. It's bad enough that the things look like Jawas, but the fact that they live in the same environment makes it even more laughable. Anyway, the kid is in this place for all of three seconds until his brother pulls him out of it. They ask him what he saw, and instead of saying, "Well I was only in there for three seconds, I didn't see much." He says, "They're using the dwarves as slaves and they have to make them shorter because of the gravity on their home planet!" to which his brother responds "Of course!" When that happened, I busted up laughing. Anyway, Reggie puts his hands on the two poles and the whole mortuary starts collapsing on itself. The two brothers escape, but Reggie gets killed by the Tall Man in his foxy lady form. Then it's cat and mouse for a while with the Tall Man and the brothers until they lead him to a mine shaft and make him fall in it.

Now I'm thinking, "Hooray. Movie over." But as it turns out, that's not the case. The boy wakes up and goes downstairs to tell Reggie all about it. It was all a stupid dream. In reality, the boy's brother has been dead for a while because of a car crash and Reggie looks after the boy now. There was never any Tall Man, silver orbs of doom, or blatant Star Wars rip-offs. It was all a dream. Ok, that's simple enough. It's stupid and predictable, but simple. So the boy goes back up to his room and gets attacked by the Tall Man. The end.

I don't even want to make any sense out of this crappy movie. Plot holes, bad writing, and bad acting is all this movie provided. All that and a headache. So don't be fooled by its' trailer that makes it look awesome like I did. Just pretend it doesn't exist, and maybe it will go away.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Movies don't need plots.
  • Cars explode when they run into wooden things.
  • George Lucas has never seen Phantasm.

Quotes: 

  • *BONK*
    Jody: "Ahhhh! You hit my f***ing foot, man!"
    Michael: "Oh, damn. Look, I know you're not going to believe this, but these things were here, right in the garage, and they're going to get me!"
    Jody: "Give me a break, would ya?"
    Michael: "They were jumping on the car, and making these weird sounds."
    Jody: "Sure it wasn't that retard kid Timmy up the street?"
  • Michael: "That tall man picked up Tommy's coffin all by himself, and put it in the hearse and drove off."
    Jody: "You're crazy! I helped carry that sucker myself. It must've weighed over five hundred pounds."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note phantasm1.wav Killer Jawa ROAR!
Michael: "Ahhhhhhhh!"
Jody: "What the heck? Wait here, it's my little brother. I think he has some kind of a problem." (Said with panties hanging from his teeth.)
Green Music Note phantasm2.wav Michael: "Okay, look, I was following you guys. I didn't mean any harm, but it's out there! It's going to get me!"
Jody: "What's out there?"
Michael: "I don't know. It was little and brown, and low to the ground."
Jody: "It's probably just a gopher in heat."
Michael: "It wasn't any gopher!"
Green Music Note phantasm3.wav Tall Man: "I've been waiting for you."
Green Music Note phantasm4.wav Michael: "What are we going to do without Reggie?"
Jody: "Reggie's the last he will ever get; 'cause we're gonna run that tall bastard straight down to Hell."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage


ImageImageImage


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipphantasm1.mpg - 4.8m
Killer jawa!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 8
Re: Phantasm
Reply #9. Posted on May 09, 2008, 01:16:20 AM by Gravlax
I recall trying to watch this when it was shown on TV when I was a teenager in the 80s.   I mostly found it confusing and boring.  I fell asleep too!  I never saw enough of it to grasp what was supposed to be going on, except that it had to do with a tall creepy guy in a mortuary and something about another dimension.

I remember the commercials with the flying silver orbs, and I remember hearing how great it supposedly was, but I could never see what all the fuss was about.
Re: Phantasm
Reply #10. Posted on May 09, 2008, 11:39:13 AM by Hoomi
I saw this movie years ago when it was in the theaters.  The girl I was going out with liked scary movies, and the ad for this one said, "If this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead."

Yeah.

My first thought in the opening scene, when the girl stabs the guy after sex, was, "Substantial penalties for early withdrawal."  The movie wasn't scary at all, and would have been far better given the MST3K treatment.

It didn't make any better sense on the big screen, and to be honest, I kept wondering if I'd missed some important detail that would have melded it all together.  Your review pretty much mirrored my feelings from about 1979, and I've never bothered to watch it again to see if it gets better on the repeats.
Re: Phantasm
Reply #11. Posted on May 09, 2008, 11:45:33 AM by Hoomi
Oh; one other thing I did find entertaining in the movie.  The flying orb blood spurt caused me to bust up laughing in the theater, because it looked just like the blood spurting from the severed limbs of the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".  The only thing missing was the victim saying, "It's just a flesh wound.  I've been 'urt worse."

Re: Phantasm
Reply #12. Posted on May 09, 2008, 09:23:51 PM by Jay the Magnificent
about time somebody give an honest review of this crappy movie. the only explanation for the many "its great!" lines is mass psychosis
Re: Phantasm
Reply #13. Posted on May 09, 2008, 10:16:16 PM by Mr_Vindictive
KYGOTC and I have talked about Phantasm numerous times in the past.

Personally, it's a favorite of mine.  That being said, it obviously is not a film for everyone.  Hell, I despised it with a passion the first time I saw it.  Further viewings have opened numerous layers within the film for me, and it holds a special spot for me.
Re: Phantasm
Reply #14. Posted on May 09, 2008, 11:27:38 PM by Jordan
Yikes! Funny how some people get worked up when you don't like something that they do, especially movies. I've gotten into arguments with people numerous times because I said a few negative things about a film they enjoyed. The only time I become enraged is when someone says they don't like "Slither." I promptly jam my ovipositor down their throat and lay hundreds of eggs in their belly.  Wink

"Phantasm" is definitely not for all tastes. The first one is actually my least favorite (next to "OblIVion") but I respect it, own two copies of it (the MGM and Anchor Bay releases repspectively), and I've seen it quite a few times. It moves a bit too slowly, (ok, yeah I admit it, this flick drags in spots) but dang it, Coscarelli really knows how to build up a creepy, dreamlike atmosphere. Parts II and III were awesome in my opinion!
Re: Phantasm
Reply #15. Posted on May 10, 2008, 04:20:07 AM by J.D.
Dude why do you come here if you don't like bad movies?    Question    They're fun to watch!  I first watched this one about 10 years ago because if I was going to watch a Phantasm movie I was going to start with the first. I never did understand all of it.I think the II and III were most likely the best. This one was just plain cheese. Not the good cheesy 80s cheese! Though I have an idea to run by everyone!    BounceGiggle   
Re: Phantasm
Reply #16. Posted on May 11, 2008, 12:05:29 AM by Talisman
This sounds familiar...is there a scene where large claws erupt out of mud puddles and try to grab Our Heroes? If so, I remember seeing it...well, scenes from it, anyway. The bug that got garbage-disposed creeped me out. Freaky.
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