One of horror’s most original, enduring and beloved franchises is returning to theaters in a very big way. Phantasm: Ravager, the fifth and final installment of the surreal horror series, brings Reggie, Mike, Jody, The Tall Man and those brain-sucking spheres back for one last battle for the future of mankind. In addition, a new presentation of the original classic film, entitled, Phantasm: Remastered will also hit theaters. This is tremendous new for phans everywhere.
First up, on Sept. 24th, as part of the inaugural Art House Theater Day, which celebrates these theaters’ cultural role in the community, Phantasm: Remastered will be released in a newly restored 4K print. Supervised by Phantasm creator himself, Don Coscarelli, this will showcase the film like never before. This all came about thanks to J.J. Abrams, who has long been a huge phan of the film. So much so, that he cast Angus Scrimm, aka, The Tall Man, in a recurring role on Alias, and last year, he named Gwendolyne Christie’s character in Star Wars: A Force Awakens, Captain Phasma, as an homage. Abrams wanted to show a copy of Phantasm at his Bad Robot company, but was told the prints were in pretty bad shape. So he offered up his production house to spruce up the film, with Coscarelli overseeing the process. The result is a brand-new restoration from the original negative, along with an all-new 5.1 audio mix. This “new” Phantasm blew audiences away earlier this year at Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, as part of the SXSW Film Festival. Now, audiences everywhere will get the chance to see The Tall Man’s silver balls shinier than ever! To prepare you for this stunning new transfer, go check out the trailer:
As exciting as that news is, it can’t compare with that of getting an all-new, original Phantasm film. Produced by Don Coscarelli, who co-wrote with associate, David Hartman, who directed the new film, the first not piloted by Coscarelli himself, Phantasm: Ravager reunites Reggie Bannister as the shotgun-toting, ex-ice cream man, Reggie, A. Michael Baldwin as Mike, the kid (now grown up) besieged by nightmares both real and imagined), his brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury) and the very scary Tall Man played by the late, great Angus Scrimm. Even Kathy Lester returns as the Lady in Lavender. Also back are those pesky dwarves and the lethal, skull-drilling silver spheres that patrol the mausoleum. The new film adds some new characters as well, and promises to tie up loose ends and give answers to questions phans have been pondering over the last few installments. It’s being described as “a truly epic finale, a multi-dimensional battle across multiple timelines, alien planets, and altered realities, where no less than the fate of Earth is on the line.” That sounds awesome.
The film not only marks the swan song for the series, it also, sadly, will be the last screen appearance of legendary actor, Angus Scrimm, who died in January of this year. (see R.I.P. Angus Scrimm, Phantasm’s Tall Man) Angus, completely unlike his terrifying Tall Man character, was one of the nicest guys around, and it will be bittersweet seeing him in his final role. And though he appeared in many films and television shows, he will always be best remembered for playing the iconic and enigmatic undertaker whose utterance of the word, “Boyyyyyy!!!” has sent chills down the spines of audiences for decades.
Phantasm has always been one of horror’s most unique and unusual series – it is completely unlike any other, blending terror, with its terrifying Tall Man and his minions, gore, with its bloody, brain-drilling balls and sci-fi, with its inter-dimensional other worlds. There’s even been a touch of humor prevalent throughout the films. It all has a surreal quality to it – a nightmare come to life that you cannot wake from. It is, however, a dream come true for phans of the long-running series to see Reggie Bannister, “the hardest working man in horror,” and the rest battle the malevolent Tall Man once again. Here’s the newest mind-bending, blood-curdling trailer:
Phantasm: Ravager will have its world premiere on September 25th at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas (man, Austin has all the luck), and Coscarelli, Hartman, Bannister and the rest of the cast are to be in attendance. Following that, Ravager will be released On Demand and Digital HD on October 4th and in select theaters on October 7th, via distributor, Well Go USA Entertainment. And just announced, the film will also be available on Blu-ray on Dec. 6th, hopefully with plenty of cool extras. After the last two Phantasm films were released direct-to-video, it will be a real thrill to see the final Phantasm on the big screen, but it’s great that the movie will be available in a variety of formats also.
Phantasm: Remastered can be seen in cinemas on Art House Theater Day on September 24th. You can get a list of those theaters on the Phantasm Facebook page. And in many of those theaters, a live Q&A with the filmmakers and cast will be shown as well. This is something no true Phans will want to miss. Check out the official Phantasm website for news and information on both Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm: Ravager. Also, follow Phantasm: Ravager on Facebook for all the latest updates. Boyyyy!!, it sure is an exciting time for Phantasm phans!