"Phantasm is an incoherent and often brilliant mess off a movie."
If you like your plots well defined and character development is a must, leave this one on the shelf. However, if you are in the mood for a movie that wildly veers from ridiculous campiness to cheesy gore and back again with visual flair, then by all means give Phantasm a look.Angus Scrimm is unforgettable in the role of "The Tall Man." Since the story is basically a sick and fractured fairy tale, we don't need to know much about this character except that he is an old and mean looking fucker who is very tall and speaks in a slow booming voice. His favorite hobby is contorting his face in a painful expression, pointing his finger and screaming "Boyyyyyyy!"
He doesn't do much more than that, but fortunately he employs some really strange henchmen that keep things interesting.
First off, there are these little bastards that look like rabid 3 foot tall monks and come from a weird portal that is connected to the cemetery where everything takes place. None of this makes a whole lot of sense but it hardly matters because, by the time you realize that the last scene makes about as much sense as RuPaul in a teen beauty pagent, another equally bizarre and puzzling scene is sure to follow.
Then, there are the drill equipped metal balls that have a nasty habit of flying through halls, boring into hapless victims and spraying out impressive jets of blood and/or brains out the back. No explanation is given as to the origin of these spheres from hell but by the time you see them you probably won't care anyway. By that time you will probably either hate Phantasm, and me for recommending it, or you will be in on the joke and enjoy this movie for what it is... whatever it is.
The acting is pedestrian, with the exception of Reggie Bannister as the ice cream man who decides to investigate the strange goings-on at the cemetery and the above-mentioned performance by Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man.
If you are still confused about what the fuck this movie is about after reading this review then you've got the general idea.
Roll the dice on this one. Most people I have talked to either think Phantasm is a convoluted piece of shit or a convoluted masterpiece.Mix one part The Brood, one part Alice in Wonderland, one part Nightmare on Elm Street and two parts drug-induced coma. Stir it the fuck up (making sure to spill half the ingredients) and you might come up with Phantasm. A mind-fuck to be sure. But a damned entertaining one...