Phantasm movie poster
  • Rated R

Self-conscious and silly horror movie sets loose a Pandora's Box of evils — a blond femme fatale who knifes her lovers in a graveyard, a gangling undertaker who walks in slow-motion, hooded dwarfs skittering around as if on skateboards, a creepy-crawly severed finger oozing yellow blood, batlike creatures with bright-red taillight eyes, and a flying silver sphere that pumps the blood out of human heads. This surrealistic menagerie and the incomprehensible story it takes part in are ultimately explained, as in William Cameron Menzies's Invaders from Mars, as a child's nightmare. (This explanation, lest it be taken as too down-to-earth and dull, is immediately contradicted in a final flash of nonsense which leaves the spectator saying, "Huh?") The music is plagiarized from John Carpenter's Halloween, and the crude jack-in-the-box shock tactics are roughly summed up in the line, "There's this door down here, and I'll bet there's something behind it." Produced, directed, written, photographed, and edited by Don Coscarelli. 1979.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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