For the release of PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD and PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION as stand-alone films, I revisted both for only my second time ever (I know, I know, I’m new to the whole Phantasm series, leave me alone).

PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD

Out of the entire franchise, PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD was where the series started to pick up for me and is the subsequent return of A. Michael Baldwin who we see as a full-grown adult.

The film heavily focuses on Reggie while also showing the increasing hold that The Tall Man has over Mike. For whatever reason, this film spoke to me the most, and I appreciated the lengths they went in regards to practical effects and the use of yellow blood.

We also have the surprise return of Jody, who has been encapsulated within one of The Tall Man’s spheres and is trying to guide Mike and Reggie away from harm. We are also introduced to Tim, a young boy who becomes somewhat of a sidekick to Reggie and helps him out when danger draws near.

I don’t know why this film worked so much for me but it did. I felt like I had a better understanding of the films at this point and I loved the addition of Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry), a strong female character who had no problem kicking ass and standing her ground in a room full of men. I was also intrigued with how prominent the spheres were in this film, not only as deadly weapons, but also as a means of communication. There was also a strong reminiscent of the zombies from Evil Dead which I appreciated. Overall, I would say PHANTASM III was my favorite film out of the entire series.

If you want to dive more into this film, this standalone Blu-ray comes with bonus materials that include audio commentary with A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm as well as a “Phantasm III: Behind-the-Scenes” featurette and deleted scenes.

PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION

PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION brings our main characters, Reggie and Mike, on their never-ending quest to destroy the Tall Man. This time, they go through time and space to find out how The Tall Man became who he is.

What I enjoyed so much about this film was that we were finally able to get a bit of backstory about who the Tall Man aka Jebediah Morningside. When we first meet Jebediah, he is a kind, old scientist, which is jarring considering how he has been portrayed up until this point.

A lot of this film had a dream-esque quality to it which I found to be quite fascinating. One of my favorite scenes is when Mike comes face-to-face with the Tall Man on a deserted street in LA. It’s beautifully shot and there is an intense feeling of foreboding upon their encounter. Though a lot of the film had a surreal feel to it, especially surround the Tall Man’s story, it was a nice departure from the narrative focal point of Reggie and Mike.

Like I mentioned above for Phantasm III, you can dive into the special features for even more goodies such as an audio commentary with director Don Coscarelli and actors Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm as well as a “Phantasm IV: Behind-the-Secenes” featurette.

Phantasm fans will definitely want to pick up both of these Blu-rays to add to their Phantasm collection when they are released on September 18th from Well Go USA.

Shannon McGrew
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