Interview: Writer/Director Don Coscarelli

On October 7th, PHANTASM: REMASTERED and PHANTASM V: RAVAGER are getting the theatrical treatment and in anticipation of their release we sat down with director/writer of PHANTASM, Don Coscarelli, to talk about the last installment to a much beloved series. 

Mary C. Russell:  Thanks so much for talking with me today!  The lastest PHANTASM film, RAVAGER is the last in the series, how is it knowing that this is going to be the last one? 

Don Coscarelli: Well, I'll tell yah, in regards to Angus Scrimm, it was very melancholy to say the least.  Towards the end of the film, he didn't know how poorly he was doing illness wise.  We were well finished shoorting and he had just taken a turn for the worst.  For me, I've known the guy for decades and decades and decades.  He was like family.  Back in the day, when the movie first came out, he and I used to travel to publicize it together.  He had a great time.  We went to Australia together and every city in the United States.  This is when he would wear his costume and make-up.  All the theaters would get into this showmanship, they would want Angus to be there premiere night and they would hide him behind the screen.  As the credits would finish a spolight would flash on and some smoke would come out, the curtains would open and there would be the "Tall Man", and some of them would even put an aluminium ball on a string and fling it at the audience.  He loved the fan response to the movie.  The sad part about it, he would have loved to have been here today.  This would have been great.  He's the type of guy that would meet you and remember your name twelve years later. 

MR: Now that the series is over, it's kind of like a sad ending, but the pieces of art you made together were very beautiful.  

DC: Well, thank you for saying that.  He certainly was proud of it.  It's also great that we have this one last performance of him.  I think that they did a really nice job and there are some references to the other films in there.  The nice thing about the new movie (PHANTASM V: RAVAGER) is we don't shy away from the age thing. 

MR: I would think being in the science fiction realm you are free to play around with time travel. 

DC: You know, life is a circle.  We made the first PHANTASM on very modest means with just some committed friends.  We kind of came back around and made part five in the same way. 

MR: I think that's what makes it PHANTASM, that disjoined feeling. 

DC: Things are not where they are supposed to be.  With the kind of movies I make, I can go to these horror conventions and it's a wonderful way to get feedback.  There's pornography, there's horror, and then there is everything else. 

MR: Well thank you so much for speaking with me and I know fans are so excited to see the conclusion of such an integral series within the horror genre.  

PHANTASM: REMASTERED and PHANTASM V: RAVAGER are now available On Demand and Digital HD and in theaters today, October 7th.