The other night, I had the privledge of viewing what is most likely the final installment of Don Coscarelli's PHANTASM series. in most cases, any movie series is going to be falling flat five movies in, but PHANTASM V: RAVAGER does not suffer that fate. What makes this film great is it's not another bunch of dead teens rehashed ad infinitum (for the record, there is nothing wrong with that genre, I'm a huge Jason Voorhees fan), this movie has teeth, and those teeth tore at my heartstrings! It legit had me in tears! What?! There's no crying in horror! Under ordinary circumstances, I would agree with you 100%, but bear with me, let's take a little trip back in time... the year is 1988, fifteen year old me and my friends hit the $2 theatre to see PHANTASM II, we had no idea the first movie even existed, hell, I was 7 when it was released. I knew about STAR WARS, but my parents were't into horror, so I was horror knowledge challenged. PHANTASM II blew me away! The Tall Man, masterfully portrayed by Angus Scrimm, who passed away earlier this year, was scary as hell. Bonus, it had Evil Jawa's! (#starwarsnerd).
In PHANTASM V: RAVAGER, the movie starts out with Reggie (Reggie Bannister), trying to escape Death Valley on foot while collecting his car and we all know that car, the perfect black '71 Hemi Cuda. And there's a girl, there's always a girl, right? The Tall Man is back for a final go, tempting Reggie with life altering bargains, and of course, the sphere's - those silver balls of doom that will drill your brain and turn you into a fountain.
The storyline appears normal at first, but soon you sense something is off, and you're jumping back and forth, like a horror version of PULP FICTION. Don Coscarelli's writing comes to life here and we see he has a true gift, even though the story moves forward and back in time, you don't feel lost; and as it's happening, you start putting two and two together, yet still left guessing, right up to the very end! It's a perfect roller coaster of emotions - the jump scares are in place, the music is perfect and completely evokes the music from the first film thanks to the return of Fred Myrow, the eternal dread of the Tall man, the creepy shrunken monsters, the silver spheres, the gore, cameos of some old favorites...and the tears. You laugh now, but wait until you see it! It's almost like Coscarelli set out to write a normal tearjerker but decided to throw in some gore to lighten the mood.
I seriously cannot find fault with this film, it's just that good, and it's definitely become my favorite movie of 2016. If you're a fan of the franchise, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. If you're new to the franchise, what are you waiting for?
Nikki Von Frankenstitch
PHANTASM V: RAVAGER will be in theaters on October 7th and available On Demand & Digital HD October 4th