Phantasm

A grieving boy and his friends investigate a mortician they suspect harvests corpses.
 
 
United States
1979
Feature Film
Realism: 
Supernatural
Insects: 
Fly
Imaginary
Dimensional: 
Nightmare
Unknown
 
 
 
 
5.04
You’ll dig it!
 
8
3.04
5.04
5.04
2
3
3
Photography
Pace
Editing
Phantasm is an ambiguous collection of striking ideas supported by tangible photography but little narrative continuity. Whether this was caused by extreme shooting conditions or the many infantilizing subplots presented makes no difference. The end result is vivid, colorful, and an amalgam of supernatural events. The concepts are ground-breaking but the delivery is rather weak.
The actors aren't great, their characters are weird, but the Tall Man; a new horror icon with his own sonata, gives a scary performance as the main villain. He populates this film with mind-fucking illusions. Phantasm is rough around the edges, but its greatest fault is to rely on dream sequences for jump scares and special effects. Those scenes are inconsequential and a technical cheat.
Don Coscarelli, writer and director, cannot deal with realistic human reactions and consequences to key scenes so he often has to fall back on cheap narrative devices. This said, he redeems himself every time he saves the day with experimental concepts done in a marketable way. Phantasm is like a looping fever dream. It is appealing and entertaining enough to be considered 70's top tier horror.