Picking up right on the heels of it's predecessor, Phantasm II (1988) opens with Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) at the mercy of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), only to get saved by the last second by Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Flash-forward some years later with an older Mike (James LeGros) attempting to save an equally psychic minded person, Liz, from the Tall Man's grasp.
Now this wasn't my first entry into the Phantasm series. The first Phantasm movie I ever watched was Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) and I wasn't really enthused by it. Nothing really popped out to me save a few short scenes involving the Tall Man and it made me wonder why this series had four films under it's belt. Plus, I was quite confused by what was going on with it. Flash-forward last year when Netflix had Phantasm II in it's library and I bit the bullet, watching it. After watching that, I gave all four films a good viewing and realized why this series has such a cult fan-base.
Anyway, I liken Phantasm II to Aliens (1986) compared to the original. It has the same elements that made the first film memorable and amps it up while giving us a new setting. Both movies also include protagonists that have had enough of the antagonist and attempt to rid the world of them forever. Oh, and this movie has a chainsaw fight. As you know, any movie that has use of a chainsaw increases in memorability and awesomeness, getting an extra point.
4 out of 5
Picture Transfer & Sound Quality
The picture and sound quality are just amazing. Par for the course with what Scream! Factory has been doing with obscure horror films. They give the same glorious treatment with this film. If it wasn't for what they're also known for (loading it with extras, giving it an excellent transfer), the way they've presented the film is worth it alone.
The details in the mausoleum and the sound during the golden sphere sequence is so crystal clear and so perfect. You can see the detail the makers of the set had on this film along with how it enhances the atmosphere of the movie. The later sequence just heightens the thrills along with the eventual chill (the ball going up one of the Tall Man's goon's body until well... that'd spoil the gory surprise). It makes you wish one could give every single obscure or cult film to Scream! Factory, given the tender loving care they handle each and every release.
Picture: 5 out of 5
Sound: 5 out of 5
Much like previous horror film predecessors in Halloween II and Halloween: III Season of the Witch, Scream! Factory's entry for Phantasm II is PACKED with extras. Seriously, there's several hours worth of deleted scenes, documentaries (on the making of this film and the effects), commentary, trailers (for this, the original, and third entry), TV spots, and if that wasn't enough a short film (it looks like one of those specials Mystery Science Theater 3000 would play) starring a VERY young Angus Scrimm under his real name Rory Guy as Abraham Lincoln.
All in all, this Blu-Ray puts the Collector in Collector's Edition. Fans of this series are going to flip and feast on these extras. In fact, with those trailer teases for the first and third entries, any fan of this series cannot hope but salivate and pray that Scream! Factory will get the rights to those two films (and the fourth), giving this series the proper due they deserve. The only extra I wish they had also included but was merely teased in the documentary is the screen test from a young Brad Pitt as the older Michael.
5 out of 5
Phantasm II lovers rejoice! For it's not a dream! Scream! Factory one again delivers on just a smorgasbord of stuff and gives so much appreciation to a series that hasn't ever gotten much love here in the US. The love they give each of these horror movies is amazing and really something other companies should emulate. Heck, due to how awesome they are, I'm probably going to double-dip in buying their eventual Darkman release in a few months. For any horror lover whose bored with the current crop and wants to see some old fashioned 80s horror, you can't go wrong with this movie or this release. Scream! Factory is on fire!
5 out of 5
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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