Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: Phantasm Box Set

In 1979, Don Coscarelli gave the world a new icon in horror. A year before Jason slashed his way through camp Crystal and 5 years before Freddy was causing nightmares down Elm Street, The Tall Man, stalked his way into your deepest darkest fears. Followed by 4 sequels, Phantasm has become one of the most beloved series in horror history. If ypu're looking for any further proof, I can tell you from being at conventions where the cast were guests, fans were just as rabid and appreciative to meet them as say a Robert Englund or a Walking Dead. Maybe in not volumes as fans but with sheer fantacism. The late, great Angus Scrimm, aka The Tall Man never allowed anyone to walk away from his table without a smile. To this day, fans STILL speak fondly about meeting him and the impact he left on them.

Over the years, the entire series would be released on dvd, and just a few of the movies on bluray, from multiple companies. Anchor Bay, MGM, Scream Factory. All great releases with great features, but never have they all been released in one entire big set together on bluray. For years and years, fans have been hoping that someday that will be remedied.

Well, friends. That day. Is today.

WellGo USA, who previously released blurays of Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm Ravager just last year, did the impossible. They released THE ENTIRE SERIES  on crystal clear, beautiful hi-def bluray for all the Phans to enjoy!

Thar she blows. That gorgeous packaging featuring our The Tall Man, in all his splendid and creepy glory.

Or is that "gory"? I wanna keep this tasteful, so I'll stick with glory.

I sat down to watch all these movies as someone who wasn't a Phantasm fan per se, but as someone who still respected the impact this series has had on the fanbase. I've tried to sit down to watch these with the hopes to truly get into them and even seeing Phantasm Remastered in the theaters just didn't do it. I don't think it's a series that I'm meant to get into but I will say, after watching the entire set, it's definitely something I appreciate even MORE than I did before. Just because I don't like a movie doesn't mean I can't respect it. And after hearing all the stories of production throughout the entire series, I sincerely can respect anyone who worked on these.

Phantasm Remastered, Phantasm 2, Phantasm Ravager are all exactly the same as the previous releases. Yes, even the Scream! Factory release of Phantasm 2 was included (much like their cooperation with Anchor Bay for their legendary Halloween set) . For those who may have been waiting to pick up Remastered and Ravager for a box set, they're in luck. Not only will they receive those releases, but for the first time Phantasm 3 and 4 are hitting bluray. I've never truly seen either of these and from what I was told, I was in for a treat of low budget entertainment like I've never seen before. And oh my, were those people right. 3 and 4 are certainly no masterpieces, I can certainly picture a lot of fans getting excited about these first time releases.

If you're afan of the original cover art, worry not! You'll get the art you've grown to love so much as well as simplistic covers for a more streamlined look on your shelf!

With great covers and fantastic features as well. What? You thought they'd just give you random, barebone releases? Pashaw! Come, now, dear reader!

The real draw, I believe for fans, will be the extra features on all discs! Let's take a quick gander at all the goodies included:

Audio Commentary with writer/director Don Coscarelli, co-producer Paul Pepperman and visual consultant Roberto Quezada
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli and actors Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thornbury
Graveyard Carz
Interviews with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm (Vintage 1979 television interview)
Deleted Scenes, Interview Outtakes
PHANTASM Behind-the-Scenes Home Movies with commentary by Don Coscarelli and Reggie Bannister, Additional home movie footage
TV and Radio Spots
Introduction, 1989 Convention Appearance, and Fangoria TV Commercial with Angus Scrimm
Theatrical Trailers, Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono

Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Reggie Banister
The Ball is Back: The making of PHANTASM II
Deleted Scenes, Workprint Scenes, TV Spots
Theatrical Trailers, Behind the Scenes, Still Galleries
Rare Short film featuring Rory Guy (Angus Scrimm)
The Gory Days an interview with Special Make-up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

It s Never Over: The Making of PHANTASM III featuring interviews with Don Coscarelli, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, Gloria Lynn Henry, Stuntman Bob Ivy, director of photography Christopher Chomyn, composer/sound designer Christopher L. Stone, sphere designer/mechanical effects artist Kerry Prior, special makeup effects designer Dean Gates and Production Assistant Kristen Deem
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli and editor Norman Buckley
Balls of Steel: Bob Ivy s Stunt for the Ages - The Phantasm III Car Stunt
Behind the Scenes Compilation
Audio Commentary with Stars A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm
Deleted Scene, Trailer, Radio Spot, Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Death is No Escape: The Making of PHANTASM IV featuring interviews with Don Coscarelli, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, special makeup effects artist Gigi Bannister, stunt coordinator/actor Bob Ivy, director of photography Christopher Chomyn, composer/sound designer Christopher L. Stone, sphere designer/mechanical effects designer Kerry Prior, cameraman Justin Zaharczuk and special makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman
Behind the Scenes Compilation
PHANTASM Sequels: Conceptual Art Gallery by Justin Zaharczuk
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli, Reggie Bannister, and Angus Scrimm
Promo, Trailer, Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Audio Commentary with co-writer/director David Hartman and Don Coscarelli
Friendship and Phantasm an interview with A. Michael Baldwin
The Lady in Lavender - an interview with actress Kat Lester
The Name is Chunk - an interview with actor Stephan Jutras
Behind-the-Scenes Promo
PHANTASM: RAVAGER Red Credit Sequence
Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary by David Hartman and Don Coscarelli)
Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
A Moment with David Hartman
Teaser / Theatrical Trailer
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo

Featuring over 4 hours of extras
Phantasm and You a comic recap of the first 4 films by PHANTASM V: RAVAGER director David Hartman
Flashback Weekend Chicago Convention Panel Discussion(2008) & (2014)
Flashback Weekend concert performance by Kat Lester
Fantastic Fest Q&A(2016)
Phantasmagoria: a documentary and Interviews with the Cast & Crew
Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour with Reggie Bannister
Phantasm Genesis

If you ask me, the special features are more than worth the price alone. For what you pay, you're getting documentaries, commentaries, behind the scenes footage, interviews, a short featuring Angus as Abraham Lincoln, part of Graveyard Cars featuring the iconic car, and my personal favorites, footage from conventions as well as a Fangoria TV spot! That's just a small fraction! If you're dedicated to this series, this is the end all be all release. I just can't imagine any future set topping this although, if it does, I'm going to be amazed!

Also included in the set (yes, there's more!) are a beautiful poster and a book called "Phantasm Companion" which features interviews with cast and crew. A someone who enjoys the behind the scenes stories and production tales, this book was a fun read and something I couldn't put down.

Do I recommend this set? Absolutely. I can't recommend it enough. The effort put into providing extras, the artwork, the book, the poster, everything is flawless. I know it's still early, but I'm nominating this to be "box set of the year".

One final note, for those who miss our Tall Man, don't worry. The Companion's last line is something we can all appreciate. A beautiful quote from Angus himself. Warning, it may make you cry a bit. I know, after meeting him in 2011, I did. There's never been a convention guest who was such a genuine gentlemen and so appreciative of his fans. I know, despite what the Tall Man may have said, Angus went straight up to Heaven and is looking down and smiling at how many fans are remembering him for generations to come.

Angus, this one's for you...boyyyyyyy!



  1. I grew up watching the Phantasm movies as a kid. I got away with renting them because the series was not well known amongst my parents (Nightmare? Friday? Halloween? No way). Great review. This past October I was home sick and watched ALL of the Phantasm movies back to back.

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