Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mocking Halloween: Phantasm

What happens when you mix aliens with horror? No… not Alien but I’ll give you another hint. Aliens, horror and funeral directors; that’s right, you get Phantasm. A low budget horror movie that isn’t too famous but isn’t too obscure either. It’s about a group of kids that find out the dark and out-of-this-world secret of the local funeral director/grave robber and now they must expose him for what he really is. They just have one problem; they are trapped in the maze of the funeral home and pursued by his robotic weapons. This movie suffers from one thing and one thing only… the antagonist. No not The Tall Man but rather another antagonist.

The Tall Man is a rather frightening fellow and he is the typical scary, pale faced, tall, slip and eerie looking funeral owner but when I finally saw what his choice gadget is for killing people… I almost laughed. It’s a flying metal ball that drills into your head and sucks out your blood. I couldn’t believe my eyes. These guys are running from flying metal balls!! It’s just so out there and so wild that it seems to be awkward for such a moody and atmospheric horror film. What is even better is that as the film series progressed, the balls got more and more complex and sort of became a running gag in the franchise.

There are balls with razor blades on them, balls with long drills; swarm of balls, balls that drill and tear up your insides, a golden ball that does God knows what and a whole bunch more. In fact, the sequel’s tagline says it all: “This summer… the ball is back!” It’s the only bankable thing that the series has to offer and it’s sort of sad. I find it rather anticlimactic to see the main villain of a horror franchise be a metal ball from outer space but there is one movie that can beat this.


Wings said...

How weird! I just rewatched this today for the first time since I saw it way back as a kid. I remember being scared back then, now I was more confused. This movie needed a different editor, cause it was kind of a mess.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

Interesting. I never really paid any attention to the editing but now that you mention it... I might re-visit it.

Chris Regan said...

I just love how crazy this film is. I liked trying to explain the plot to people - 'So he's taking dead bodies and shrinking them down into dwarf slaves then transporting them to his home planet...'

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