Film Review: Phantasm II (1988)

SYNOPSIS:

Mike, now released from a psychiatric hospital, continues his journey to stop the evil Tall Man from his grim work.

REVIEW:

Written & Directed by: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Reggie Bannister, James LeGros, Angus Scrimm

QUICK FIX:

Ten years after the events in the first film, Mike is finally released from psychiatric care when (just like Charley Brewster in FRIGHT NIGHT 2) he agrees with his doc that all the wicked sh*t from the first flick was all part of his overactive imagination, and all is happy happy joy joy rainbows and unicorns now. But unlike wimpy Charley in HIS sequel, Mike has…a…plan and is not in the least bit content to pop pills and keep repeating to himself, “It was all a bad dream”. Hells no – he wants revenge and he wants it NOW. He no sooner steps outside the doors of the nuthouse when he’s already tracking down Reggie and they head out across the desolate wastelands that our small towns have become to hunt down and finally layeth the smacketh down on the Tall Man’s candy ass. But Mike can’t get this hot chick out of his dreams (I should be so lucky every night) and naturally assumes that she’s trying to communicate with him, so they add finding her to the list, hopefully before the Tall Man and his army of killer spheres can make her just another victim.

RAMBLINGS:

Here’s a little known fact that I’m actually quite ashamed, as a rabid horror fan/geek, to admit in such a wide-spread public outlet – the original PHANTASM is one of my favorite movies of all time that scared the everlovin bejeezus outta me as a kid (yeah, I was 9, and you’re damned right I snuck in to see it) that I almost never talk about anymore. Sure, HALLOWEEN was my first true theatrical horror experience when I was 8, and it scared me beyond belief and got me hooked for life, but everyone knows HALLOWEEN. My 102 year old dead grandmother even knows (knew?) HALLOWEEN. But the older I got, the fewer and fewer people I found (friends included) who are outside the realm of horror geekness who even knew what in the blue hell PHANTASM was. It got frustrating explaining it over and over, so I just eventually stopped. Mr. Coscarelli, I truly hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me for my transgressions against your most epically kickasstastic franchise.

I also plan to remedy that right now. First and foremost – the PHANTASM series absolutely has to be the single greatest horror franchise in history when it comes to sticking to the guns of the original and always expanding and building upon the rules and universe set forth in the first movie. Every sequel had a little bigger budget to have a little bigger and grander FX and show you the world viewed through the eyes of the survivors of the Tall Man’s pillaging and the quest of Reggie and Mike to stop him.

I still remember the geekgasm I had all over my girlfriend at the time when I opened up my new Fangoria mag way back in 1988 and saw that finally, here was the sequel I’d been waiting what seemed like a lifetime for. When she looked at me quizzically and said, “What’s this sh*t?? I didn’t know there was a PHANTASM ONE”, she was outta my life faster than Angelina purges her weekly Ritz cracker. Coscarelli did not disappoint me in the least either. The bleak world he crafted in Part II with the Tall Man taking control, the bigger spheres full of even more badassery than the ones before them, and the haggard duo who seemed destined to be the only ones able to stop insanity amazed me then, and continues to still rock my world to this very day.

LAST WORDS:

For those of you not quite yet in the know who may be more than a lil bit curious now after reading my “memory lane” review here, yes – you can find the original, this sequel, and Parts III & IV in most fine online retailers. I suggest if you haven’t already, you do that right now. Can I gush on even more about this flick? Yes, I totally can…I could crash Big Bossman’s servers with all the content I could write about the PHANTASM flicks from a fanboy’s perspective. I can also say to one or two friends out there (and you know damn good and well who you are :P) that no, you don’t have to have seen the first one to enjoy the sh*t outta this sequel, but you will…sooooooon, I promise you this in writing right here and now. Easily one of my Top Five favorite sequels of all time, PHANTASM II definitely deserves to be in every horror fan’s collection. LONG LIVE THE BALL!!!!!

Phantasm II (1988)

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