Welcome to this week's Horror Squad Movie Club Discussion Post. Hopefully everyone got a chance to view (or re-view) Phantasm and is now ready to share their thoughts and feelings about The Tall Man's first cinematic outing. I'm going to try and keep this short (famous last words...) so that you guys can chime in. I think there are a ton of things to talk about in Don Coscarelli's film and I'm looking forward to reading how other people have interpreted it.
One of the most interesting things about Phantasm for me has always been the way it presents the story of Mike, Jody, Reggie, and The Tall Man in such hazy, dreamlike way. When I first wrote about the film years ago, I stated that I felt like Phantasm was the closest American cinema had come to replicating the mood and vibe of the classic Italian horror films -- most notably Argento's Suspiria, which came out two years prior. I've never heard Coscarelli mention if Argento's film was an influence or not, and it seems at least somewhat unlikely since I'd guess that Phantasm was already being conceived at the time of Suspiria's release, but there are some interesting parallels between the two films. Phantasm, like Suspiria, attempts to create a modern fairy tale told with nightmare logic.
Both films are reminiscent of our worst night terrors--intensely disturbing and terrifying while we're experiencing them, but almost ludicrous when recounted during the light of day. How silly does Angus Scrimm's The Tall Man sound when you describe him to someone who hasn't seen the film? Pretty ridiculous--he's a tall, goofy-looking mortician. However, when actually viewing the film, Scrimm is creepy and unsettling -- and one of our most beloved genre icons because of it.
Jump past the break for more Phantasm goodness.