"Phantasm" is turning 40 years old. Despite its old age and low budget origins, this cult horror film has managed to spawn an enduring franchise and a lasting fan base. Celebrate this horror movie milestone by learning more about the making and legacy of "Phantasm."
1. "Phantasm" was filmed on a minuscule $300,000 budget, with director Don Coscarelli saving money by renting equipment on Fridays, shooting on the weekend and returning it the following Monday so as to only pay for one day's rental.
2. Actor Angus Scrimm is 6 foot 4, and he wore undersized costumes and modified boots to make him appear even taller during filming.
3. Coscarelli also saved money by casting both his and actor Reggie Bannister's parents as extras during the funeral scene.
5. "Phantasm" contains multiple homages to the sci-fi novel "Dune," including the scene where Mike is forced to put his hand inside the fortune teller's pain-inducing black box.
6. According to Coscarelli, the original cut of "Phantasm" clocked in at over three hours. Some of the unused footage made its way into 1998's "Phantasm IV: Oblivion," while the rest may have been lost or destroyed.
7. "Phantasm" was originally given an X rating by the MPAA, largely because of the iconic silver sphere scene. The rating was changed after LA Times critic Charles Champlin intervened on the film's behalf.
9. A popular rumor suggests that "Phantasm" was the inspiration for Motörhead's iconic 1980 song "Ace of Spades." Reportedly, songwriter Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister was inspired by the look of main character Mike Pearson and wrote out the lyrics during a screening.
10. There are currently four sequels in the "Phantasm" series, with the most recent of them being 2016's "Phantasm: Ravager."
11. Filmmaker Roger Avary pitched his own idea for a "Phantasm" sequel, which would have been titled "Phantasm 1999 A.D." and featured Bruce Campbell in a major role. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned due to a lack of funding.