97 min., 1988
Written by Don Coscarelli
Directed by Don Coscarelli
My rating: ★★★★
The Tall Man and his balls are back!
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Phantasm II picks up exactly where Phantasm left off. Well, it actually rewinds a little bit. We see young Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) getting grabbed and Reggie (Reggie Bannister) jumping into action. In the end Reggie blows up his own house while rescuing Mike. Now seven years later, Mike (now played by James LeGros) is being released from the Morningside Sanitarium. The first thing he does is start checking the local graveyard, and he finds that the bodies are missing. Reggie shows up, tries to convince Mike that none of the stuff from the past actually happened and takes him back to his house to see some of Reggie’s family. Pulling up to the house it explodes. Reggie is now ready to admit about the past and agrees to go after the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). After a little shopping spree, they head from town to town following the trail of destruction and desolation which leads them to the town of Perigord, Oregon. Mike has also been having visions (as she has of him) of a girl named Liz (Paula Irvine) and he is also set on finding out who she is and what her connection to the Tall Man is.
We have James LeGros playing Mike who was a lot younger in the first movie. He does a pretty good job, but he does tend to take it a bit too far any time he has to show any actual emotions other than fear. Inducing the fear is Angus Scrimm. Mr. Scrimm does a great job of creating fear just by using his face and eyes. Even the way he delivers his dialog demands that you pay close attention to what he is saying; especially when he tells you to get out, and every time he says “Boy” it tends to give me goose bumps (I know most won’t, but I do have a special place in my heart/fears for the Tall Man). Now my favorite is Reggie Bannister. Everything (almost) he does is great. I love his use of body language and facial expressions. During the shopping spree when he grabs this strange bladed tool, the look of “Ohhh, what’s this” is priceless. The other great scene is the sex scene between Reggie and Alchemy (Samantha Phillips). She is on top and just going nuts, and the look on his face of “what the fuck is wrong with this girl” makes me laugh every time.
Even nine years after the original, the effects haven’t improved by all that much. The spheres look a whole lot better and more believable, but most of the gore and blood effects are just about on the same level. It really sucks because after that amount of time I was expecting something more, then again it’s hard to improve on something that was already really good to begin with.
Phantasm II isn’t as good as the first movie (it’s really hard to beat a movie as good as that), but what this one does that the first didn’t was to flesh out the story more. You actually learn more about the Tall Man and what happens with the bodies that they dig up. Now everything isn’t handed to you on a silver platter (I really hate movies where they feel the need to explain everything that is going on, hints are fine though), but unless you are a complete moron, you should be able to figure out exactly what’s going on. The movie does a good job of keeping you off kilter by bending reality and making you think that something/someone is one thing and then turning it around on you. This one is a great sequel where it actually adds more to the story instead of just repeating the same thing over and over again (cough, cough Halloween).Have You Read...?