aka Phantasm – oblIVion
90 min., 1998
Written by Don Coscarelli
Directed by Don Coscarelli
My rating: ★★★★
The Phantasm story is over… or is it?
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Phantasm IV picks up right after number III. Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) is driving a hearse away from the last scene from number III and we find out the fate of Reggie (Reggie Bannister). The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) decides that it’s not Reggie’s time and lets him go. We then switch back to Mike who is having visions of the Tall Man who is explaining that there is nothing that he can do to stop him. Losing the ability to drive (the hearse will drive itself, the Tall Man tells him), he ends up in the desert (Death Valley). While there Mike decides to call out the Tall Man by hanging himself. The Tall Man appears and tells him that it won’t be that easy. Mike then finds a set of the “teleportation” rods in the desert and decides to go through. On the other side he is transported back to a time when the Tall Man was just a normal man named Jebediah Morningside, or are Jebediah and the Tall Man even the same man? While this is going on, Reggie meets with Jody (Bill Thornbury) and is convinced that he should go after Mike. On the way he is pulled over by a cop who turns out to be a demon (as far as I can tell). After a little fight Reggie is back on the road. A little later Mike decides to end this whole mess once and for all, by making his own sphere. But will Reggie, the sphere that is Jody, Mike and Mike’s sphere be enough to end the Tall Man once and for all?
Again the acting is great, with the best performance coming from Angus Scrimm. As the Tall Man he is creepy and very intimidating, but when we see him acting as a normal person it’s actually quite surprising. Well I shouldn’t say surprising, but it’s a very different character and I’m just not used to seeing him outside the Tall Man role, but he has no problem playing the nice guy. It’s nice to see Angus Scrimm being able to do something else besides the Tall Man. A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury all turn in great performances as well, then again I’m really not surprised because they all seem to love these characters.
The effects haven’t made any huge advances since the last game. The spheres still look fucking cool (even though they mostly have gone to CG), but this time around they weren’t used as much as I was hoping they would.
Back in my younger days I wanted everything I watched to be spoon-fed to me. I didn’t want to have to think too much and when an ending like this came along, I just hated it. Now as the years have gone by, and after watching a shit ton of Asian horror where the endings aren’t always happy, what you expect or they pretty much tell you nothing about why all the shit in the movie happened, I think I’ve grown a little wiser. I like using my brain now and that stuff is left up to the imagination. Upon watching Phantasm IV again (and like part III I used to hate this movie), I actually really loved where it went and that throughout the whole series it makes you use your brain, and the ending just leaves me wanting more. As a forewarning, not everything is answered and the ending just begs for another movie, which sadly never came, but it still fits. It’s a perfect ending for a really phenomenal series.Have You Read...?