Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Posted by Octopunk
Man, I really overestimated the amount of flicks I was going to cover. I wanted to get to the remaining Hellraisers, Phantasms, and also Army of Darkness. I ditched the Child's Play movies altogether. However, having some rare access to a VHS player, I couldn't resist packing Phantasm II into the home stretch.
The second outing doesn't have as much of the whacko charm of the first one, but it's the same uniquely-flavored whacko charm. The movie opens with the end of the first, except we get to see what happened next. This is courtesy of footage I assume they shot in 1979 but didn't use (yay!). Then we see Mike all grown up, lying his way out of the asylum he's been stuck in since he related the story we just saw. Mike has gone from skinny kid with 70's hair to James LeGros, who kinda Melrose-Places up the movie a bit with his hunky good looks, but that's fine. Reggie returns to drive Mike home, and with him returns the "get things done" attitude I was so jazzed by in the first flick. In F13 #5 they gave fake Jason the high body count by introducing characters and instantly whacking them; here we don't even see the characters. Reggie spouts off all the people waiting at home to see Mike: "Aunt Martha's coming, my daughter can't wait to meet you," etc. -- and then through the windshield we see his house blow up.
Two minutes later and the movie is where it belongs: reckless gun use and muscle cars. Mike and Reggie pursue the Tall Man, whose corpse-enslaving repertoire has expanded to wiping out small towns. They grab some girls and soon we're fighting creepy morticians, enraged jawas and flying death balls. (About those things: ever notice how they don't discriminate between intruders and the evil staff? No OSHA on the Tall Man's world.)
The mystery dynamics of the Phantasm universe are such that it's easy to accept every whackadoo thing they throw at us, like the weird claw that pops out of the Tall Man's head at one point. I admit I made a little "hmm?" noise when he uses telekenesis to hang the priest with his own rosary, but he caps off the scene by saying "You think you go to Heaven when you die? You come to us!" I thought Yowza, that's right. Whatever the Tall Man's strange origins are, they do involve enslaving the dead. Is he a sci-fi type threat or a supernatural one? To its credit, the movie doesn't tell us.
This is a worthy successor, displaying the same creepy, gory fun as the original. Recommended.
at 12:28 AM