this be the end of Don Coscarelli horror/sci-fi franchise? Say it isn’t so.
Phans are always down for more, but the death of Angus Scrimm means the iconic
Tall Man will no longer menace Mike Pearson. Arguably, Scrimm was the greatest
surviving heir to the horror tradition embodied by Boris Karloff, Vincent
Price, and Peter Cushing. He will be missed, but perhaps Kat Lester’s Lady in
Lavender can tag in for him. At least Scrimm provides Phans some final creepy
moments in David Hartman’s Phantasm: Ravager (trailer
co-scripted and produced by Coscarelli, which is now available on DVD and
BluRay from Well Go USA.
the ice cream man is having a bad day, but he has not had a lot of good days in
the last thirty-seven years. As a close friend of Mike and Jody Pearson, the
horny troubadour was pulled into the battle against the Tall Man and his intergalactic
hellions years ago. So far, he has survived, but the Pearson Brothers’ status
is desperately looking for Mike, his one-time ward, but he keeps slipping
through time in planes of existence, roughly a la Slaughterhouse-Five. Each version of the world offers its own
particular perils, but they all involve the Tall Man. There is the dystopian Terminator-like world and the
Potemkin-feeling interludes, in which Reggie is a sanitarium patient diagnosed
with early dementia. However, the most Phantasm-like
sequences involve Reggie’s attempts to woo a stranded motorist that will
eventually be interrupted by the Sentinel Spheres.
there is so much jumping around for Ravager,
any sense of narrative cohesion goes out the window. Naturally, the ending is
also maddeningly indeterminate, so it is highly debatable whether it adds up to
anything. On the plus side, there are a lot of cleverly executed Phan favorite
call-backs, including a long chase scene featuring the ‘Cuda muscle car and the
Spheres. The Sentinel Spheres themselves are badder and bloodier than ever. Scrimm
does his thing with relish and the bond shared by Reggie and the Pearsons is as
potent as ever. There is even a return trip to Morningside Mausoleum.
In fact, it is those themes of friendship,
family, and loyalty that give the Phantasm franchise way more emotional heft
than most low budget genre movies. Reggie Bannister (in the role he was born to
play, since it was written expressly for him) maintains the energy and attitude
Phans expect and Scrimm could still kill small animals with a withering stare.
Depending whether you are a glass-half-full-or-empty kind of person, you could
either say there is too much crammed into Ravager
or just enough. Yet, as always, something about the characters and their travails
will stick in your subconscious. Phantasm:
Ravager is mostly recommended for Phans, whereas every genre enthusiast
should either catch up with or revisit Phantasm: Remastered (seriously, the original essentially has the same plot as A Monster Calls, with Scrimm and Liam
Neeson playing the monsters). Both are now available on DVD, BluRay, and
digital, from Well Go USA.
Labels: Angus Scrimm, Don Coscarelli, DVD, Phantasm franchise, Well Go USA