Saturday, 8 October 2016

31 Days Of Halloween: Phantasm RaVager Review

Rated R; 85 minutes; Amazon
If you grew up watching horror movies in the 1980s then you probably recall watching 1979's weird science-fiction horror flick Phantasm.

For me, my introduction into the franchise was with Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead back in early 1995. I was fourteen-year-old at the time and I stayed up late to watch the movie on Showtime after midnight on a Saturday. I later watched the first two films when they aired on TNT's Monstervision hosted by Joe Bob Briggs.

I had forgotten about the franchise until I had found Phantasm II on a 4 Movie Marathon DVD in 2011. Afterward, I had purchased the other films on DVD, which is where I first learned there was a fourth film - Phantasm: Oblivion (1998). Let's just say I didn't care much for the fourth installment, mostly due to the weak script.

Just like most Phantasm fans, I was surprised when a fifth film, Phantasm RaVager, was announced in 2014. Now over two years later, the movie has finally been released to limited screens and via digital HD.

Directed by David Hartman, Phantasm RaVager centers on an aging Reggie (played by Reggie Bannister) who is still on the hunt for The Tall Man (played Angus Scrimm in his final performance). As soon as Reggie retrieves his 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, The Tall Man sends out the spheres to kill him.

Similar to the original film, Phantasm RaVager jumps around to different realities. Reggie finds himself in a nursing home, where he is told by Mike (played by A. Michael Baldwin) that he has been diagnosed with early stage of dementia. In another reality, the world has been destroyed by The Tall Man's army, and Reggie must team up with Mike and a few lone survivors.

Final Thoughts: From what I have read, the film was shot on and off between 2008 and 2013, and it was originally intended to be a webseries. Like many other fans, I was disappointed that Don Coscarelli didn't direct Phantasm RaVager. The budget is more on par with the fourth film, but with bad CGI effects. I understand they didn't have enough money to make what they wanted to, but I blame the movie's problems on the director, David Hartman, who also edited it.

The entire cast seems to be having to fun throughout the film, despite the fact the plot is confusing as hell. The Tall Man is only in the film for about five to seven minutes. The character was limited to Agnus Scrimm's declining health when this was being shot; however, he still gives a menacing performance. There were some scenes where The Tall Man is standing in the background that looked like CGI was used. I would say the actor's face was photoshopped onto a body double.

Overall, Phantasm RaVager was made only for diehard fans. Newcomers will be extremely confused by the plot or the lack thereof. From what I heard, this is supposed to be final movie for the franchise, however, the ending does set up for possible sequels.

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