Rewind: PHANTASM FEVER

Phantasm Intro & Main Theme by Fred Myrow and Malcom Seagrave


It’s been, as they say, a long and strange trip. But who could have imagined a trip so long, so strange? Not Don Coscarelli, never dreaming that the outré script he penned in 1970-something would slowly transmogrify into what is arguably the most unique and original series in the horror-fantasy genre. Love it or hate it, Phantasm undeniably made a lasting impression on everyone who saw it in the summer of 1979. Set in a small town so sleepy as to seem one big cemetery, the master of the local mortuary (Angus Scrimm, soon to reap global fame as the Tall Man) appears at first only mildly menacing and out of place. But to young Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), everything seems menacing and out of place. Mike’s recently lost his parents, he’s worried that his beloved older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) will dump him with relatives then hit the road. When Mike discovers the Tall Man is up to some serious weirdness at the mortuary, his world—and the film—takes a 90 degree turn into the skewed realm of nightmare, unleashing a torrent of blazingly original concepts and visuals that have never been equaled. It was this one-two punch of heartfelt emotion (Mike’s love for Jody) coupled with the avalanche of heretofore unseen imagery (the silver spheres, the demon bug, the space gate) that made Phantasm so rare and inimitable. Backed by a haunting score and acted with enthusiastic innocence by its youthful cast, Phantasm attained an almost subliminal yet eternal presence in the minds of its many “phans,” a presence that demanded to live again, like a scary-but-good-dream we wished we could revisit.

Yet when Phantasm II finally rolled into theaters nearly ten years later, it was in many ways everyone’s worst fears made flesh. Though it boasted the money and backing of a major studio and was technically flawless, the sequel was for the most part a tired retread, lifting whole scenes (sometimes shot for shot) from the first film. James Le Gros might have been excellent in his own interpretation of Mike, but he didn’t make anyone forget A. Michael Baldwin. (Perhaps cast and crew jokingly refer to Le Gros as Mike’s “tough guy” period.) Yet there was still something there, something unique: the mood, the mystery. Reggie Bannister (Mike and Jody’s oft-terrified ice cream vending pal) emerged as the series’ most lovable character.

And there was one fucking scene in Phantasm II…

Alternate Poster Design, Phantasm II by Lafe FredbjornsonAll the images in this post came from his site.

There was one fucking scene  in Phantasm II: Mike and Reg, hot on the trail of the Tall Man, discover the corpse of small town and find its cemeteries emptied, its mortuary abandoned and laced with otherworldly traps. It’s a sequence so effective it’s easily worth the price of admission. But as a film, as a successor to the original? Unsatisfying.

The situation improved (I think) when Phantasm III arrived in 1994. Orignal actors Baldwin and Thornbury made a triumphant (and appropriately disconcerting) return to the series, marking also a return to the original’s dreamlike quality and strangeness while still propelled by an action-driven plot. Some new characters were added to the mix, with unavoidably mixed results. And instead of remaining a mere trans-dimensional bogeyman, the Tall Man was slowly edged into a different—even ambiguous—light, suggesting that his “plans” for Mike might extend past mere “death.” Yes, a definite improvement… yet Phantasm III very much remained a sequel, forever suffering under the shadow of the original. Too many sequences in Phantasm III played like rituals (or worse, rules) to be observed rather than spontaneous elements of a living and vibrant story; we remember the dance, we know what words to say—why doesn’t it feel the same? Perhaps that’s what it’s all about. Maybe trying to recapture the magic of the original Phantasm is as elusive as trying to recapture the past. As the summer of 1979 recedes faster and faster behind us and the dreams we once dreamt echo fainter each day, maybe these films, in their own weird way, are about the persistence of memory, shadows we give names and form and voice and call “ghosts.” It’s getting dark, it’s almost time for the fourth installment, Phantasm: Oblivion. Meet me at the space gate; the long strange trip is almost over.

A moody epitaph instead of a rock-em sock-em final chapter, Phantasm: Oblivion is at once a haunting farewell to long cherished characters and a surprisingly ironic exploration of the power (and dangers) of the imagination. Kicking off with a killer montage of the series’ more impressive visuals, Oblivion begins with Reggie growing disillusioned with the never-ending war with post-dead creeps, while longsuffering buddy Mike is spirited away by the Tall Man to realms desolate and forbidding: Death Valley, transmuted into an inter-dimensional wasteland. It’s here that Mike must finally face his longtime foe, peel back the mystery of his adversary’s origins, and ultimately address his own destiny. “Be careful what you look for,” cautions Scrimm as the Tall Man, “you just might find it.” With Oblivion, Coscarelli has abandoned all attempts at fashioning a franchise installment and produced instead what has been described as a “love letter to the phans.” It’s a ballsy move, but one not without risks and Oblivion is not without the consequent problems endemic to such a move, not the least being it’s a film so umbilically linked to the prior films it can’t possibly stand on its own, a risky strategy for any movie, cult-flick or otherwise. Also troubling is the inclusion of some truly pointless action scenes, the worst involving Reggie and a “demon trooper.” And though Coscarelli is to be applauded for throwing the Phantasm sequel-model out the window, one can only wonder at the series staples he chooses to retain: the exploding car, for example (three of them, a new record), or the useless dwarfs (who’ve never looked worse), or the sexy babe we finally just can’t trust (yeah, we’ve come full circle, all right). It’s enough to make me wish for a hearse-Hemicuda chase scene! But these seemingly persnickety complaints issue from a longtime phan who knows the series perhaps a little too well; I have an opinion on every frame of this freaking movie. Another phan will find sixty other things to complain—or rave—about. In the final analysis it’s important to remember that every inch of Oblivion was made with considerable love for the characters and the material, and that the film’s positive elements far outweigh the negative. Veteran phans will delight in the countless secrets revealed and marvel at how effectively—and movingly—unseen footage from the original Phantasm is woven throughout this final chapter. The trip is worth taking, and the final destination is one denied the characters (and us) for perhaps too long… this long strange trip. Pleasant dreams, all.

“It’s NEVER over!” Click it!


Phantasm II, Exit Music by Fred Myrow and Malcom Seagrave, Produced and Arranged by Christopher Stone

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PHANTASM V: RAVAGER

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQhEvC3znpk

Yes Virginia, you read that right: there will be a new PHANTASM movie.

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I Promise: This is the Weirdest Music Video You’ll See Today

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NEW FRONTIERSMAN, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU

Far and away the absolute balls-out BEST Space:1999 fan-film ever made. Hawks! UFOs! The Meta Probe! Best Graphics of The Moon blasting out of Earth Orbit! This one’s for you, G.

Love,

SATAN

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New AGALLOCH. “Celestial Effigy.” Coming in May.

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Celestial Effigy

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HELLO (sorry I missed you) BEAUTIFUL [NSFW, NC-17]

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Delta gets wet!

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Delta gets wet!

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Delta gets wet!

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Delta gets wet!

FULL MOON INSFUSED WATER

Delta gets wet!

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Delta gets wet!

Model: Delta from Restrained Elegance

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STARLOG Magazine Archived for Free

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When I was 12 years old, the hunt for new issues of this magazine was the goddamn Holy Grail.

HERE.

Via i09: The whole thing is searchable, so you can see exactly what people were saying about your favorite shows and movies (and sometimes books) back in the day. And even though it’s free, you can always make a donation to the Internet Archive to support all their work preserving our digital heritage. [via Darren Werschler]

Starlog was a monthly science-fiction film magazine published by Starlog Group Inc. The magazine was created by publishers Kerry O’Quinn and Norman Jacobs. O’Quinn was the magazine’s editor while Jacobs ran the business side of things, dealing with typesetters, engravers and printers. They got their start in publishing creating a soap opera magazine. In the mid-1970s, O’Quinn and high school friend David Houston talked about creating a magazine that would cover science fiction films and television programs.

O’Quinn came up the idea of publishing a one-time only magazine on the Star Trek phenomenon. Houston’s editorial assistant Kirsten Russell suggested that they include an episode guide to all three seasons of the show, interviews with the cast and previously unpublished photographs. During this brainstorming session many questions were raised, most notably legal issues. Houston contacted Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry with the intention of interviewing him for the magazine. Once they got his approval, O’Quinn and Jacobs proceeded to put together the magazine but Paramount Studios, who owned Star Trek, wanted a minimum royalty that was greater than their projected net receipts and the project was shelved. O’Quinn realized that they could create a magazine that only featured Star Trek content but without it being the focus and therefore getting around the royalties issue. He also realized that this could be the science fiction magazine he and Houston had talked about. Many titles for it were suggested, including Fantastic Films and Starflight before Starlog was chosen. (Fantastic Films was later used as the title of a competing science fiction magazine published by Blake Publishing.)

To keep costs down, Starlog was initially a quarterly magazine with the first issue being published on August 1976. The issue sold out and this encouraged O’Quinn and Jacobs to publish a magazine every six weeks instead of quarterly. O’Quinn was the magazine’s first editor with Houston taking over for a year and then replaced by Howard Zimmerman when Houston was promoted to the “Hollywood Bureau.” Zimmerman was eventually succeeded by David McDonnell.

One of the magazine’s milestones was its 100th issue, published on November 1985 and featured who they thought were the 100 most important people in science fiction. This included exclusive interviews with John Carpenter, Peter Cushing, George Lucas, Leonard Nimoy, and Gene Roddenberry. The magazine’s 200th issue repeated the format of the 100th issue but this time interviewed such notable artists as Arthur C. Clarke, Tim Burton, William Gibson, Gale Anne Hurd, and Terry Gilliam. Starlog was one of the first publications to report on the development of the first Star Wars movie, and it also followed the development of what was to eventually become Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The magazine was devoted to science fiction films, television series, and books. Many fans of this long-running magazine considered its heyday to have been the 1980s with very little substance to the content in later years and many of its long-time contributors having since moved on. But it continued to boast some top-flight genre journalists, including film historians Will Murray, Jean-Marc Lofficier and Tom Weaver. It was one of the longest-running and most popular publications of its type.

It published its 30th Anniversary issue in 2006. On Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at approximately 11 a.m. a warehouse, operated by Kable News, in Oregon, Illinois containing back issues of Starlog and Fangoria burned to the ground.

Thanks to Mike Maginnis for his contributions to this collection.
Browse by Subject / Keywords

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Yes. Nostalgia is death. But oh, the stories I could tell about hunting for this magazine… Maybe I will…

(and yeah, I’m going to finish my piece on Gerry Anderson REAL soon)

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RIP Harold Ramis

The Mighty Ramis on the metaphor of Ground Hog Day.

Obit from The Chicago Tribune.

Thank you and Godspeed, man.

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SECRET THIRTEEN MIX 107 – ERNESTAS SADAU

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THE AUTHOR OF THE MIX IS ERNESTAS SADAUNIKAS (B. 1984), A LITHUANIAN DJ, PROMOTER AND MASTER CHEF BASED IN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. SADAUNIKAS HAS BEEN BUILDING HIS MUSICAL IDENTITY UNDER ERNESTAS SADAU AND DAUSA PSEUDONYMS FOR OVER A DECADE NOW. INFLUENCED BY THE EARLY AUTECHRE, PRODIGY, APHEX TWIN PRODUCTION AND HIS PARENTS’ VAST RECORD COLLECTION, WHICH INCLUDES MUSIC RANGING FROM THE DOORS TO DONNA SUMMER, SADAUNIKAS BEGAN A FRUITFUL DJ CAREER. AVOIDING ANY STYLISTIC FRAMES HE PRESENTS AN ECLECTIC DJ SETS THAT VARY BETWEEN STRICT TECHNO, SMOOTH JAZZ, ROCK AND VARIOUS EXPERIMENTATIONS. SADAUNIKAS SHARED A STAGE WITH SUCH HONORABLE MUSICIANS AS FENNESZ, MURCOF, APPARAT, PETER VAN HOESEN AND MANY OTHERS. IN 2006 HE JOINED LITHUANIAN MINIMAL TECHNO COMMUNITY MINIMAL.LT AND BECAME AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF IT. HE IS ALSO A FOUNDER OF “SŪPYNĖS” (ENG. “SWINGS”), ONE OF THE BIGGEST ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL IN THE BALTIC STATES. HOWEVER, LATER HE LEFT MINIMAL.LT AND STARTED TO FOCUS MORE ON HIS FUTURE PROJECTS. HIS NEWEST IMPRINT DIGITAL TSUNAMI SPECIALIZES IN ORGANISING PARTIES IN LONDON AND PUBLISHING SUBTLE DANCE MUSIC COMPILATIONS. HE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF DJ DUO GLARK N GLARK AND SOMETIMES SELECTS MUSIC FOR FASHION SHOWS.

RIGHT-CLICK AND SAVE A COPY OF ERNESTAS SADAU MIX

“SECRET THIRTEEN MIX 107” IS A DELICATE AND VARIED MUSIC SELECTION THAT MIRRORS ITS AUTHOR’S DAILY INTIMATE SURROUNDINGS AND REVEALS SOME OF HIS FAVOURITE RECORDS THAT MADE AN ESSENTIAL IMPACT TO HIM AS AN ARTIST AND AS AN INDIVIDUAL. WHILE COMPILING THIS MIX SADAUNIKAS WAS INFLUENCED BY FEMME FATALES, MYSTICISM, SEX AND, MOST IMPORTANT, HIS OBSESSION WITH FOOD MAKING. THIS MIX IS ALSO A REMINISCENCE OF HIS EARLIER SELECTION “CABERNET SAUVIGNON” THAT WAS MEANT TO BE LISTENED NEAR A GLASS OF NOBLE RED WINE. IN THIS MIX SADAUNINKAS BALANCES FROM SUBTLY SEDUCTIVE EMOTIONS AND HAPPENINGS TO SURREAL AND GLOOMY MOODS. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MUSICAL NARRATIVE IS DELIBERATE, PATIENT AND CONTINUOUS. THIS SMOOTHLY SHIFTING SELECTION PERFECTLY EXPLORES COHERENT CONNECTION AMONG DIFFERENT MUSIC STYLES, PERIODS AND MEANINGS BEHIND THE WORKS. THE MIX CONTAINS 12 SOLID AND HIGH-QUALITY RECORDS THAT WERE RELEASED BETWEEN 1972 AND 2012. CHARACTERISTIC COMPOSITIONS BY SUCH RESPECTABLE MUSICIANS AS JON HASSELL, COIL, AUTECHRE, AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE, ALICE COLTRANE AND OTHERS SIMPLY DISCONNECT THE LISTENER FROM THE SHINY AND HYPOCRITICAL WORLD AND OPEN A MORE SCENIC HORIZONS DEEP IN THE SUBCONSCIOUSNESS. THE CONTROVERSIAL ENERGY, STRANGE PASSION, WISDOM AND VARIOUS MELANCHOLIA EXPRESSIONS THAT WERE TRANSMITTED FROM THESE PROFESSIONALLY PERFORMED AND QUALITATIVELY RECORDED TRACKS SHOULD INSPIRE AND LEAVE NO APATHETIC. SADAUNIKAS EXPLAINS THAT THIS MIX IS HIS “ONE EARLY MORNING’S EXPRESSION OF EGOISM THAT ENDED WITH AN EJACULATION”. FINALLY, IT IS LIKE A SPECIFIC GILBERT HSIAO’S ABSTRACT WORK “SLIPSTREAM” WHERE ELEGANT AND UNUSUAL SHAPE DECORATED WITH GRADUALLY TRANSFORMING LINES CREATES AN ARTISTIC MIRAGE THAT REQUIRES OPEN IMAGINATION AND ART EXPERIENCE TO FULLY ABSORB IT.

via @johncoulthart 

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Yes I Am And Always Will Be A Total ヤマト Freak And You Can’t Cure Me

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