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Phantasm: raVager - Movie Review

4 beersThe Phantasm series completes its offbeat rotation around the sun with the release of Phantasm: RaVager this Friday.  It is a movie that is both a fitting goodbye to the late Angus Scrimm and, operating as the fifth and final movie in the series, a fitting conclusion.  As you are more than aware, my friends, the Phantasm series is not known for making much sense.  This fact hasn’t bothered its fans much and, fully embracing its low budget woes, the tradition continues with Phantasm: RaVager, a film that is as episodic as it is a whole hell of a lot of fun.

Writer-director Don Coscarelli has long helmed the series and, while director David Hartman takes the reigns this time out, Coscarelli’s presence is felt throughout.  He’s written all of them.  Fans familiar with the series will get more than a chuckle or two after watching the arrival of the 1971 Plymouth Barracuda.  Mike (Michael Baldwin) is once again reunited with his friend Reggie, the Ice Cream man (Reggie Banister), to once again confront the corpse-shrinking ways of The Tall Man and find out – now that they are no longer the young men they were in the first film – exactly what does happen when we slip this mortal coil.

Phantasm: RaVager explores many possible realities as it takes its lead characters on a journey through dementia and mortality.  Hell, even we are not sure of the truth.  In one reality, Reggie is without a wheelchair, hot on the trail of the The Tall Man through shifting sands.  In another, The Tall Man and his pint-sized minions have won the epic battle.  Many other episodes are examined.  And then there’s the hospital reality.  Reggie can go nowhere, his friends are there only to help him usher in a new form of existence with his dementia.  But those damn spheres are giving chase.  Regardless of the reality or the dream, the fight with The Tall Man continues.

Even the final moments hint that the end is just another beginning.  After all, when you die you don’t go to heaven.  You come to The Tall Man!

It’s hard to knock this trek through fantasy and horror.  It really is.  You walk in knowing what to expect and, hell, Coscarelli and Hartman absolutely deliver a film worthy of its namesake.  Scrimm gets a lot of scenes.  More than in any of the other films and that’s to be expected.  His involvement in keeping the series going is more than humanly measurable.  Festival after horror festival, he was ALWAYS there for the fans.  In this chapter, he’s wheeling and dealing and having so much fun chewing the scenery one final time that, fuck it, you just cave and ignore the film’s longstanding nonsensical issues.  It’s critic proof.  Fans will love it and that’s enough to give The Tall Man the sendoff he so righteously deserves.   

This is a production that has been a labor of love for damn near everyone involved and, as those involved are having a noticeable blast, it’s way too much fun to not appreciate it.  You should clap.  Even if its special effects are limited, you should feel the need to put those hands together.  It’s a horror film that was made for all the right reasons, even if it can only recreate the past magic and not completely send us into tomorrow’s futureshock.  Everyone wants to be here.  Everyone wants to be involved.  And you, as a fan of the series, should want to see it.  Loyalty in the horror genre speaks volumes. 

And that includes writer/director J.J. Abrams whose love for the original movie was behind Bad Robot putting real money into giving this fifth (and the Coscarelli-supervised 4K remastered version of Phantasm) a theatrical release.  Times have changed and, outside of VOD, there really is no solid market for the exhibition of b-grade entertainment.  If you are a fellow Horror Hound, there is but one place your ass needs to be this weekend: in a theater somewhere celebrating the resurrection of the one and the only Angus Scrimm with this almighty double feature.  Wear black, remove your hats as a sign of respect, and BOW to The Tall Man.

Both the 4K version of Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm: RaVager are in theaters for a limited time.  The. Game. Is. Finished.


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Phantasm: RaVager - Blu-ray Cover

MPAA Rating: Not rated
87 mins
: David Hartman
Don Coscarelli, David Hartman
Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Kathy Lester
: Horror | Fantasy
Phantasn: RaVager
Theatrical Distributor:
Well Go USA Entertainment
Official Site: http://phantasm.com/
Release Date:
October 7, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 6, 2016
Synopsis: The final installment of the long-running Phantasm series.


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Phantasm: raVager - Movie Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Well Go USA
Available on Blu-ray
- December 6, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region A

Well Go USA Entertainment presents Phantasm: RaVager on blu-ray with a superb 1080p transfer of the digitally shot film. This puppy is loaded with fine details and responds to the high definition output with intense levels of shadows and grain. Colors are bold and black levels are refined enough to decipher edges and color variations in sand. Due to the low budget, some of the digital effects are a bit weak, but that's to be expected. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is crackling with dynamic highs and lows and provides plenty of spooky tones to the low-budget happenings.



  • Provided by Audio Commentary with Director David Hartman and Writer & Producer Don Coscarelli, the commentary is a real treat for fans of the series as it takes us inside the series and gives an up-front look at the movie.

Special Features:

Thankfully, we get some behind the scenes glimpses and a good collection of deleted scenes. While the cut scenes don't add much to the storyline, they are welcomed. Some of the scenes get their own brief inside looks, too. All in all, a solid release from Well Go USA Entertainment.

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Giant Dwarf
  • Escape from Dawn's Cabin
  • Cuda vs Sphere
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers & Outtakes


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Phantasm: RaVager - Blu-ray Cover