Combustible Celluloid
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With: Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Gloria Lynne Henry, Kevin Connors, Cindy Ambuehl, John Davis Chandler, Brooks Gardner, Angus Scrimm, Irene Roseen, Sarah Scott Davis, Duane Tucker, Claire Benedek, Wendy Way, Robert Beecher
Written by: Don Coscarelli
Directed by: Don Coscarelli
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 91
Date: 03/01/1994

Phantasm III (1994)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Foul Ball

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I'm not exactly sure why Anchor Bay Entertainment has released DVDs of Phantasm (1979) and Phantasm III (1994), while ignoring Phantasm II. Perhaps it's a rights issue, or perhaps it's the fact that actor James LeGros briefly took over the "Mike" role for that second film, and that it now makes more sense to jump directly to Part III. No matter. Part III comes with a little prologue explaining the events between the end of the first entry and now. Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) is now grown up. He and Reg (Reggie Bannister) are still trying to elude capture by the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), who may or may not be a monster from outer space. The ghost of Mike's brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) returns in one of the Tall Man's flying silver balls and the Tall Man manages to snatch Mike away from Reg. So Reg jumps in his muscle car and hits the road, accompanied by a crafty young boy (Kevin Connors) and a supercool black female martial artist, Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry), to find him. In a way, it's a commentary on many of the brain-dead action films of the period. It's all fairly absurd, but Coscarelli retains his enthusiasm and imagination with a healthy sense of ridiculousness; in one scene the Tall Man's severed hands turn into skittering beasties and attack our heroes. The director clearly had a bigger budget to work with here, but he does not allow visual effects to cover up his ideas.

DVD Details: Anchor Bay's 2007 DVD has quite a few less extras than the main Phantasm disc, but it comes with a commentary track by actors Baldwin and Scrimm, as well as trailers, a featurette, and deleted scenes.

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