Filmmaker Mick Garris pays tribute to the terrifying 1979 cult hit

By Clark Collis
November 01, 2017 at 06:01 PM EDT
  • Movie

Is the Phantasm series the weirdest horror franchise of all-time? It just might be — and we mean that as a definite compliment. In the latest commentary clip from the Trailers From Hell website, filmmaker and podcaster Mick Garris (Psycho IV) ruminates on Don Coscarelli’s original 1979 cult classic, which introduced audiences to this bizarre world of shrunk-down zombies, Angus Scrimm’s terrifying Tall Man, and, of course, those deadly silver spheres.

Phantasm is a dream-like film, focusing more on atmosphere and ethereal scares than on plot, very influenced by the dream-logic of Dario Argento” says Garris. “Yeah, there’s a plot — two brothers and the local ice cream man believe the mysterious mortician is responsible for a string of deaths in their small town — but this is just a spine to hang a string of truly nightmarish sequences together. Phantasm was made in the pre-digital days…when a low-budget film with lofty ambitions required a lot of imagination. Coscarelli created several iconic visions never before seen on film, but most specifically the silver sphere. Coscarelli’s still cagey about how he did the effects for the flying silver globes that whoosh through the hallways of the mortuary with incredible speed and realism, but they are a sight to behold and would become the focus and highpoint of the film and the four sequels to follows.”

A recently-remastered version of Phantasm is available to watch on Amazon Prime and as part of a 5-disc DVD set. Watch Garris’ full commentary, above.

  • Movie
  • R
  • 94 minutes
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