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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – May 8, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMBDouble feature month continues with a big headscratcher!  Although, hopefully this won’t be on the wishlist for too long.

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Phantasm wishlist

Phantasm (1978)

Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (1994)

Phantasm V is finally upon us (and hopefully that drops on Blu) and we’d all be set to complete our collections, except…there’s only one Phantasm movie on Blu-ray.  And oddly, its Phantasm II, not the first film.  We’ll talk about why that’s incredibly bizarre in a moment.  The original Phantasm walks the line between between niche cult item and second tier horror franchise in terms of public conscious.  Angus Scrimm’s “Tall Man” is an iconic horror figure and one that comes as severely underrated in terms of what he does and his originality.

MSDPHAN EC029

The whole Phantasm franchise has been the dreamchild of Don Coscarelli.  He’s been the force behind all 4 (now 5) films in the franchise.  With the exception of one cast member in one movie, he’s managed to keep everything together and have a cohesive unit among his little series.  The inaugural film in the series borders the line between arthouse and exploitation.  It culminates in quite a unique and unnerving film.  Also never really mentioned, Phantasm has one of the greatest horror film scores of all time.  Its incredibly iconic and sucks you in the moment you hear it.  Its up with the likes of the big dogs like The Exorcist and Halloween easily.  Take a quick moment and listen, there’s no denying the theme will always stick with you.

Phantasm 3

Phantasm III falls more in line with the tone and style of the 2nd film.  The only difference is we get the actor who played Mike back (fun fact: played by James LeGros in Phantasm II as the studio felt he would be a bigger box office draw. You know, that household name James LeGros?).  There’s some disdain from the fans on this one, but I think its honestly just more of the same.  And the second film is a road movie shoot-em up and its a blast.  This 3rd does that and tries to carve its own identity.  Yes, there’s a silly kid in the movie, but that never really bugged me.  Its the first of the series to go straight to video, but it doesn’t feel or look that much cheaper than the 2nd one (and the 2nd one was the only one to be a major studio film).

Phantasm 4

Last year, Scream Factory released Phantasm II on Blu-ray, meanwhile the original Phantasm was not on Blu-ray yet.  This is quite the feat, because Phantasm II took FOREVER to just get to DVD in the US.  There was some sort of funky home video rights on the film and Universal had to wait for some of them to revert back.  So for the longest time, your only avenue to viewing Phantasm II was an old out of print VHS tape (or an internet rip of it) and PAL DVDs.  It JUST came out on DVD 2009 just to show you how long it took and how recent it came out.  So, its sort of weird to have the part 2, but not even the original is available.  Are there any other series like this out there?

Phantasm 2

Who currently has the rights to Phantasm and Phantasm III?  It’s Anchor Bay!  And had this been the early 2000s, they would have put these suckers right the heck out!  But instead, they’re too good for the vintage titles they hold the rights too (and even have just let rights slip off like Evil Dead 2 and the first 2 Hellraiser movies).  Ever since Starz bought them out, they’ve been very selective with the old school horror titles they put out on Blu-ray.  Phantasm V is coming though, and it should peak some interest and bump up the relevancy of this series.  I know I don’t have Phantasm IV on this list, but I’m sticking with my double features motif and I’ve always found that movie pretty weak in comparison to the first 3 (its simple scenes pieced together with cut footage from the first film and voice overs).  Anywho, c’mon Anchor Bay, pop these babies out!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

2 Responses to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – May 8, 2014”


  1. Eric Flapjack Ashley

    Phantasm V was kind of a surprise announcement for me. I didn’t even know they were making one, let alone that it is already completed!

    I actually liked Phantasm II the most out of the films, but that could be because I saw that one first. I didn’t like the third one because of that annoying kid, and their quick throwaway disposal of one returning character.

    The franchise though is a good one, and I don’t think it gets the respect it deserves.

  2. Brandon Peters

    It really should garner more respect, but by and large it is a cult item so the size of the fanbase and praise from mainstream sources is always going to be rather small. Plus, 2 of the films went straight to video, which usually will take it off the relevance radar.