Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Game Is Finished, Now You Die: The Phantasm Collection

On April 11th Well Go USA released a very inclusive box set that features all five of the Phantasm films and it’s a doozy. Whether you love or hate the series and/or love or hate specific entries, if you are a horror fanatic or collector than this set is worth the purchase. There are a variety of reasons for this. The box design itself is classy, featuring individual cases for each film with matching covers (or reversible original cover art for those who enjoy those like myself) and it’s made with high quality material so people don’t necessarily have to worry too much about it being damaged quickly as you pull out the films time and time again to revisit them.

The Phantasm Collection also features the new remastered and restored versions of all five films and a variety of great special features on each disc (including a feature length documentary on each film that features so many interviews and segments that any Phans out there will be drooling over it), but this boxset hits all the right notes for those looking to add them to their collection. Not to mention it comes with other goodies to add to its value like a companion book, a slick poster of the collection artwork, and bonus disc with hours and hours of more features. Here at Blood Brothers, we did reviews on each of the films individually to coincide with the release of the set (links below) and it’s hard not to be impressed. Both in the physical look of the films and the treatment of the series itself, which is highlighted by Don Coscarelli’s approval of all of it, it’s the boxset to beat in 2017.

In celebration of this release, we’ve decided to throw down a new Top List for the site focused on The Phantasm Collection. Below we rank each entry of the series with a little blurb to go with it, from worst to best. Of course, all of our readers are invited to spit their own blood on the matter and give us their rankings and why each film lands where it does. With a series that’s as wild as this one is with tonal shifts and outrageous character/plot developments, we look forward to hearing what you have to say too. Of course, we also suggest rewatching each one when you purchase the box set, but we might just be biased.

05. Phantasm: Ravager
On one hand, this is a film that no one thought would ever be made so for Phantasm fans there is certainly a dedication to watch it at least. However, it lacks a few essential things to really fit in and lift itself into the higher echelons that the other films reach and that’s mainly the charismatic touch of Don Coscarelli as a director and a budget to do what they want. At times its ambitious, presenting a kind of futuristic dystopian world and blending various “time lines” into one atmospheric film, but it ultimately feels more like a fan film than a true sequel. For fans mostly. Full review HERE

04. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead
That’s right, I’m going to say that Phantasm III is the ranked at four out of the five films. There is a lot of love for this film in certain circles, but the lacking cohesive narrative and increased focus on humor undermines some of the better elements of the film. If anything, this is perhaps the one sequel to have the most fun with as it goes for broke on some very absurd ideas, but it’s a film that’s a lot of style and wink-wink attitude and less foundational structure to sell it. Full review HERE.

03. Phantasm IV: Oblivion
While this fourth entry tends to get crapped on by fans and critics alike, I have a serious soft spot for what the film accomplished on a miniscule budget and the return to an atmospheric tone for the franchise after parts II and III. It certainly has its flaws in the disconnected duel plot approach and the team had to be creative in getting all the necessary Phantasm elements in there on budget, but I give the film a lot of extra credit for thinking a bit more outside of the box than the rest in getting done what it needed to. Full review HERE.

02. Phantasm II
Like the quadruple barrel shotgun that Reggie carries with him starting in this entry, Phantasm II is easily the most fun of all of the films. It’s ambitious in its designs as it starts exploring the mythos of the series and it has some ridiculously entertaining elements that make it the one entry that a person can watch on repeat and never lose momentum. I mean, it has a chainsaw duel and two exploding houses. It’s the perfect blend of horror and 80s action and easily one of my favorite films from the era, let alone just this franchise. Full review HERE.

01. Phantasm
As always, the original flavor is the best. The original Phantasm is just an ambitious mixture of atmospheric and nightmare influenced horror with enough of an artistic underlining to make sure that it hits the audience deeper than expected. The humor is more subtle here, often being dark and awkward, and it’s easy to see why this film has developed such a dedicated core cult audience and even works to this day. Not only does it remain the best of the franchise, but it’s one of the best horror films to be released in the 70s – an era known for genre defining works. Full review HERE.

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