Phantasm II (1988)

Mike and Reggie are back on the trail of the Tall Man, the mysterious undertaker from the first Phantasm movie.  Mike was committed to a mental hospital for a few years and has transformed into an entirely different actor, but everyone else is the same, just ten years older.

This is such a huge improvement over the first movie that it is a shock.  Instead of a bunch of ridiculous "it was a dream" scenes, piling up to the heavens, dream scenes within dream scenes, you've instead got a cool action/fantasy/horror movie focusing on the much easier to understand theme of Reggie and Mike following the Tall Man, as he leaves devastation everywhere he goes.

It takes the cool stuff that happened at the end of Phantasm, and builds an interesting mythology of it.  And, as the movie poster promises, the ball is back!  This time, there are multiple spheres, each with different powers/weapons.  Man, these things never get old.  For Phantasm V they could just have scene after scene of spheres drilling and slicing people and I would just play the disc on repeat all day, until I was an old man with long fingernails and a general unkempt appearance.  Then I would die and people would say, "don't mourn him- he died doing what he loved, which was wasting his life watching this one stupid movie over and over and over like a fool."

The effects are RADICAL and there is even a thrilling chainsaw battle that is better than most sword fights in serious movies about sword fights.  There is some really gory stuff in here, especially for an American horror film from the late 80s.

The movie is really funny, and it even was meant to be funny.  Some great humor in here, most of it coming from Reggie, who is portrayed as this everyday guy in over his head and he knows it.  This Reggie guy must have taken a bunch of acting lessons or something, because he is so much better in this compared with the first movie that he really steals the show.

There are two stupid things in this movie:

First, the weird love story they have crammed in between Mike and Liz, who is this girl that is in the movie for no reason other than to have a telepathic love interest.  There is a whole scene where she and Mike communicate telepathically while sitting right next to each other, and it's just embarrassing to watch while Mike's voice over goes, "this is great!  We can talk WITH OUR MINDS" while onscreen he is making a happy, but wordless, face.  It just goes on and on.  And there is no point to it, because the telepathy doesn't go on to play any kind of role in resolving the story.

(The second stupid thing is the telepathy actually)

All in all, it's a tremendous improvement over the first movie, and I like it more and more each time I watch it.  Surprisingly, it just gets even better with the third movie, but that is a story for another time.

OR IS IT?!?!?!

*wakes up in a cold sweat*
Oh thank god, it was just a dream!

*zombies pull me through window*


Veronica Fish said...

I used to watch the edited versions of these movies when they were on TV on Saturday afternoons!

newtmonkey said...

You should watch the uncensored version! We can watch it when you come visit!!