Monday, April 6, 2009

A Ghost in Four Parts

Phantasm: Wow, that girl playing Mike sure is pretty. Wait, what do you mean that's a boy? Damned 70's hair. Also, if the kid's 13, why the hell is he driving his brother's car and drinking a beer? Some people have no idea of proper child raising. All jokes aside, this is a pretty trippy movie. Dude has sex with a girl in graveyard, and she kills him. Then the rest of the movie is a series of dreams and crazy shit. Zombie dwarves. Portals to another world. A Tall Man with yellow blood. Flying spheres of death. Those are by far the best, and most iconic, pieces of this franchise. I mean, come on, silver balls the size of a tennis ball that fly through the air, extend blades, and drill into your head. Who doesn't want one of those? I loved the scene with the sphere killing a guy. All blood that blood shooting out of the hole, then the dude dead on the floor in a puddle of his own urine. Amazing. Nice ending, too, where the whole thing is a dream. Or is it...Oh yeah, almost forgot how cool it was seeing all that marble. Just tons and tons of marble. If you have seen the movie, you will know what i mean. If not, why are you not watching it already?

Phantasm II: This movie is MIA. Not available on DVD that I can tell. Apparently available on VHS, but who the hell sells that anymore. The Wikipedia article tells the plot. Thankfully, someone put it on YouTube. I feel bad for watching it there, instead of paying to buy or rent a copy. But, if it isn't possible to see it the proper way, I suppose I am willing to go through other methods. I blame the movie studios for not giving me the option of doing it right. Anyhow, the installment picks up where the last one left off. Except, once again, it isn't what it seems to be. None of it has happened yet, while it is also years later. Or something. The timeline and what is real and what isn't for these movies is somewhat screwy. On purpose, which I think is a great touch. There's some awesome homemade weapons too. 4-barrel sawed-off shotgun, homemade flamethrower. Awesome stuff. Lots of dead, or "murdered" small towns. Oh, hey, this takes place in Oregon. Somehow, i thought it was Midwest or New England. Cool to learn. I kind of wonder how that yellow blood tasted. Grandpa Zombie just wanted some love, I think. Lots of marble again. I think every town or city needs a building that is 90% marble. It just looks classy. Introduction of some new bad guys, dudes in work coveralls and gasmasks called Gravers. At this point (50 minutes in) I am wondering why the Tall Man wants the girl so much. I see a reason for Mike and Reggie, but not the girl yet. Near-death by rosary. Nice. Oh, now they have explained why the Tall Man wants the girl. Stupid psychics. Reggie is so bad at the hero thing, but I love him for it. Gold Sphere is even cooler than the normal ones, which is saying a lot considering how awesome the originals are. Getting drilled in the pit then chainsawed in the groin has got to suck. Just as I was thinking that these movies are pretty cool for how low gore they are, somebody has to have his eyeballs pop. I was expecting Alchemy's secret to have been revealed earlier. Like during sex. That would fuck up your day. Another ending that is possibly a dream and possibly not. One last thought, I am positive I have seen some of these scenes before. There are a handful of them that are really familiar, but the movie itself I know is new to me. Strange.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead The is one that I know exists on DVD, but have been unable to find. So, once again YouTube to the rescue. Not the perfect solution, but workable for now. I swear that this is the only series I will do this with. As far as I can tell, all of the other movies I care to review are available on Netflix anyhow. I like how the recap at the beginning uses material from both of the first two movies, but in a way to tell a slightly different story than they actually told. As before, this one starts right where the last one left off. Well played how they reuse the scenes from the end of the last one to start this one, but with the original Mike. Though, the death of Elizabeth was random and stupid. I do wonder why the Tall Man wants Mike so bad though. Obviously, it wasn't what he was told last time. Apparently the balls have brains and eyes. Who knew. Jodi's back. Kind of. Interesting development there. Holy crap, this kid is hardcore. He will fuck your day up, and in a clever way too. Oh look, my least favorite character in a movie. I hated Rocky the first time I saw this movie, and I hate her still. Reggie's dream is funny, and totally expected from him. Tall Man's severed anything is something you do not want to mess with. Zombie Looters...or is that Looter Zombies? So, the Tall Man makes the spheres and dwarves out of the same source. Interesting. I am liking how the mythology is expanding a bit with this. Still have no real idea what is overall going on. Apparently, Jodi being fried one time to many turned his ball into a badass black one, instead of the silver and gold we have seen before. Nice, shiny black ball. Mike has a secret...maybe. Rocky finally leaves, but Reggie is a dumbass who has to keep poking around. The standard ending, but this time with less resolved than before. I need to see the next movie soon to see what the hell is going on.

Phantasm IV: Oblivion Starting at usual with a montage of scenes from previous movies to recap. This time it seems mostly ro hold true to the story of the last movie. Also taking place immediately after the event of the last one, but altered a bit. No sign of Timmy, so I guess he really did die at the end of the last one. We have this great flashback to scenes taking place during the first movie, but not actually from it. Unused footage getting used finally. A good idea. Also, return of the creepy fortuneteller. Been a while, hah. Deomn cop is why you never want to be pulled over. Ever. Placing the dwarves and Gravers in the desert reminds me of jawas and tusken raiders too much. Civil War flashback. We get an attempt at an origin for the Tall Man. I have a weakness for movies like this that tell the history of the characters. One of my favorite Hellraisers is the 4th one, for the origin story. I'll have to try and review those sometime. I like how this Phantasm has a lot of old scenes that were left unused from the original movie. Some of those old scenes are quite awesome. Really, this is a pretty fun addition to the series. I just wish they could get together whatever they need to get another one of these out. I want some closure, to see if they can actually stop the Tall Man for good.

So, overall, an interesting series. I wonder how much of this all was planned ahead of time. There are some indications that they may have known the overarching plot from the beginning. But, the way each movie contradicts the last in slight ways seems to show there was little forethought. Unless that was on purpose, in which case it was fairly well handled. The thought that nothing is what it seems, the reality is malleable, is a pretty deep one. If that's the actual plan for the series, then damn do they show it well. There are some great ideas and images in these movies. I can totally understand why these are so popular.

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