Directed by Don Coscarelli [Other horror films: Phantasm (1979), Phantasm II (1988), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998), Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), John Dies at the End (2012)]
A definite drop-off from the first two of this cult classic series, the third entry still has a lot of solid stuff that makes it worth checking out still.
By-and-large, this film isn’t really that far removed from the second Phantasm. It’s another road-trip, chasing down the Tall Man-type deal, with a few new characters thrown into the mix. It is, however, a bit lighter in tone than the previous film. It takes some odd turns (what they do with Jody – and perhaps Michael – was, shall we say, an interesting choice), and feels somewhat disjointed toward the end. Not even the dreamy disorientation such as the first film, but a ‘I have no idea what’s going on’ type thing.
Before that, though, let’s talk cast: Unfortunately, the stand-outs of this movie are pretty much the stand-outs from the last one: Reggie Bannister and, of course, Angus Scrimm. A. Michael Baldwin came back, but I’m not wooed by his acting. And as fun as Gloria Lynne Henry sometimes was as Rocky, more often than not, she came across as over-the-top. The young Kevin Connors did fine enough, but his character struck me as moderately pointless.
So you put together a, on average, less-than-stellar cast with less-than-stellar plot points (those three zombies that popped up multiple times toward the end rubs me the wrong way), and you get a pretty flimsy Phantasm. Which isn’t to say the film is particularly bad – despite the lighter tone, some of these characters can be pretty fun, such as Rocky – but compared to the first two flicks, this has been a let-down each time I’ve seen it.
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