Franchise Fuckery: Phantasm II (1988)

The only time people get excited to hear “The Ball is Back!”

First off, let me say that Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm series falls just shy of comprehensibility.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable though!  The first installment delivers the chills and spills but not much in clues.  The second one reveals more, but not much more.  Part II seems to reveal that what occurs in the first film is like a traveling act that moves from town to town after running out of people.

Don’t haggle with the fucking jawas Uncle Owen

Reg and Mike are back fighting the Tall Man and his army of the dead.  After Mike is released from the nut house, Reggie takes him in to visit his family.  Alas, Reggie’s house is blown to smithereens wiping out his family partially fulfilling Mike’s delusion that the house was blown up previously.  After the funeral they begin a hunt for the Tall Man driving through a wasteland of small towns that the Tall Man has destroyed.  They stop off and MacGuyver together a mishmash of weapons from multiple shotguns banded together and something that looks like it is as explosive and dangerous to the user as to the jawa.

That’s it Reg!  Get my ten fucking bucks for Phantom Fucking Menace.

Reg has a badass car and he and Mike go from wasted and empty ghost town–each with their empty cemetery–to the next.  They have to fight their way through traps the Tall Man has left for them in some of the towns and along the way they pick up a cute hitchhiker named Alchemy (what?).  The trio continue driving west until they get to the last town and find the Tall Man is there.  Luckily enough Alchemy’s uncle owns a bed and breakfast in town.

This creeps me right the fuck out.

The visuals are horrifying and the premise is still as scary as shit.  This tall cat slips into town unnoticed and takes up shop at the local mortuary and cemetery.  He turns the dead into demon jawas and uses them as slaves in another dimension.  As he gets impatient he sends them out to finish off some folks along with his whirring, flying chrome balls of doom.  

Unfortunately the bed and breakfast are abandoned. as is most of the town.  This time the Tall Man is set up at a small town Catholic Church.  In a moment of dark humor the priest has had enough of the sacrilege and stabs the latest corpse right in front of the new widow.  Liz is the granddaughter of the most recent deader and as it turns out she has been having psychic visions of Mike and he of her (what?).

Awesome gore in this flick.

Welp, the balls fly and off some people.  Including some of the Tall Man’s minions–who appear to be living men (what?).  Why not just all demon jawas?  They are effective after all.  Finally Reggie and Mike tangle with the Tall Man.  Reggie injects him with acid and he starts to bubble and spew.  We get one of the coolest ills when some clawed tentacle thing, it’s a technical term, climbs out of the Tall Man’s head.  Why? Because Angus Scrimm just does not look fucking creepy enough I guess.  The Tall Man falls and Reggie continues torching the hell out of the place even though every one on this side of the dimension door is dead.  And I mean everyone.  The whole fucking town was wiped before they got there.  It ends in typical Phantasm style– leaving a lot of questions with few to no answers and gives you a fucking engraved invitation to the sequel!

I’m telling you he’s a bad dude and underrated.  Would love to see more shit from Reggie!

This movie is far from perfect but well worth the price of admission all the same.  I love Reggie Bannister and think he is underrated at a genre workhorse.  Dude sells his role in the Phantasm movies.  I mean he is the toughest and baddest fucking ice cream man and demon jawa exterminator around!  Alchemy shows off her sweet ta-tas as she fucks Reggie (dude finally gets his reward!). The only real critique I have are too many fucking voiceover exposition dumps with too many fucking characters.  Who’s point of view is this supposed to be from Reggie’s, Mike’s, Liz’s, or mine?  Fucking choose already!


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