Movie Name: Phantasm: Ravager
Studio: Silver Sphere Corporation
Release Date(s): September 25, 2016 (Austin’s Fantastic Fest)/October 4, 2016 (VOD)/October 7, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
Reggie (Reggie Bannister) continues his battle against the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). While trudging through the desert, Reggie finds himself drifting in and out of reality, and a world where he is in a hospital dying. With Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) trying to convince Reggie that he’s suffering from dementia, Reggie questions if it is another trick of the Tall Man, and Reggie must find his friends and allies before it is too late.
Directed by David Hartman (with a script by series creator Don Coscarelli), Phantasm: Ravager (sometimes seen as Phantasm V: Ravager or stylized as Phantasm: RaVager) is the final entry in the series. Following Phantasm IV: Oblivion in 1998, Phantasm: Ravager was in production for a number of years before being released at the Austin’s Fantastic Fest in 2016. The film was released to average reviews.
Phantasm was one of the strangest horror films of all time. It was odd, trippy, and had some scares. The series continued the strangeness and stories that almost…almost make sense. Phantasm: Ravager follows this trend.
The story for Phantasm: Ravager is almost incidental. It is one of those movies where you almost think you know what’s going on, where it is going, and how it could be a promising story…and then it changes it again. The oddness of the movie keeps you watching…what is reality?
One of the best things about the Phantasm films is that it seems like the actors are having fun. The first movie seemed to be a labor of love for Don Coscarelli and the casting was more of convenience than anything. Through the movies it feels like the actors have become family and that makes the movie work on a different level and you’ve seen the characters age. The movie is the last film of Angus Scrimm (aka Lawrence Rory Guy) who died in early 2016 but it also has the return of Gloria Lynne Henry who appeared in Phantasm III.
The visuals for Phantasm always help the movie. The Ball is just such a great weapon/enemy (?) and the Tall Man manages to be creepy. Here, Scrimm is creepy in that you have to wonder how well he was when shooting it (the hospital bed scene was his last scene). The original movie was much lower budget, and I prefer lower budget to the bigger budget.
Phantasm: Ravager doesn’t really feel like an ending. The movie ends pretty ambiguously and easily could continue in another movie. I had rather wished that the movie had been a little more final in its ending. Still, it is nice to see the Phantasm team (kind of) ride off into the sunset.