Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)

phantasm iii lord of the dead poster 1994 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 7/10

Still love how the series looks

Largely nonsensical and many won't want the effort to even try to figure it out

Movie Info

Movie Name: Phantasm III:  Lord of the Dead

Studio:  Starway International Inc.

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  February 24, 1994 (Japan)/May 6, 1994 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

phantasm iii lord of the dead angus scrimm tall man sentinel ball

The Tall Man has the best toys

The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) has survived and is coming for Mike (A Michael Baldwin).  Realizing the Tall Man has some strange plot for Mike, Reggie (Reggie Bannister) must free Mike when he falls into Reggie’s hands.  Reggie is guided by one of the Tall Man’s sphere possessed by his old friend Jody (Bill Thornbury) and joined by a boy named Tim (Kevin Connors) and woman named Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry).  The Tall Man’s plans are starting to take shape and Reggie must shut him down!

Written, produced, and directed by Don Coscarelli, Phantasm III:  Lord of the Dead is a horror fantasy film.  Following Phantasm II in 1988, the movie received a limited release before getting a wide release on VHS.  It received average to negative reviews.

I loved Phantasm II when it was released and thought the whole concept and ideas were crazy and fun.  I hadn’t seen Phantasm and immediately went out and rented the original (actually seeing it before I could get my hands on Phantasm II).  Phantasm III was a college movie and once again, I rushed to the video store to get it…but it wasn’t as compelling as the first two films.

phantasm iii lord of the dead sentinel ball kills tanesha sarah scott davis

Alas, poor Tanesha…we barely knew you

Phantasm III really is more of the same, but by three films in, you are starting to expect some answers…especially since the film begins to imply that there are answers.  This movie really starts to dive deeper into the Tall Man’s plot and goals.  You know he’s amassing an army and that he intends to take over Earth.  You don’t know his plans for Michael and why Michael is so tied to the Tall Man.  It is kind of a beautiful mess.

The film largely is held together by the cast which works like an Evil Dead movie.  Reggie Bannister gets the fun lines and has some borderline sexual harassment scenes with Gloria Lynne Henry (aka Rocky).  It is a little uncomfortable now to see him trying so hard to go to bed with her, but it is justified in that she gets the best of him.  Kevin Connors is a kid actor and kind of takes the void left by Mike as he has gotten older.  Bill Thornbury returns for the movie as Jody and A. Michael Baldwin reprises his role as Mike after being left out of the second movie due to studio issues.  The star of the movie continues to be Angus Scrimm as the malignant Tall Man and he revels in the role.

phantasm iii lord of the dead ending balls reggie bannister sentinels

Reggie just got “Balled”

The Phantasm movies are all about the crazy visuals.  I don’t think that the movie pushes the visuals as far as the previous two movies (the zombie people are rather generic).  I do like more of the “balls” (they are called Sentinels here), but the dwarf characters aren’t in the film much.

Phantasm III:  Lord of the Dead continues the fun weird trip of Phantasm.  It is the type of movie that you just kind of have to go with to enjoy (most of Don Coscarelli’s movies are like that).  I don’t think it is as good as the other entries, but it is a worthy follow-up and advances the overall story.  Phantasm III:  Lord of the Dead is followed by Phantasm IV:  Oblivion in 1998.

Related Links:

Phantasm (1979)

Phantasm II (1988)

Phantasm IV:  Oblivion (1998)

Phantasm:  Ravager (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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