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"Phantasm II" The Glorious Return of the Tall Man!


11/27/2018

The review for the original Phantasm Film can be found here Phantasm (1979)

The sequel to the original cult favorite film “Phantasm” didn’t come around until 1988 which was about 10 years later.  Writer/Director Don Coscarelli is back along with the two main protagonists Mike and Reggie as they continue their battle with the Tall Man.  Like most sequels it plays on what worked well in the first film as well as trying to add to the whole mythology.  We get a lot more of the Tall Man and of course those crazy flying spheres of death.  We also get a couple girls to join the group, because obviously the guys need love interests.

Starting right where the last film left off we get a kind of reminder of what happen previously. Then we flash forward a number of years to see Mike (now played by “Minnesota Native” James Le Gros) a 19 year old just getting out of a Mental Hospital.  He is taken in by Reggie and on upon pulling up his house the place explodes with family members inside.  The shit then starts to gets real.  There is an action movie style gearing up for war sequence at a supply store they break into and then they hit the road in search of the Tall Man and his army of undead dwarfs.  The Tall Man is scouring small towns on the pacific northwest and digging up cemeteries to build his other dimensional armies.

This film does have its fair share of humor to go along with the horror and is mostly carried by Reggie who hauls around a ridiculous tool belt of weapons.  He also totes a seldom used four barreled sawed-off shot gun (wicked awesome).  Mike and Reggie are a great horror duo somewhat similar to the more recent “Tucker and Dale vs Evil”.  In their travels the guys pick up a hitchhiker named Alchemy, a free spirited love interest for Reggie.  When they track down the Tall Man to another small town Mike finally meets up with Liz, a girl he has a sort of telepathic connection too.  Liz is quite the typical innocent, suburban white girl.  She has a run in with the Tall Man at her Grandmothers funeral and is now on the run from him.  We now have our fab four group of hero’s and in the funniest scene of the film Reggie and Alchemy have this weirdly awkward sex scene.  There is also a scene in the crematorium where a guy is bagging up some ashes labeled “Sam Raimi” a jab at the writer/director of the “Evil Dead” Films.  

As promised we get more flying silver spheres chasing and mutilating people, but they do also have another purpose as the guys find out.  To round out the general awesomeness of this movie is a  chainsaw fight and another surprise ending.  Just like all of the 80s horror super villain’s you can’t really kill evil and the Tall Man will surely be back for more sequels.  In the time between reviewing the first film in 2009 and this review another sequel was made in 2016 called “Phantasm: Ravager” still starring the original Reggie (Reggie Bannister) and Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man.  Sadly Angus passed away shortly after completing the film as he was 89 years old.  As of right now all 5 Phantasm films are available to rent from Amazon’s streaming service. 


Time to get "In the Mood for Love"



11/23/2018

The first film ever reviewed on this blog, back in 2009, was the amazing “Chungking Express” by writer/director Wong Kar-Wai.  For the 9th anniversary of the Rockport Review I’m going back to the beginning with a review of Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece “In the Mood for Love” starring Tony Leung (who also starred in “Chungking Express”) and Maggie Cheung.  As I write this the film currently ranks #237 on imdb.com's list of the Top 250 rated films.

“In the Mood for Love” takes place in Hong Kong in the early 1960s and is a slow burn film about restraint, repression, guilt and relationships prior to a cultural revolution.  Mr. Chow and his wife move into a new apartment right next to Mrs. Chan and her husband.  Although we hear their spouses talk we never actually see their faces, which was a deliberate attempt to keep them isolated and mysterious.  Mr. Chow and Mrs Chan do have a sort of chemistry together but it looks to be purely plutonic.  They have a lot in common and enjoy each others company, while their spouses are supposedly away for business.  While out for noodles they begin to suspect that their spouses are having an affair with each other and realizing this has them mulling over whether it’s now okay for them to pursue a relationship of their own.  This film is interested in the ethics of human emotion and the human condition.  Everything that went into the creation of this film has been well done, from the actors, the costuming, the music and cinematography.  Even with everything I’ve mentioned above I though the film was good but not the greatest.  I think it has to do with cultural differences.  I can acknowledge that it is a great film, but I personally liked “Chungking Express” a lot better.  Even though both films deal a lot with love, relationships and loneliness at their core.  “Chungking Express” has this vital kinetic energy to it.  It was also a more modern depiction while “In the Mood for Love” plays a lot more like an old Victorian love story.  Both of these films are available from the Criterion Collection and I own them both.