The Phantasm film series, which this would make the fifth installment, is a bit of an odd duck in the horror film community as its quite beloved, but no one ever talks about it. The first part came out in 1979, and now this purported final part has finally been released to bring us select few some sort of closure.
It’s been a hell of a long time since Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) has disappeared, and his friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) has been searching for him nonstop, getting closer and closer to the only one who can give him some answers, The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). But the closer Reggie gets, he may discover a truth that he isn’t ready for.
I’m not going to bullshit you here; if you’ve never seen a Phantasm movie before, don’t fucking start here (why anyone would start a series at part 5 is beyond me). Phantasm: Ravager keeps the tradition of the other films by being really confusing. The line between reality and dream is so blurred that even Freddy Krueger would have a hard time keeping track. In it’s own twisted way, that’s the charm of the whole series. Was trying to decipher where we were in the narrative. The filmmakers didn’t even try to make this movie accessible to the common folk.
I can only speak here as a fan, unapologetically, but knowing this is the last part brought a sense of melancholy to me. Even though Phantasm as a whole has been around for decades, I still feel like this is my thing. Talk to anybody and they’ll know who Freddy or Jason is, but no one knows who the fuck the Tall Man is.
The relationship between Mike and Reggie is a special one; a man who swore his late best friend to take care of his brother. Reggie, till the very end, is a man of his word, and it’s hard for me to process that I reached the end of a journey that I gave up on to be blunt (The last one came out 18 years ago; when I first saw them). So to see and hear all the talk about the family you make, and never giving up on them, never fails to get to me emotionally.
So as a fan, it was nostalgic and bittersweet that I won’t see these characters again, and the main theme still gives me chills, but the narrative does jump around a bit much for my taste, and I wish the movie were a bit more grand in scale and scope. Look, I’m grateful we got the fucking movie, but I’m not gonna lie to myself in saying this is EXACTLY what I wanted. Shit, name me another horror film franchise that actually ended things and it stayed that way? That’s right you fucking can’t. Even with it’s flaws, strictly as a fan, it works as a farewell. For everyone else? You can fuck off if you’re stupid enough to think you can watch a part 5, and have it make sense.