Director: Don Coscarelli
Cast: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Angus Scrimm
Release Date: December 6, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
At a funeral, Mike (Michael Baldwin), watches as a tall mortician clad in black (Angus Scrimm) tosses the unburied coffin into a waiting hearse as if it were nothing. Seeking the truth behind this unusual sight, Mike breaks into the mortuary, where he comes face-to-face with the sinister Tall Man. After barely managing to escape with his life, Mike enlists the help of his brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury), and their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Together they set out to uncover the secrets of the Tall Man and those who dwell in his hellish world.
The original cult classic from 1979 that started it all arrives home fully remastered and available in high definition for the first time ever on Blu-ray. Written and directed by Don Coscarelli (John Dies at the End, Bubba Ho-Tep) ‘Phantasm’ tells the creepy tale of a young boy who accidentally discovers a sinister figure in the cemetery removing corpses. Known only as the tall man, the young boy’s insistence in uncovering the man’s purpose and identity soon leads to capturing his focus and subsequently leading his friends into a terrifying confrontation with true evil. ‘Phantasm’ is an offbeat, atmospheric and unarguably original horror film from a notable filmmaker, and its fans should be absolutely thrilled to finally have the ability to experience it in glorious high definition, and beautifully remastered.
Fans of Don Coscarelli’s original classic will almost certainly want to make sure to pick up a copy of ‘Phantasm: Remastered’ on Blu-ray to add to your collection. The original film that started it all finally comes to Blu-ray at long last, fully remastered and sporting fantastic high definition video and audio presentations of the feature film, in addition to a number of fun extras including an ‘Audio Commentary track with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Cast members’, plus more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). While many of the fans were likely hoping for a better collection of supplemental material on the release, the few added goodies combined with the solid HD presentation of the movie should likely still make this Blu-ray release a definite must own for many of the diehard fans of the franchise. Unless of course you’re making a point to hold off for the BD box set with the entire collection due out relatively soon.
Overall, diehard fans of Don Coscarelli’s 1979 cult classic and the franchise as a whole will definitely want to consider picking up a copy of ‘Phantasm: Remastered’ on Blu-ray. Arriving on Blu-ray for the first time ever, it delivers a fully remastered presentation featuring solid high definition video and audio presentations, and a few enjoyable extras, although most are archival bonus features. This new Blu-ray release should also make an absolutely perfect way for any other fellow genre fans that might have never had the pleasure of the film to experience ‘Phantasm’ for the first time with the best possible video and audio quality available.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Phantasm: Remastered’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty impressive as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and fairly gorgeous presentation from start to finish. Fully remastered, yet fortunately still including plenty of grain, pops and other mild artifacts representative of its source. It holds up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition presentation of the remastered cult classic that should thrill the fans.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, along with an optional Original Mono soundtrack. I personally opted for viewing with the 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack utilized and this lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, sharp and occasionally fairly active audio presentation throughout. Taking advantage of all five available channels on a number of occasions in order to immerse the viewer within the wonderful score, and to send the silver spheres, along with nature elements and more throughout the various speakers, while always making certain that any dialogue which might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments Coscarelli’s classic quite well and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Phantasm: Remastered’ includes a few enjoyable extras, primarily comprised of archival bonus content. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli, and Actors Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, & Bill Thornbury’, in addition to a new ‘Graveyard Carz Episode’ dedicated to the film (running approximately 11 minutes in length). We are also treated to ‘Interviews from 1979 with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm’ (running approximately 28 minutes), plus a number ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (approximately 10 minutes combined). The original ‘1979 Theatrical Trailer’ and the new ‘Remastered Trailer’ (approximately 2 minutes apiece) for the movie are also included.