Phantasm title

AKA: The Never Dead, Das Bose

Tag Line : If this one doesn't scare're already dead!

PhantasmJody Pearson (Bill Thornbury) and his friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) are attending the funeral of their friend Tommy at the Morningside cemetery, who they believe committed suicide. What they don't know however is that Tommy was actually murdered by a mystery woman and an accomplice, who turns out to be the funeral director, known only as "The Tall Man" (played by Angus Scrimm).

Jody's younger brother Mike (A.Michael Baldwin) happens to be spying on the funeral from nearby bushes when he notices something strange. After the proceedings have finished, instead of burying the coffin, the funeral director single headedly lifts the casket out of the grave and carries it back to his hearse. He also catches a few glimpses of small hooded shadowy figures hiding behind some of the gravestones.

Understandably, at first Jody doesn't believe his younger brother's wild stories, thinking that Mike's still upset about the loss of their parents who died several months earlier. However, eventually Mike convinces him and Reggie to check out the funeral home with him after dark, where they make a series of grisly discoveries about who the mysterious Tall Man really is, and what he's been doing to the bodies in the cemetery....

Made w-a-a-a-a-y back in 1979, Phantasm is a thoroughly enjoyable, action packed, low budget romp featuring superhuman funeral directors, spiked flying killer balls and, best of all, zombie killer dwarves (YES that's right). As you can tell, this is not your average horror film. There's some nice gore scenes, and the characters in this film actually have the common sense to arm themselves prior to doing battle with the bad guys (a first methinks). Whilst the Phantasm films may not have had the same following in the UK as they have had in the US, I would STRONGLY urge you to seek this one out if you have not done so already.

All in all great stuff.

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "Where the dead are no longer that way", "Beware the Tall Man. Beware the Ball. Beware the Never Dead".

  • The films budget was $300,000.

  • Director Don Coscarelli almost ditched the dwarf zombie characters as he thought their hooded robes made them look too much like Jawa's from Star Wars.

  • The building being used as the mausoleum was the same mansion house featured in the 1985 James Bond film "A View to a Kill" and the 1976 horror film "Burnt Offerings".

  • The US DVD by MGM and UK DVD by Anchor Bay features several deleted scenes as extras which were cut from the theatrical release. The first shows Mike telling Jody about the weird goings on at the cemetery, followed by Jody getting Mike drunk and having a food fight at Reggie's ice cream parlour. This is followed by Jody visiting his girlfriend at the bank the next day. The second deleted scene shows Mike at the funeral home trying to open a coffin after hearing something inside, but is interrupted by Reggie. The third extra scene is actually an alternate ending showing Jody repeatedly shooting the Tall Man with his shotgun, but it having no effect. Mike then blasts the Tall Man with a Co2 fire extinguisher after realising he is adversely affected by the cold, and his head explodes showering yellow blood everywhere.

  • Three other scenes cut from the film later turned up in the film "Phantasm 4 : Oblivion" as flash backs, showed Mike and Jody trying to Hang the Tall Man, and Mike telling Jody that he broke out of his room to try and save him. The last one was an alternate ending showing Mike being given a lift by Reggie, and Mike hearing the Tall Man's voice, which he tells Reggie to ignore as it's only the wind.

  • Don Corcarelli had to rent much of the film equipment used to make the movie, so to save on money he would hire the equipment out on a Friday, do all his shooting over the weekend and return it Monday, so he could get 3-4 days shooting done whilst only paying for one days rental.

  • The film was originally given an X-rating by the US ratings board, however US critic Charles Champlin, who had been impressed by the film, happened to be friends with one of the people on the board. So he called him up and managed to get him to talk the other board members round into giving it an "R" rating.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

Cover Gallery.

Buy Online.

Buy it from Amazon

Buy the UK DVD

Buy the UK DVD box set parts 1-4 (digipack).

Buy it at Amazon.Com

Buy the US DVD.

Notes on affiliate sites.


Other films in the series.


Reviews A-Z.

Reviews index. Home. Menu.