31 Days Of Hell: Phantasm: Ravager (2016) – Reviewed

Phantasm returns for the fifth and final installment, with it being seventeen years since the 1998 release of Phantasm IV: Oblivion and thirty seven years since the original incarnation premiering in 1979. Despite what was some obvious budgetary constraints and fairly average CGI, there is more than enough interesting moments in this to please fans of the series. It may not be the best of the five movies, but it is a fitting send off to one of my favorite horror series. The story involves Reggie’s (Reggie Bannister) continued search for his friends as he takes on The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), the deadly spheres, and his evil minions, all while flipping back and forth into different realities and time frames. This calls into question whether any of the events of the previous films were even real, or just part of Reggie’s failing mind.

Don Coscarelli and David Hartman created a fascinating story that brings the series and character arc full circle. The first movie focused on the boy Mike and how he had to cope with the deaths of his family members at the hands of The Tall Man. This one flips it around and focuses on the issues of aging and having to deal with memory loss and impending death. As with the previous four pictures in the series, part of the appeal is the fact that the story revolves around the same primary characters and the actors that portray them.

It was nice to see all of the main actors come back for one final appearance, especially Scrimm who sadly passed away in January. Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury reprise their respective roles, but the main focus in this one is Reggie. There were also appearances from Kathy Lester (Phantasm) and Gloria Lynne Henry (Phantasm III). Bannister absolutely rules the screen and gives a top notch performance, going through various issues that make him question his mental capacities. He shows multiple sides of the character. We see the badass portion, the humorous side, and the weakness and frailty of an aging man. Scrimm has limited screen time, but his portions that are face to face with Bannister are well worth watching. We see a somewhat different version of The Tall Man, one in which the actor is most likely self aware of his eventual death and it come across in the portrayal of the character.

The camera work is well and done and the motion picture has a nice overall look to it, making good use of the desert and other physical locations. The lighting and camera angles are all effective and help create the atmosphere fans have come to expect. It has to be noted that there are a lot of CGI effects, mostly with the balls and futuristic scenarios. They aren’t the greatest, but I don’t think true fans will have an issue with this.

angus scrimm
Thank You, RIP

Bottom line, the filmmakers essentially gave the fans everything that they have come to expect. There was the returning cast and characters, The Tall Man, the balls, the 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda, the four barrel shotgun, and tons of blood and violence. With the addition of several truly kickass moments, fans should be pleased with this final chapter.

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