Phantasm introduced audiences to two of horror’s most memorable monsters: one, the Tall Man (played with tremendous charisma by Angus Scrimm), an extradimensional wraith in a sensible black suit who is reanimating corpses as diminutive slaves; and two, a little metal ball. To be fair it’s a very shiny metal ball with some pretty sweet knives in it and an ingenious drainage port, but still, making a metal ball scary is no mean feat. And yet the twin terrors of Phantasm haunted video-store cardboard stand-up displays (and the nightmares of the unsuspecting kids that saw them) for decades. A true independent film and labor of love, Phantasm was conceived, written, directed, edited and filmed by one man: Don Coscarelli. Passion projects like this story of two over-curious brothers and the mysterious funeral home operation they uncover are rare enough; try to name passion projects so successful and imaginative they launch a whole franchise and influence a whole genre, and you might only come up with one.
Support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.