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Posts Tagged ‘Don Coscarelli’

Phantasm: Ravager

Monday, October 10th, 2016

tn_phantasmvPHANTASM RAVAGER is the apparent conclusion to Don Coscarelli’s PHANTASM saga, now available on VOD and very limited theatrical release. It doesn’t necessarily feel like it has to be the last one, but they probly wouldn’t want to continue without Tall Man Angus Scrimm, who passed away after filming.

This one focuses entirely on Reggie (Reggie Bannister), the ice cream man/singer-songwriter turned four-barrel-shotgun-toting warrior drifter who started as the adult friend to the young protagonist, Mike (A. Michael Baldwin). We first find him falling through a portal back to earth in a stretch of desert somewhere. The badass opening sequence recalls MAD MAX as he scavenges wreckage in a seemingly unpopulated area, has to get back his missing Barracuda and then is involved in a high speed chase with the famous silver balls that fly around trying to stab or drill people’s heads. While this chapter does suffer from some phony digital gore, that’s thankfully not the case with the many incidents of balls digging into people’s skulls and spewing geysers of grue out their exhaust valves like water out the back of a jet ski. (read the rest of this shit…)

Kenny & Company

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

tn_kennyBefore he did PHANTASM, a 22 year old Don Coscarelli wasn’t even looking to be a horror director. He got together the people he knew and filmed in his neighborhood and made this sweet coming-of-age type comedy about growing up in the California suburbs of the ’70s. Kenny (Dan McCann) is a kid about 12 or 13, his company is Doug (PHANTASM star A. Michael Baldwin) and Sherman (Jeff Roth), a goofy younger kid from across the street who they pick on but start becoming real friends with when they see him getting beat up by Johnny Hoffman (Willy Masterson), the same neighborhood bully they live in terror of.
(read the rest of this shit…)

John Dies At the End

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

tn_johndiesDon Coscarelli is really underappreciated. Including by me. Everything he’s done is good, right? I haven’t seen his first two, but one (JIM, THE WORLD’S GREATEST) is not on video and the other (KENNY & COMPANY) I’ve heard nothing but good things about. All four PHANTASM movies are pretty great. I like THE BEASTMASTER. I like SURVIVAL QUEST. But he’s a low budget independent guy who wants to do his own thing, so he takes a while. It’s been 10 years since his last movie, the one-of-a-kind BUBBA HO-TEP. It’s been 7 years just since his last TV work, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, easily the best Masters of Horror episode I’ve seen.

So he’ll be out of sight for years and then he’ll travel through the portal of time to bring us one of these distinctive sort of fringe horror-ish movies. This time he brought us JOHN DIES AT THE END, probly the closest thing he’s done to an actual comedy. You could compare it to something like JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER or maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, but still with enough weird, non-jokey horror in its guts to keep me satisfied. It arguably leans a little bit more to the left on the horror-to-comedy spectrum than those ones, but not by a huge amount. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Beastmaster

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

After watching the complete PHANTASM series I thought maybe it was worth re-evaluting this Don Coscarelli individual, so I looked him up on that one websight. Turns out he did this BEASTMASTER movie that every American male child of the 1980s always talks about – I had no idea he did that one and I didn’t have cable in the ’80s so I’d never seen it before.

THE BEASTMASTER stars Marc Singer as Dar, aka The Beastmaster, a shirtless dude who is friends with animals. Basically, he is the Aquaman of land, he can communicate with the animals and they help him out, but you won’t see any animals talking like a Dr. Dolittle picture or the later installments of the Air Bud saga such as AIR BUDDIES, SPACE BUDDIES or CSI – CANINE SPORTS INVESTIGATORS. No, it’s pure man-to-animal telepathy. So, you know, he basically hangs out with alot of different animals, they are his homies, they goof around together and then if he falls in some quicksand or something they help him. Come to think of it this is not that great of a power, if he just had human friends they would actually be better at pulling him out of quicksand than a couple of ferrets. I mean it’s simple physics, really. So maybe his real power is that he’s friends with John Amos from Good Times. (read the rest of this shit…)

Phantasm Oblivion

Friday, November 7th, 2008


get it, OBLIVION, and it’s part 4
If there are any Romans out there I think you’ll get the joke. Little numeral humor there on the part of the Phantasmers

I hate to be a tattle tale but PHANTASM part 4 here is a total fuckin cheater. If you saw part 3 you may remember the ending: Reggie is pinned against a wall by a swarm of metal balls. He tells the little HOME ALONE kid Tim to leave, that they’ve lost. But the kid won’t leave. Then I guess a dwarf might’ve jumped out and grabbed him or something, I don’t remember for sure. But the point is he was there. (read the rest of this shit…)

Phantasm III

Friday, November 7th, 2008

There’s a built-in weakness with the PHANTASM series. A big part of the PHANTASM appeal is the reveal of the crazy fuckin weird ass shit (or CFWAS) that’s goin down, and not really being able to comprehend it all. So in the course of each sequel they end up having to do two things that are sort of problematic:

  1. explain more things, making it less mysterious and
  2. pile on more CFWAS, stretching the credibility more and more to where it’s not quite as easy to swallow.

So you got those things, but otherwise this is a very enjoyable and unexpectedly adventurous sequel. It picks up right where part 2 left off, except suddenly James LeGros has morphed back into A. Michael Baldwin, the original star of PHANTASM. And now I sort of get it, because he does not look like a movie hero, he looks like some dude. But the same some dude from the original, so it’s good to have him back. (read the rest of this shit…)

Phantasm II

Thursday, October 30th, 2008


There’s actually not a subtitle on this one, I made that up. Anyway this is the first sequel, made 11 years later with the backing of Universal Studios. It’s the year after EVIL DEAD 2 but it’s the same kind of thing Universal did later with ARMY OF DARKNESS, taking a cult movie and its director, putting a little more money behind it and hoping to trick mainstream audiences into thinking they care. Nobody knows why they did it, but we’re kind of glad they did.

The advantage of the Universal money is that they have some pretty good special effects. The disadvantage is that they have to ditch the original star, A. Michael Baldwin (a rogue Baldwin brother not related to Alec Baldwin), and replace him with James LeGros of DRUGSTORE COWBOY. You know, for that guaranteed James LeGros demographic who will just go to any James LeGros movie over and over again, and get all of their friends to come, just to watch James LeGros. It’s like the old Hollywood saying goes, don’t ever make a movie that doesn’t star James LeGros. Trivia: no movie has ever made a profit without James LeGros, and vice versa. (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, October 30th, 2008

PHANTASM stands alone in American horror – even of 1979 – because of its emphasis on the fuckin weird. Many horror movies are about the fear of a dude with a knife or ax. That makes sense. We know his immediate goal and why it threatens us. Or sometimes it’s supernatural, or it’s a monster. That brings in the fear of the unknown, but we still sort of know most of the time. It’s gonna bite us.

But PHANTASM creeps us out by giving us a bad guy our minds aren’t used to wrapping around: a mean old man at a funeral home who is unusually strong, bleeds yellow, his body parts can turn into bugs, he commands deadly flying metal orbs, and he steals bodies from graveyards and crushes them into weird little dwarves in Jawa robes who do his bidding. It’s a scheme we have seen in less than 50 movies in the entire history of cinema up until this point so it isn’t worn out yet. (read the rest of this shit…)

SIFF: Vern here with AICN’s 1st review of BUBBA HO-TEP!!!

Monday, May 26th, 2003

Hey folks, Harry here… Vern sent in a review for a movie I’ve just plum never heard of? From the sound of it, I’m shocked we haven’t. I mean a Bruce Campbell movie left uncovered by AICN? Hey Zeus Morales! Ya know? And with Don Coscarelli, you’d think Quint might’ve reported in, but that lazy bastard’s been holding out on us! Well, no more. Vern here is breaking what can only be a conspiracy of silence at the very heights of the corporate whores at AICN, and he’s breaking that door down to tell you folks for the first time about BUBBA HO-TEP… A film that studios everywhere are conspiring to keep from you. The bastards! Here ya go… Thank Beezlebub for Vern!

Dear Harry,

Like I promised I’m back with more incredibly insightful and well Written SIFF coverage and last night I went to the midnight show of BUBBA HO TEP. I know you guys have already reviewed the shit out of this movie but personally I never read any of those reviews because I was waiting for me to review it. And I sincerely doubt I was the only one. So here it is folks, your very first look at BUBBA HO TEP. (read the rest of this shit…)