In 1979, writer/director Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Starring unknown actors and made on a tiny $300,000 budget, Phantasm quickly became a creepy cult favorite, and made a genre icon out of its imposing villain The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). A somewhat unlikely franchise resulted, with three sequels being released to date, the most recent arriving back in 1998. Operating on a kind of nightmare logic and seemingly taking place in an alternate reality, the Phantasm series posits a world where death is not the end, but rather only the beginning of endless servitude to inhuman masters from another realm.
In the decades since, Coscarelli and company teased fans with the prospect of another entry intended to wrap up the series, tentatively titled Phantasm’s End. While that idea never came to pass, fans were shocked and surprised by the announcement in 2014 that not only was a fifth Phantasm film coming, it had already secretly wrapped production. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent the newly christened Phantasm: Ravager from experiencing delays, as producer Coscarelli and new director David Hartman attempted to secure distribution for the film. Thankfully, Well Go USA Entertainment stepped up to fill that void this past summer.
With the October theatrical and VOD debut of Phantasm: Ravager on the horizon, excitement has begun to reach a fever pitch, and Well Go has released a new full-length trailer for the sequel, featuring a bunch of previously unreleased footage. EW had the honor of playing host to the unveiling earlier today.
Sadly, as any horror fan is no doubt aware of by now, Scrimm passed away in January at the age of 89. While the man certainly led a long, full life, his absence definitely adds a twinge of pain to the joy of those who’ve been waiting nearly 20 years to see the story of Phantasm reach its conclusion. That said, it’s quite fitting that Scrimm’s final performance be a reprisal of his most iconic career role, with the actor still seemingly able to project menace in the above trailer, despite his advanced age.
For those wanting to read a plot synopsis for Ravager, the truth is that there really isn’t one, at least not in the conventional sense. The Phantasm series could never be accused of being a stickler for continuity, although that aspect tends to be embraced by the franchise’s devotees. All those interested enough to check Ravager out really need to know going in is that Mike, Reggie, and Jody are all back — played by the original actors even — and ready to finally put an end to the Tall Man’s reign of multidimensional terror. Once and for all.
Phantasm: Ravager hits VOD on October 4 and limited theaters on October 7.