After a near 20-year hiatus, fans are finally about to receive a new entry in the cult classic Phantasm horror franchise. Entitled Phantasm: Ravager, the fifth installment in the series reunites creator Don Coscarelli with the original cast of characters that helped make the previous films so popular with genre devotees. Picking up where 1998’s Phantasm IV: Oblivion left off, Ravager finds Reggie (Reggie Bannister) once again on the hunt for the villainous, otherworldly Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), alongside his constant comrades Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury).
That said, all is not entirely as usual, as Ravager will mark the first Phantasm movie to not be directed by Coscarelli. Instead, noted animation director David Hartman will helm Ravager, albeit with the full support and endorsement of Coscarelli. In fact, it was Coscarelli – who remains the lead producer on the project – that chose Hartman to direct, with the duo also co-writing the screenplay. In addition to Scrimm, Bannister, Baldwin and Thornbury, supporting cast members Kathy Lester and Gloria Lynne Henry are also set to come back. Lester memorably portrayed the beautiful but deadly Lady in Lavender in the original Phantasm, while Henry played the hard-edged Rocky in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, ultimately becoming sort of an unlikely love interest to Reggie.
With the release of Phantasm: Ravager a little over a week away, distributor Well Go USA – via Gizmodo – have released a brand new behind-the-scenes featurette aiming to get fans hyped up even more. Running about five minutes, the clip includes interviews with Bannister, Coscarelli, and Hartman, as well as on-set footage of the making of various scenes. Also of interest to fans is candid footage of Scrimm, who passed away earlier this year.
Operating on a kind of nightmare logic, the Phantasm series has never really been concerned much with continuity, although there is still a narrative one can try to follow if they so choose. However, in the style of other surreal horror efforts like Dario Argento’s Suspiria or Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond, Phantasm’s plot isn’t really what’s important, and isn’t really what keeps fans of the series engaged.
What’s kept folks coming back to Phantasm for the past 30-plus years is the sheer magnificent lunacy of it all, complete with things like brain-destroying flying silver balls, and tiny Jawa-like creatures from another dimension that live to serve at the call of the supernaturally strong Tall Man. The world Coscarelli created is truly one unlike anything else in horror history, and is one that deserves a proper farewell. Thankfully, all signs point to Ravager sending the series out on a high note.
Phantasm: Ravager arrives on VOD October 4, and begins a limited theatrical run on October 7.