While never reaching the heights of pop culture notoriety as other classic horror boogeymen like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers, Phantasm villain The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) has still managed to strike fear in any horror fan fortunate enough to take in Don Coscarelli's original 1979 film or its three sequels. 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. As The Tall Man himself says, "You think when you die, you go to heaven. You come to us!"
In the almost 20 years since the release of Phantasm IV: Oblivion, Coscarelli and collaborators have teased fans on and off with the prospect of a fifth film, at one time rumored to be titled Phantasm's End and set to star genre icon Bruce Campbell. While that particular project never materialized, Phantasm 5 finally did come to pass, in the form of Phantasm: Ravager. Secretly shot during 2012 and 2013, Ravager's existence was announced to the world via a teaser trailer in spring 2014, drawing excitement from many. Unfortunately, news of any release plans for the film have been hard to come by since, with Ravager first being delayed to 2015 then to 2016.
Thankfully, fans of The Tall Man, Mike, Reggie, Jody, and the series' infamous brain-destroying silver ball can finally rejoice, as an official release date for Ravager has been reported at long last. Ravager arrives in theaters and on digital HD formats on October 7th. However, that's not all the good news for Phantasm devotees. In addition to Ravager, Texas-based distributor Well Go USA Entertainment has also acquired the rights to the rest of the Phantasm franchise, including a recent Coscarelli-supervised restored version of the original film. The newly dubbed Phantasm: Remastered will screen in theaters on September 24th.
A direct sequel to Phantasm IV, Ravager features the return of just about every major character - played by the original actors even - from the previous entries, including more obscure picks like the murderous Lady in Lavender from the first film and Rocky from Phantasm III.
In hindsight, it's a good thing the film was shot when it was, as Scrimm passed away earlier this year, and it's hard to imagine a Phantasm movie without his intimidating presence being felt. The ball will also, of course, be back. Interestingly, Ravager will mark the first entry in the series to be directed by someone other than Coscarelli, with noted animation director David Hartman taking over the reigns. Coscarelli remains on-board as a producer, and co-wrote the film with Hartman.
For those wondering when they'll be able to own the series on Blu-ray, Well Go plans to release the films on disc both individually and in a collector's box set a little while after Remastered and Ravager leave theaters. This will mark the Blu-ray debut of every entry aside from Phantasm II, which received a release via genre label Scream Factory a few years back. For "Phans," 2016 is shaping up to be one momentous year indeed.
Phantasm: Remastered arrives in theaters on September 24, 2016. Phantasm: Ravager hits screens on October 7, 2016.
Source: Well Go USA Entertainment