"Phantasm IV: Oblivion"
Well, this is it, folks.
At least possibly. Ignore for a moment the swirling rumors around
the upcoming Phantasm V, which even Angus Scrimm describes as
so far-fetched that we shouldn't "hold our breath" to
get our hands on.
For the time being--and
likely for all time--this is the last Phantasm in the Phantasm
series, and thanks to Anchor Bay, we've got it back on special
edition DVD. Anchor Bay seems to specialize in antiquities restored
to ever-loving life, and there's no two ways about it--Phantasm
IV: Oblivion is one of those antiquities. I never thought I'd
hear myself say that about a movie released when I graduated from
high school, of all things, but there's no two ways about it.
It's ten years old, and in movie time, that's a lifetime.
Regarded by some as
the most confusing of all Phantasm installments, and indeed lacking
somewhat in action, Phantasm IV: Oblivion seeks to wrap up some
of the loose ends of the series by sending our favorite combat
duo of some guy with a ball in his head and the horniest ice cream
man on the face of the earth off to discover the secrets of the
Tall Man, a strange sort of figure who may or may not be possessed
by demons or other intelligences during experiments in otherdimensional
travel, who's out to conquer the world by stealing corpses and
becoming "Lord of the Dead".
See, yeah...you cannot
walk into Phantasm IV: Oblivion and expect to get it. In fact,
if this is the FIRST Phantasm you see, you will be so abjectly
butt-lost that you will be demanding your ninety eight minutes
back. But when you consider Phantasm IV as it was meant to be
considered, as a capstone to the insanely great original series
that earned Don Coscarelli his eternal place in the Masters of
Horror list, you develop a healthy respect for it and you're glad
I read a few articles
about Phantasm IV: Oblivion and discovered that it was actually
meant as a way for Coscarelli to release hordes of deleted scenes
from previous movies. In fact, the first movie lost a great deal
of footage in order to be released--originally the MPAA was going
to slap the scarlet X on it, but after judicious cutting from
Coscarelli, it was released as an R. Thus there was plenty of
extra footage to do stuff with, and this was well before anyone
even know what a DVD was let alone how many extra features could
safely be packed into one, so Coscarelli can be forgiven for wanted
to get the word out.
The ending may well
be the most confusing part about Phantasm IV: Oblivion and is
anything but satisfactory, but that's the nature of the film.
The special features
include English subtitles, audio commentary, a behind the scenes
featurette, and trailers for Phantasm, Tenebre, Phenomena, and
Phantasm IV: Oblivion.
All in all, Phantasm
IV: Oblivion definitely doesn't pack in the action and horror
and suspense the way the first three did, but that's really not
its purpose. Phantasm IV: Oblivion was designed to be a companion
volume, a pack of extra features that really wouldn't have been
necessary had the original three been released later on. But the
extra information, and the hope of a Phantasm V, is welcome and
worthwhile. But only after you watch the first three first.
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Written by Don Coscarelli
Starring A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury,
Produced by Don Coscarelli
2008 / 1998
out the Video Store Guy on his own ever-lovin' website.
Featuring never before seen pieces exclusive to Reel Advice! (reel.panel2panel.com)