Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Freeze Frame: Phantasm IV

If you have a sharp eye, a fast hand on the remote and know where to look, the Phantasm films are full of surprises that can pass you by on the first screening. Collected here for your viewing enjoyment are a handful of freeze frames from Phantasm Oblivion that reveal tidbits of trivia and cameos within. Continue reading for the freeze frames and accompanying captions.

This first tidbit gives me a good chuckle. The original Phantasm was made with the semi-sponsorship of Dos Equis Beer who sent them many cases of their product. That explains why a bottle can be found in almost every other shot in Phantasm. Here three films later when Mike thinks of how the present might've been had The Tall Man not showed up; we see Mike, Jody and Reggie hanging out by the ocean. Jody is strumming the guitar while Mike and Reg sit on the hood of the Hemi-Cuda. It's a great scene. But what's that in the background?! A case of Dos Equis!

Near the ending as the Tall Man walks down an abandoned Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA., an intersecting street sign can be vaguely seen. Although difficult to decipher, the name reads "Dunsmuir". Phans will recall the mansion that stood in for Morningside Mausoleum in the original Phantasm was the Dunsmuir Estate. An intentional nod to the original or a trippy coincidence?

This isn't so much something I noticed, but something I found amusing. In an interview with The Digital Bits, Don Coscarelli said someone had e-mailed the official Phantasm website asking if Reggie's license plate lettering, RAH, stood for Reggie's Awesome Hemi-Cuda. Don seemed to suggest that they didn't, but fans can still speculate.

Although Reggie doesn't get any use out of his chainsaw in Oblivion, it's still visible for a few seconds among the arsenal in the trunk of the Hemi-cuda. Could this be the one he bought at the start of Phantasm II? Just like that model, this one is small, similar in design and colored yellow... but didn't he loose that by the end of the movie? Oh well, he lost his four-barreled shotgun in that film too, but it obviously resurfaced.

Many fans have speculated over the years that the older woman seen with Jebidiah Morningside in Oblivion was also the fortune teller from the original. Although played by different actresses, I'm inclined to agree with those who claim they're one and the same. As seen here, both women are wearing the same pair of dark round glasses as well as the same gold amulet. Hell, they're even sitting in the same damn wheel-chair.

Although I'm sure most fans caught this on the first go-around, I thought it'd be worth mentioning that one of the gravers (Phan-slang for grave diggers) has a "blink and you'll miss it" cameo in Oblivion. As Mike is wandering through Death Valley, the camera pans around and for less than a second (literally) a graver can be seen in the distance.

Any phan worth their salt knows this one, but I'll point it out anyways. Roger Avary, screenwriter of the not yet produced 'Phantasm's End', has a cameo in Oblivion as a dead infantryman during the Civil War flashback. Fans may also know Avary as the screenwriter of 1994's Pulp Fiction, a screenplay that earned him an Academy Award. Unfortunately for fans, Coscarelli couldn't find investors who were willing to plunk down the $10 million needed to realize his Phantasm script.

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