It's been a long and terrific year for Phantasm phans, the best in recent memory. As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to partake in an on-again, off-again tradition here at the Phantasm Archives - a yearly review. This one is a little more personal to my own experience, though several other great things happened related to the franchise. The items listed here are just my big five. Looking over this past year, I cannot help but be even more excited for next year. 2015 is going to hold many great things for phans, no doubt!
A New Sequel Announcement
In the biggest surprise of the past decade, the new Phantasm sequel was finally announced by Don Coscarelli on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - more than five years after it actually began filming as this site first reported in 2009. The Ain't It Cool crowd debuted a poster and a teaser trailer much to the delight of phans everywhere. The fifth and reportedly final sequel was announced a whopping sixteen years after the release of the last entry, Phantasm: Oblivion. Unfortunately for frustrated and eager phans everywhere, 2014 is coming to an end with no official release date on the calendar, though Coscarelli and director David Hartman have promised a 2015 debut.
A New Book Release
Another long-awaited project was both announced and released this year - my own exhaustive book on the making of the franchise. Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion saw release on April 21, 2014. Boasting more than 250 photographs and 60+ interviews, the book is packed with new information on all four existing movies plus Don Coscarelli's first two films. Exhumed also features an introduction by and unreleased set journals from Angus Scrimm. It also concludes with an exclusive look at the upcoming Phantasm Ravager, complete with never-before-seen set photos. A newly expanded hardcover/color edition is currently in the works for release next year!
"Consider this exceptional, long overdue history the perfect prelude to the Tall Man's return."
A Lifetime Achievement Award
In November, Angus Scrimm was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York City Horror Film Festival. The Tall Man performer was on hand to personally accept the award and gave a hilarious and touching acceptance speech. That was after several of his colleagues such as director James Felix McKenney, actor Larry Fessenden and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone gave warm tributes to their honored friend. A Q&A session and Phantasm Exhumed book signing followed the award presentation. If you would like to see video of the acceptance speech, click here.
It has been an unparalleled honor and a pleasure this year to sign copies of Phantasm Exhumed alongside Angus Scrimm and series crewmember/book contributor Kristen Deem. I have personally signed several hundred books by now and met as many phans from all around the world. Even more fun than signing, it is extremely gratifying to hear from the most hardcore, knowledgable phans that they learned something new within the pages of Exhumed. It is even more gratifying to hear from Phantasm's cast and crew that they learned new things as well! I look forward with great anticipation to meeting more of you at conventions and events next year!
This year, of course, marked the 35th Anniversary of the original Phantasm. In August, the cast and director banded together for an unforgettable reunion at the Flashback Weekend convention in Chicago - and then again several months later in Burbank with Phantasm Ravager director David Hartman. This was deja-vu for some as Don Coscarelli and company had reunited here for the film's 30th Anniversary as well. The new Chicago get-together was especially memorable for the "Phantasm Stars in Concert" event that saw Angus Scrimm, Kathy Lester, Bill Thornbury and Reggie Bannister all thrill the crowd with musical and comedic talents.
Phantasm Community Grows!!
The net's only message forum with balls, Tony Todoroff's PhantasmCommunity.com has continued to grow both as a message board and a Facebook page. Now in its seventh year, the message forum boasts more than 650 users and more than 21,000 posts!!! Likewise, the group's Facebook page has now hit 6,700 "likes." With the release of Phantasm Exhumed and the announcement of Phantasm Ravager, there's more phantasmic conversation to be had than ever before. Even if you don't want to post, it's still a massive repository for series discussion. Careful, though. You can spend hours lost among those twenty-odd thousand posts!
See you all in 2015, boooooy!
(This post includes photos by Scott Pensa and Natalie Tomaszewski!)