Friday, August 14, 2015

Six Observations on the Leaked Phantasm Ravager Footage

While we don't dare post yesterday's leaked Ravager footage or any images from it for fear of having a hammer dropped on us , we can still talk about it. And let's face it, based on social media, everyone is still talking about it. So with that, I thought I would post six observations I had after having reviewed the preview several times.

1) Remastered P1/P4 Footage - The first thing that stood out to me from the new footage were the clips from Phantasm and Phantasm: Oblivion. Reggie flashes back to the Lady in Lavender's attack on him and, later on, we see shots of both Reggie and the Tall Man in Death Valley. We've seen this all, sure, but never before in such crisp quality! Compare that to your videotapes and DVDs and you'll find there simply is no comparison. At first glance, it would appear that Don Coscarelli has treated the series to a gorgeous new high-definition transfer. Here's to hoping this bodes well for Blu-Ray releases in the near future.

2) Hey look, it's Jody! - The new footage gives us our first glimpse, brief though it may be, at Bill Thornbury's Jody. We see the older, ghostly Pearson brother back behind the wheel of the 'Cuda, his first time sitting in this particular seat since the original Phantasm. He appears to be outfitted for battle as does the muscle car he sits in. This shot passes by so quickly that it wasn't until my third viewing of the trailer that I even caught it. Good to see you back, Bill!

3) An Army of Tall Men - One of the more striking images from the new trailer was a digital tracking shot through a white room toward a space gate with dozens of Tall Men lined up on either side of it. We have always known there to be multiple Tall Men out there with a new one stepping in anytime an old one is killed, but never before have we seen them all standing together! This ominous imagery strongly evokes one of the endings to Roger Avary's ill-fated Phantasm 1999 screenplay. The Tall Army concept made me groan when I first read it in Avary's script, but its execution here is just terrific. My hat is off to David Hartman for making this work.

4) The Hospital/Book Angle - From Reggie's new dialogue in the trailer, we learn he is having issues distinguishing reality from illusion (or delusion?) and has been hospitalized, either in a psychiatric setting or a retirement home. We also see Mike visiting Reggie and trying to explain complicated concepts about alternate realities, which his friend does not seem to care about. Reggie's hospitalization strongly resembles concepts first presented in Stephen Romano's Phantasm Forever pitch, only that it was Mike who was hospitalized. The book angle is also reminiscent of Forever where Mike had actually written his own tome detailing his experiences with the Tall Man, though it is unclear in the Ravager trailer whether Mike has authored the book he speaks of or simply had it recommended to him by Amazon.

5) The Tall Man is still cryptic as ever - With this leaked footage we get a juicy new piece of Tall Man dialogue sure to send the brains of phans into a frenzy. Our favorite mortician appears to turn toward Reggie and meaningly intone, "You're not even real. You're myyyyy baaaaad dreeeeam." To paraphrase Mike Pearson in Phantasm III, "we don't know what you meeeeean!" Looks like we will have to wait to find out what in the actual hell that line refers to until the film comes out… and it is entirely possible we may not even know come then. This is Phantasm, after all.

6) Hartman appears to "get it."
There has been much geek anxiety and worried speculation concerning the fact that Don Coscarelli has handed off the final Phantasm sequel to a new director, much less someone that has never helmed a feature film before. But Coscarelli has repeatedly reassured phans that David Hartman "gets it" and, based on this new footage, he truly appears to. The scene inside the mausoleum between Reggie and the Lady in Lavender is masterfully directed and oozes that classic Phantasm spirit. This confrontation between two characters that haven't crossed paths in thirty-five years must inspire great confidence in even the harshest doubters out there.

Well, those are my six observations. What did you notice? Sound off below or on the Phantasm Communtiy Facebook page!

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