Okay folks, time to bring out your bullshit detectors and engage in some critical thinking with me. An eBay seller has listed a silver sphere for $1,500 claiming to be screen-used from the upcoming Phantasm Ravager. But is it really screen-used? Maybe so! Or maybe it's not. Let’s examine the listing closely. Notice first the cheaply made and crumpled “Certificate of Authenticity,” which informs us that “THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE THE TALL MANS BALLS CREATED BY EFFECTS FOR THE FEATURE FILM PHANTASM 5”
Okay… typing everything in all-caps does nothing to convince us that what we’re reading is true. Furthermore, the COA mentions “balls” while the auction only appears to be for one ball. Further-furthermore, the balls were “CREATED BY EFFECTS.” What? Is that a company? This line then skips any kind of punctuation and instead throws out a picture of Kenneth Tigar getting drilled from Phantasm II. Actually, the whole document is devoid of any punctuation, save for a comma near the bottom.
The paper is then signed by Justin Rodriguez, but there is nothing mentioned as to his qualification to even be issuing such a certificate. Did he work on the film? Is he the one selling it? Is he the friend who was given the ball? A little bit of Google-fu revealed to me that there is a Justin Rodriguez credited for effects on Phantasm Ravager’s IMDb page. My hesitation here is that Don Coscarelli has yet to release Ravager’s official credit list, meaning IMDb could easily have incorrect/fake information. Let me just click on Justin’s filmography to see if perhaps he has a background in special effects that might give credibility to his issuing a COA.
AAAAAAANNNNDD his filmography is practically blank. There is no other film beyond Ravager listed. No birthday, no official website, no pictures, not even a star sign. That is one mighty empty IMDb page.
Well, let’s head back to the eBay listing itself. Perhaps the auction includes a photo from the Ravager set? Or a picture of the ball in action? NOPE. Instead we get some Phantasm III and IV photos ripped from a Google search, an upside down Ravager poster and a screenshot from the film’s teaser trailer showing the giant CGI sphere hovering above Reggie.
How about the item description itself? Let’s review that now. Fortunately for our eyeballs, it is not typed in all-caps. The listing reads, “Screen Used PHANTASM 5 Sphere from Angus Scrimm's final film He will be missed this is one of the smaller spheres used in the movie the piece attached is for connecting to actors in death scenes and CG effects here's a chance at an Iconic movie prop never to be made again”
Okie-dokie. The seller’s resistance to punctuation of any kind continues in full force. This is an iconic movie prop never to be made again? How do you make that claim? Have you discussed this with Don Coscarelli? Did he tell you this? Because he’s had some very positive comments about a Phantasm remake over the years, even commissioning a full script for one and holding talks with New Line Cinema. I’d imagine a remake would include spheres, but maybe the seller knows something we don’t.
How about the seller? What do we know about tattooed420matthew? A quick browse of his other eBay listings shows that he deals in Phantasm sphere replicas. Hmm….
There is also the fact that the seller boldly claims that the item is “screen-used,” yet you would actually have to see the finished film to know if it was screen-used or not. The seller appears to live in Michigan and my closest sources tell me the new sequel has not screened anywhere near there, even in private.
In the words of Phantasm series sphere-master Kerry Prior on this very blog last year: “As a general rule, if it shows up on Ebay, it's not genuine.”
What do YOU think? If this sphere is legitimately from Phantasm Ravager, then the $1,500 asking price is certainly reasonable, if not a little understated. Regardless of whether the prop is legit or not, the listing does not inspire confidence or provide credible proof of its ties to the production. Would you plunk down $1,500 for this ball?