Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bubba Ho-Tep adapted in BOOMSTICK BALLET

This isn't directly Phantasm related, but it's so weirdly awesome that I couldn't resist posting about it. There is something going down in New York City this Saturday called BOOMSTICK BALLET: A Bruce Campbell Dance Opera in 3 Acts. Someone has actually adapted three of Campbell's most popular works into a rock ballet. Sign me up! If this is half as much fun as Evil Dead: The Musical has been, then everyone is in for a real treat. Here's to hoping the evening is successful enough to warrant future performances beyond this limited engagement.

The official description reads as such: "Put your sawed-off severed hands together! Following the success of their rock opera ballet "SEVERED: The Tragic Loves of Frankenstein's Monster", The Love Show and .357 LOVER reunite to bring you an evening of mayhem, beauty and slapstick through dance and original live music, based on films starring the Cary Grant of cult classic horror flicks, Bruce Campbell!"

The first act covers Evil Dead II, the second Bubba Ho-Tep and the third Army of Darkness. I suddenly have enormous interest in dance opera. Get more information here and visit the group on Facebook here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

SPOILER ALERT: New Ravager Sphere Revealed

I like to think this blog has done pretty well these past seven years or so not spoiling too many secrets from the upcoming Phantasm Ravager, but this one was too fun not to share. And you can't really blame me for spoiling it as this was first shown back in May to attendees of Texas Frightmare Weekend by Don Coscarelli himself (and to thousands more in the infamous leaked trailer). The only catch was that this detail went by so fast that almost no one caught it - until this morning.

Phantasm Ravager has been rumored to feature several new spheres, but the only one we've seen yet has been the gigantic laser shooting sphere. As it turns out, the Texas Frightmare preview contained a second new sphere. You had to be crazy quick to catch it, though. In the four-and-a-half minute preview, it was only onscreen for a scant four frames!

I'd post a screenshot of the new sphere here, but I'm allergic to hammers. I can, however, show you a quick mockup I made of the ball in Photoshop. Now picture the following shape, but with chrome texture like the silver spheres we've come to know and sharper spikes. As you can see, the new orb is not unlike the business end of a mace, only without the stick or chain.

If you were one of the lucky few to have downloaded the leaked trailer before it was yanked, see if you're able to find the Mace Sphere. It is not all that easy to spot! Click the image below to see it larger!

NEWS: Phantasm Ravager is Finished!

[UPDATE: Some phans are finding this news confusing. The film was originally announced as being complete last March, but Don Coscarelli then told Bloody-Disgusting that only the filming was complete and that visual effects work was ongoing and "will be for quite some time." This is the first public confirmation I have personally seen that work on the sequel has concluded.]

Star/producer Reggie Bannister has been interviewed for the 200th episode of the Rabbit in Red Radio podcast at As you might expect, the conversation turns toward the new Phantasm Ravager every so often. The Regman talks about how shooting took place at his property in the mountains of Crestline, California and reveals that production also took place at director David Hartman's home. This isn't so strange, he continues, as Don Coscarelli productions have been doing this as far back as 1976's Kenny & Company, which shot at the Senior Coscarelli household. He goes on to promise the new sequel will include "a lot of action." 

The biggest news bomb dropped in the podcast is public confirmation that Phantasm Ravager is complete! In his own words, Reggie tells the podcast, "We've got final cut." He also mentions that while the film is finished, he has not yet seen the completed version but expects a distributor to pick it up soon. The weird thing is that Reggie references the upcoming Anaheim WonderCon in his interview, which took place back in April of this year. That places this interview as occurring in March of this year, meaning Phantasm Ravager has been in the can for that long!

This should help to dispel any nagging rumors that the filmmakers haven't finished the effects or have gone back for reshoots. Hooray!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

NEW! Phantasm Enamel Collector's Pin!

Brace yourself for something cool! Artist Christopher Ott has debuted a brand new Phantasm Enamel Pin over in his London 1888 webstore. You may recall Christopher's terrific Phantasm print from 2011, a copy of which I still proudly have in my collection. He's been a busy fellow since then, but I believe this is his first Phantasm-related work since.

Chris's new pin depicts the Caretaker's death scene from the original Phantasm and - get this - the silver sphere actually slides along the pin into the character's forehead! Now that is a pretty nifty touch. These pins are super limited and going fast, but if you'd like one head on over to London 1888 where they're selling for a cheap $10. The product listing mentions that each pin will arrive carded and numbered.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bizarre Phantasm Box Set from Italy

I've posted before about how international home video editions of the Phantasm series often have small peculiarities about them, but this is a massively peculiar release from Italy. This four-disc box set of "Fantasmi" includes the first three Phantasm movies yet uses artwork created exclusively for Phantasm Oblivion! Why exclude the fourth film, especially if you're going to use artwork from it? The set's back cover further features an image of the Tall Man from Oblivion. 

This Italian release also includes a fourth disc of supplemental material ported over from Anchor Bay's impressive UK box set. Among these is the feature-length documentary Phantasmagoria, which looks to have been trimmed from its original 97-minute runtime to 72-minutes in order to exclude the concluding Phantasm Oblivion segment. I wonder, did they further trim Oblivion clips from the also-included "The Gory Days" and "Phandom" featurettes? 

Furthermore, the credit blocks on the back cover are also messed up. The block for "Fantasmi III" is a straight copy of the original film's credits, listing Paul Pepperman as co-producer (he produced none of the sequels, mind you) and gives Kathy Lester's micro-cameo fourth billing! Click the images below to see the packaging larger.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Classy Coscarelli gently nixes Ravager Kickstarter

[Update from the Chief Archivist: My posts on this topic were never a smear campaign against the individual who started this mess, but rather an effort to prevent phans from throwing their money at it. I was trying to stop it - and that goal has been met. I'll leave these posts up because this all did happen, but I'm removing the phan's name and details from this post.]

the whole fake Ravager Kickstarter thing got even weirder this morning and then came to an abrupt end this afternoon, but not before it had raised an astonishing $860 from naive phans. As it turned out, the campaign was neither a joke nor the effort of an internet troll. Its creator seems to have legitimately wanted to fund additional work on Phantasm V (insert Kevin Hart confused face here).

Kickstarter impresario ------- updated his $15,000,000 campaign with the shocking clarification that he wasn't actually associated with anyone involved in the production of the new sequel. In an update, he wrote: "It has come to my attention that a number of blogs online are stating that this is Fradulent or a scam. To clarify, we are in fact not associated with the filmmakers in anyway, However this is still an honest effort to raise money for the film, by fans, and for the fans. The purpose for the funds, are as stated in this projects description. That is what it will be used for." 

----- then created a new perk for his Kickstarter at the $75 donation level that awarded up to 50,000 funders BluRay copies of all five films - despite the fact that no such releases have even been announced yet, except in the case of Phantasm II which is already available on BluRay. 

News of this bizarre crowd funding venture spread out onto several other sites this morning before eventually catching the attention of Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli, who personally tweeted ---- requesting that he shut down the Kickstarter, which ----- then promptly did. You know, I've got to hand it to Coscarelli. Rather than his usual silent digital takedowns, the guy reached out to ------ on Twitter and with a very gentle voice and got what he wanted. Classy.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

UPDATED: Fraudulent Phantasm Ravager Kickstarter

[Update from the Chief Archivist: My posts on this topic were never a smear campaign against the individual who started this mess, but rather an effort to prevent phans from throwing their money at it. I was trying to stop it - and that goal has been met. I'll leave these posts up because this all did happen, but I'm removing the phan's name and details from this post.]

I'll be honest - the only way Phantasm Ravager's legacy gets any weirder is if someone involved has a sex tape leak onto social media that somehow involves a silver sphere. A new Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund the further long delayed production, release and marketing of Phantasm Ravager to the tune of $15,000,000. The only problem is that this project is most definitely fraudulent and completely unrelated to the production. 

The campaign creator is listed as ----------- of Miami, who self-describes as "Creator and owner of multiple business startups and successful long running ventures." His scam project page reads, "You will fund the creation of a marketing campaign comprising of web content, internet advertising, and possibly television commercials, as well as the distribution of the film  "Phantasm V: Ravager" so that this film can finally make it to the market, as well as funding the final pickup shots that will complete the film for market." 

First things first, this has a campaign goal of FIFTEEN MILLION?? That is far in excess of the combined production budgets of all five Phantasm films! Even crazier is that one person has already contributed $30 to the cause. The only listed perk for the campaign is at the $30 donation level, which supposedly nets you a copy of the film on either DVD or Blu-Ray with a delivery date of next September. Even more bizarre are what ------ has listed in the Risks and Challenges section: "A big challenge involves creating the right marketing, artwork, and online advertising that will create the appropriate response to the film. However, part of our work would be studying the long time fan base and online trends to create the perfect marketing this film needs." 

So, this must surely be a scam to make money off the good name of Phantasm, right? Not exactly. The Kickstarter page is set up so that funds are only received if the total amount is raised, in this case $15,000,000. I'm certain there is simply no way for phans to ever raise that kind of dough, which is an astronomical figure for a crowd funding project. As far as I can tell, only one venture in the history of Kickstarter that has ever raised that kind of money and that was for a smart watch. So no matter how much this fraudulent endeavor makes, it won't actually receive the funds

If the page isn't a legitimate ruse to scam money, then possibly it was made in jest? There's nothing overtly funny about this particular Kickstarter. The page isn't even all that well put together, lifting obvious fan art from other sources and pulling text from other websites about the film. I'm filing this one in my "What-the-hell?" folder.

Slight update on that whole fake Phantasm Ravager crowd funding initiative. The campaign starter actually tweeted his effort to Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli asking how he would go about "writing a multi-million dollar check." I'm still unclear on whether or not this is a joke or a serious effort. Is it still okay to be laughing at this?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stephen Romano talks New Novel, Addresses Ravager

Stephen Romano - we haven't heard much from the artist/writer since he quietly left the Phantasm universe several years ago to pursue new creative endeavors, unleashing several mythologies of his own upon the world. As you'll recall, Stephen organized the world's first and only exclusively Phantasm convention in 2000, wrote the Phantasm: Overminds comic, exhumed and published Kate Coscarelli's long dormant Phantasm novel, wrote smashing, unproduced screenplays for a Phantasm remake and Phantasm V *and* co-wrote Don Coscarelli's Masters of Horror episode. As far as I'm concerned, he is truly an unsung hero of Phantasm and, if we're lucky, he'll one day return.

In recent years, Stephen has published several marvelous works of his own, often with Phantasm cohorts (notably Shock Festival with David Hartman and Gloria Lynne-Henry, see my review here) and now he's back with a new novel, METRO, that debuts today. His new story was inspired by a weird nirvana house of horrors in Austin, Texas called "The Kingdom" where Stephen lived and worked for many years. It was here that he created his first book The Riot Act and wrote a slew of screenplays, including some of those mentioned above. 

The official description from Simon and Schuster reads, "The acclaimed author of Resurrection Express breaks all the rules in this non-stop suspense thriller packed with killers, comic books, drug lords, and film nerds. For the last five years, Jollie, Andy, and Mark have lived together in a crazy bohemian crash pad in Austin, Texas, immersed in an endless summer of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But one of them is not what they seem to be. And when that person finally blows a decades-long cover during a violent attack on a powerful Austin dope dealer, all hell breaks loose in the bloody, bullet-riddled aftermath. As the fa├žade of the normal world sizzles away, revealing an ominous shadow league of endemic spies and assassins known only as METRO, Jollie, Andy, and Mark must run like hell into a very dark night, where love and friendship will bind them, a terrifying hatchet man will close in to kill them, and the pitch black truth about everything will be revealed, again and again." 

METRO is available today as a digital download exclusive from Simon and Schuster and selling for the crazy low price of $1.99. That's cheaper than a good cup of coffee!! Hell, that's even cheaper than some bad cups of coffee.

Many phans have been wondering about Stephen's involvement with the new Phantasm Ravager, especially since some of his ideas have been apparent in preview footage from the film. Speaking to Dread Central last week, Stephen commented, "Some people have asked me if I had anything to do with the new P sequel that’s coming out this year, and I thought I’d take this moment to address the question. It’s a simple answer. No, I didn’t. But the new director, Dave Hartman is awesome and he’s a good buddy and the film is gonna rock your world. I like Dave so much that I named the super nasty bad guy in my novel “Resurrection Express” after him. I’m sure he appreciated that!"

Get your digital copy of METRO here and visit Stephen Romano's official website here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Phantasm Ravager Delayed to 2016

Out of this weekend's ScareFest convention in Lexington, Kentucky, we've learned from Don Coscarelli that Phantasm Ravager has, in fact, been delayed until 2016. Judging by social media reaction, this is a fairly huge blow to phans who've been waiting patiently since last March for the new sequel. But fret not, it could be worse. We could have never gotten a Phantasm V, right?

To help put the whole frustrating ordeal into perspective, I've made a little infographic. I hope it helps. Click the graphic to make it larger!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Reggie Bannister's Bonejangles Looks Awesome!

The trailer for Reggie Bannister's latest film has debuted onto Facebook and.... it looks all kinds of ass-kicking awesome. Titled Bonejangles, the IMDb describes it as such: To safely deliver an unstoppable killer, a rag-tag group of police officers must first survive a hellish pit stop: a cursed town where the dead rise from their graves.

Our dear Reggie shows up looking wonderfully maniacal in the preview appearing to play the monster's father. He's also rocking a great accent ("Make yo dadda praad!") and what might be an axe. This film looks like so much fun, with plenty of stylish throwback on display to the vintage slasher films of yesteryear (the lighting, camera and effects work are all strikingly good!) Bonejangles is the second feature from director Brett DeJager and the first from screenwriter Keith Melcher. The film also stars Elissa Dowling and Julia Cavanaugh.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to follow the film's official Facebook page for updates!

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!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ravager Co-Producer Dropping Hammers

Boy, that newly leaked Ravager trailer has been making the rounds today. Cast, crew and phans had all been joyfully sharing the new footage through social media - before the hammer came down, that is. And now that it has come down, co-producer Gigi Bannister has a stern message for everyone out there enjoying the footage:

"For those of you who decide to infringe upon Silver Sphere Corp's copyrights on Phantasm Ravager or Phantasm in general or in your earnest to be "the first" to get something up on FB, YouTube or Vidmeo... we've dropped hammers on a guy who tried THREE TIMES today to put up Phantasm Ravager clips. Here's what ya get now: "Trailer do (sic) Phantasm...' This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Silver Sphere Corporation." Please play by the rules folks and don't steal the thunder from the other Phans. You can't say Phantasm without Phan." (from Facebook)

This is precisely why I haven't uploaded the footage or screen captures *anywhere* and advise you not to do the same, lest you want a hammer dropped on you. The witch hunt has officially begun! Such unauthorized actions are generally frowned upon in this corner of the horror genre. Speaking of which, did anyone hear about that unauthorized Phantasm book from last year?

(wink wink)

In the words of Reggie from the new footage "Books I don't need!!! A fuckin' four-barrel shotgun is more like it!"

Or a hammer.