Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Phantasm Timeline

If you've ever been stupefied by the space-time continuum hijinks of the Phantasm series, you can put your overworked mind to rest. Francisco Gabaldón (aka The Spanish Phan) has valiantly written a broad chronicle of Phantasm history to help make sense of it all. Continue reading to traverse his completed timeline.

From this point on, you're in Francisco's qualified hands.
The aim of this article is to fill in an important gap in all Phantasm related websites up to date: a full timeline of the Phantasm Universe. It tries to be a guide to follow the story, useful either for die-hard fans and newcomers. You’ll find answers to questions such as “Who’s who?”, “When did this happen?” or “When does this take place?”.

I created it by myself, taking as a reference only what is seen in the actual movies, or inferred from them. It hasn't been easy at all. In general terms, the continuity of the series seems not to be a priority for Don Coscarelli himself, so sometimes is difficult to set all events on a coherent space and time line. Some facts and information are vague and even contradict each other, not to mention that the last two instalments begin to take place in different dimensions and/or realities. Nevertheless, out of several possibilities, I've always chosen the most objective and faithful to the story. The timeline is organised by years, including names, facts and all kind of important data found in the movies.

As many other horror sagas have their own timeline, I felt it was about time that Phantasm had its own too. This is dedicated to the Chief Archivist (who loved it and kindly gave me the chance to publish it) and to all fellow phans. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did when I wrote it.

Late 1700’s:
- Jebediah Morningside is born in what today is Morningside, Oregon.
(Assumed from the fact that Jebediah looks to be in his late 60’s or early 70’s in Phantasm IV. When the Civil War occurs -1861- he has already become the Tall Man).
Early 1800’s: - Jebediah Morningside becomes an undertaker in his hometown.
(As seen on Phantasm I).

Mid 1800’s:
- Jebediah Morningside, looking for an answer about the mysteries of life and death, handles to build a machine that can open dimensional passages to worlds unknown. Jebediah Morningside crosses the dimensional fork to somewhere unknown. He comes back to our world as The Tall Man.
(Seen on Phantasm IV)

- The Tall Man, as Jebediah Morningside, joins the 13th Morningside infantry regiment as a medical officer during the Civil War. His aim is to revive the soldier’s corpses and send them to the Red Planet as slaves.
(Seen on Phantasm IV)

Late 1800’s (in the years after the Civil War):
- The Tall Man leaves Morningside and disappears without trace.
(Assumed from the fact that, in Phantasm IV, Mike tells that the Tall Man arrived to Morningside shortly before the events depicted on Phantasm I, and nobody in town remembers him. The only evidence left of his previous stay is an old picture in Sally’s antique store, seen on Phantasm I and IV)

- Jody Pearson senior, future father of Mike and Jody, is born in Morningside, Oregon.
(Seen on a gravestone in Phantasm I)

- Ann Pearson (maiden name unknown), future mother of Mike and Jody, is born in Morningside, Oregon.
(Seen on a gravestone in Phantasm I)  

Early 1940’s:
- Reggie (surname unknown) is born in Morningside, Orgeon.
(He is said to be in his forties in Phantasm II)

Late 1940's:
- Tommy (surname unknown) is born in Morningside, Oregon.
(He looks to be around 30 years old in the beginning of Phantasm I)

Early 1950's:
Jody Pearson senior and Ann (maiden name unknown) get married.
(Assumed from their birth dates and the fact that Jody Pearson junior is born in 1954)

- Jody Pearson is born in Morningside, Oregon.
(Seen on his gravestone in Phantasm I)

Early 60’s:
- Rocky (real name unknown) is born in Holtsville, Idaho.
(Assumed from the fact that she looks to be on her late twenties in Phantasm III and she says Holtsville is her hometown. Regarding Holtsville location, it’s shown on a map.)

Late 1965: 
- Michael Pearson is born in Morningside, Oregon.
(He is said to be 13 years old in Phantasm I)

Late 1960’s: 
- Elizabeth Reynolds is born in Perigord, Oregon.
(Assumed from the fact that she looks slightly younger than Mike, probably 17 or 18 years old.)

Mid 1970’s: 
- Tim (surname unknown) is born in Holtsville, Idaho.
(Assumed from the fact that he looks to be around 12-13 years old in Phantasm III)
- Jody, Reggie and Tommy, all three amateur musicians, get together as a trio in their local town of Morningside.
(As referenced in Phantasm I).

Late 1977: 
- The Tall Man returns to Morningside and establishes himself as the new undertaker.
- Jody and Mike’s parents die in unknown circumstances, presumably killed and taken by The Tall Man.
- Liz Reynolds begins having dreams and visions of The Tall Man.
(As seen in Phantasm I, II and IV)

Late 1978: 
(Events depicted on Phantasm I take place)
(Taken from the fact that Jody’s death occurs in 1978, as seen on his gravestone)
- Tommy is stabbed to death by The Tall Man, under the appearance of The Lady in Lavender. Everybody in town believes he committed suicide.
- Mike, Jody and Reggie discover the real identity of The Tall Man and his plans to enslave the dead and send them to another dimension. They beat him for the first time.
- The Tall Man returns and takes Jody, staging it to look like a car wreck.
- Reggie takes Mike as an adopted son.
- Mike is interned on the Morningside Psychiatric Clinic, suffering from paranoid delusions.
Between 1978-1985: - Rocky joins the U.S. Army and goes under military training. She becomes and expert on weaponry, martial arts and survival techniques. During her time in the army, she meets another girl called Tanesha and they both become best friends.
- Reggie marries Celeste and has a daughter, Bonnie.
- Liz continues having dreams about The Tall Man. Through them she gets to know about Mike and Reggie. As well as Mike, she also goes under psychological treatment due to his visions and nightmares.
- The Tall Man leaves Morningside and travels elsewhere, destroying towns in his way. By the end of 1984, he settles down in Perigord, Oregon. His activities raise the suspicions of the local priest, Father Meyers.
(See Phantasm II and III)

Early to mid 1985:
(Events depicted in Phantasm II and in the beginning of Phantasm III take place:
(Taken from the fact that the doctor says Mike is been under treatment for “a tough 7 years”. Also, Mike says he’s 19 years old. We can assume he’d turn 20 by the end of the year, due to the fact that Phantasm I takes place in late 1978, when he’s said to be 13 years old.)
- Mike is released from the Morningside Psychiatric Clinic.
- The Tall Man comes back to Morningside for one night and blows up Reggie’s house by leaving the gas on. Reggie’s wife Celeste, his daughter Bonnie and his Aunt Martha are killed in the explosion.
- Reggie joins Mike to seek The Tall Man. They both leave Morningside and get on the road. During their journey, they find plenty of small ghost towns destroyed by The Tall Man.
- Liz’s grandfather, Alex Murphy, dies. Shortly after his funeral, Mike and Reggie (together with Alchemy, who is really The Tall Man in disguise) arrive to Perigord, Oregon.
- The Tall Man takes Alex Murphy and his wife, Liz’s grandmother. Father Meyers is killed by a flying sphere in the funeral parlour, while trying to find out the truth behind The Tall Man.
- Mike and Reggie rescue Liz from the Perigord mortuary. Later on that night, The Tall Man kidnaps Liz. Mike and Reggie go on her rescue and beat The Tall Man for a second time. After they burn the funeral parlour down, Chemy picks them up driving a hearse and they all leave Perigord.
- Chemy turns into The Tall Man and, after almost killing Reggie, causes a car crash in the woods outside Perigord.
- Liz is killed by a dwarf creature. Reggie saves Mike from The Tall Man by threatening to blow everybody up with a grenade. Mike, who has hardly survived, falls in a long coma after the shock of the accident.

Between 1985 and 1988: 
- Reggie gets a new house (maybe buys it, or rents it, or simply occupies it). He also buys an old convertible Hemi Cuda and restores it.
- The Tall Man leaves Perigord and continues travelling east. On his way, he keeps on destroying small towns.
- In early 1986, The Tall Man arrives to Holtsville, Idaho, and becomes the new undertaker. Soon after his arrival, he kills Tim’s father, who is the local sheriff, and takes Tim’s mother with him. In less than a year, most of the population leaves Holstville and it becomes another ghost town. People from the surroundings speculates that a toxic spill is the cause of what happened. On the meantime, Tim learns how to drive and shoot his father’s gun. He becomes a tough survivor and stays alone in town, setting all kinds of booby traps in his own house to protect himself from criminals and looters.
(As explained on a flashback on Phantasm III. We also know it happened 2 years before because a gas station owner tells Reggie that Holtsville was destroyed by a toxic spill “a couple of years back.”)
- In late 1986, The Tall Man leaves Holstville and travels to Boulton, Idaho. Once there, he establishes in its mortuary, “the largest in the western U.S.” and destroys the town. People from the surroundings speculates that an anthrax plague is the cause of what happened.
(As said on Phantasm III. We know The Tall Man arrived to Boulton two years before because a hostel owner tells Reggie about “an anthrax plague a couple of years back.”)
1988: Events depicted in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead and Phantasm IV: Oblivion take place.
(Assumed from the fact that Reggie gets a new Cuda Car while Mike is in coma, and he says he’s been restoring it for 3 years. He also says that Jody is been dead “for 10 years”. Regarding Phantasm IV, it takes place immediately after Phantasm III, without any time lapses.)

- Mike awakens from his coma helped by the ghost of his dead brother, Jody.
- Jody’s ghost temporary escapes from The Tall Man’s influence and tries to warn Mike and Reggie. The Tall Man tracks him down and finds them. He kidnaps Mike and leaves Reggie unconscious.
- Guided by Jody (turned into a sphere) Reggie arrives to the town of Holstville searching for Mike and The Tall Man. He’s assaulted by three looters: Henry, Rufus and Edna. The three are killed by Tim, who sets Reggie free.
- Reggie and Tim meet Rocky at the Holtsville mausoleum. Rocky’s friend, Tanesha, is killed by a silver sphere.
- Reggie, Tim and Rocky team up to seek The Tall Man and nail him down. They follow his trace up to Boulton. Reggie, helped by Jody, rescues Mike from The Tall Man’s lair. They all get together and hide in the local mausoleum.
- During a long confrontation, Mike is revealed to be one of The Tall Man’s kind. Reggie, Rocky, Tim and Jody’s sphere fight Henry, Rufus and Edna, who have come back as zombies. Ultimately, they beat The Tall Man for a third time. Mike, scared and confused about his real nature, takes a hearse and flies to the wastelands. Rocky, exhausted and sick of so much action and weirdness, says goodbye to Reggie and Tim and leaves Boulton to never come back.
- The Tall Man returns one more time through the space gate and immobilises Reggie using his silver spheres. Tim is taken and presumably killed by a Tall Man’s minion (most probably a dwarf, or a living dead, as we never get to see it clearly. We assumed he is killed because he simply disappears from the story).

- The Tall Man sets Reggie free to “play a last game” and leaves Boulton.
- Mike, driving a hearse, travels to Nevada and reaches the Death Valley desert, where he finds traces of The Tall Man.
- Reggie, after fighting the Demon Trooper, follows Jody’s indications and travels southwest to find Mike. On the way, he meets a beautiful girl called Jennifer. Pretty much as The Lady in Lavender and Chemy, Jennifer is The Tall Man’s minion in disguise who almost kills him before being defeated.
- Mike finds several space gates in the middle of the desert and travels through space, time and different dimensions. He gets to know Jebediah Morningside, The Tall Man’s real (or human) identity. He also finds out how the space gates where created and the origin of his biggest enemy. At the same time, Mike begins to mistrust Jody, suspecting he is too much under the influence of The Tall Man.
- Reggie finally finds Mike in Death Valley. In a different dimension, Mike kills (Chief Archivists note: Did he?) his brother Jody, who is ultimately revealed to be another servant of The Tall Man. In a final (?) battle, Mike defeats The Tall Man with the help of a sphere he has manufactured by himself. But The Tall Man comes back one last time…

... and what happens in the end is open to interpretation.

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