Monday, August 27, 2012

Bad/awesome flixxx review: Phantasm II (1988)

"You think that when you die, you go to Heaven? You come to us!" - The Tall Man

"Come on. Lets go kick some ass." - Reggie Bannister

"You've got to warn people!" - Father Myers

If you watched the first Phantasm movie and like me decided it was one of the awesomest/most confusing horror films ever made, its possible that you too were hooked and craved more information about this "Tall Man" and his gate to another world. And its highly likely that you too sought out the first sequel thinking that you would probably be filled in with some sort of origin story or some background for the Tall Man and his dwarf minions... well you like me were dead wrong. This is another highly confusing Coscarelli masterpiece set 9 years after the first film. Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm reprise their roles in PHANTASM II!!!

So- the main obvious weird thing that sticks out for everyone watching this sequel is that once you watch the flashback scenes that get you up to speed on what went down in the first one (since it was ten years later and they had a bigger budget, they were planning on having a ton of new fans) you realize that they neglected to cast the original Mike! They brought in some other douche! And he SUCKED! BIGTIME! He's the guy from something and something else. You recognize him, but you can't put your finger on it. IMDB says POINT BREAK and DRUGSTORE COWBOY. I say whatever. He doesn't ruin the movie, you figure, its been ten years, the kid's gonna look different anyway. So this one starts right where the last one left off. Only its being told by a female narrator who is psychically linked with Mike. She sees what happened to him in the first movie and believes that when her grandfather dies, the Tall Man is going to come for her as well. The only thing is, if she would have just ignored him, the Tall Man probably would have left her alone.

So she sees Reggie run up the stairs at the end of the first movie to save Mike from the dwarves. He is surrounded but turns off the stove pilot lights thinking that it will blow the house sky high once the fumes reach the fireplace. He's right, and he barely gets Mike out before it goes. Fast forward and Mike has been in a mental hospital for 10 years! HA! Because no one believed him. Fucked up how Reggie didn't have to go or anything. So Mike, even though he has visions and secretly speaks telepathically with this chick Liz, fakes his way out of the looney bin by pretending to be all cool. They let him out and like a few hours later Reggie finds him in the graveyard digging up graves. Sure they're all empty, but Reg talks him out of there so they don't lock him away for ever for being weird as hell. He tries to convince Reg that what he says is true but Reggie doesn't really believe him, and is taking him to his house with his new wife and daughter who are making them dinner. Suddenly Mike has a vision that the house explodes and then the house really does explode right before their eyes killing Reggie's whole family. Now we have Reggie as the narrator. So far we've had three narrators for this one. WEIRD (but unique). He tells us that his family being blown to bits showed him the Mike may be on to something with his visions. Its also weird as hell that we've seen this similar looking house blow up 3 times in the first ten minutes of the movie.

So now we get a solid 5 minutes of sweet scenes of Reggie and Mike driving Mike's dead brother Jody from the first movie's badass car around the country in beautiful settings searching high and low for the Tall Man. There's a montage scene where they build a flame thrower and a sweet 4 barrell sawed off shogun. All the while Mike keeps getting closer and closer to finding the Tall Man having these weird psychic links with Liz. Her grandfather dies and then at the wake, Liz wonders around tehf funeral home that looks like the one from the first flick. Then the weird priest stabs her dead grandfather in the heart while he's in his casket causing the grandmother to faint in the church AND THEY NEVER EVER SAY A THING ABOUT IT!!! She's just laying in the bed that night. I guess we don't really get the chance because she ends up waking to her dead gross husband laying beside of her. The priest is ashamed because he knows heavy bad shit is going down in the morgue below, but he can't really do anything about it because he knows they'll kill his ass too. Anyway, Liz gets a psychic email from the Tall Man saying if she wants her grandmother back she'll have to come back to the morgue to get her. Back on the trail with the boys, Mike wakes up and finds that Reggie picked up this super hot hitchhiker that he may or may not have seen laying dead in the morgue way back where ever they were. He tries to warn Reg, but Reg has some solid boner logic that pulls through. So the hitchhiker chick just so happens to need to go to Perigord where Liz's fiasco is going down.

The Tall Man releases the wild ass flying sphere from the first movie, only this time, he has 3 in a baby coffin. Then a lot of shit happens. Preacher eats it, Liz meets Mike, they all go back to rest, Liz gets kidnapped, they wreck Jody's badass car flipping it and gas leaking with a narrow escape before explosion a la MAD MAX, they boys fight with the morticians and some grave digger dudes, and capture a sphere so they can enter the Tall Man's realm. They also get a sphere to jab into his face but he pulls it out and crushes it like it was a beer can. The Tall Man throws them into the weird dimension through the portal and this creepy baby almost gets Reggie till Mike pulls him out. They get out and barely rescue Liz from being pumped with what the Tall Man thinks is the dwarf embalming shit, but its really hydrochloric acid that Reggie switched. They act fast and jab the hose into the Tall Man filling him with the acid and melting him down. Its SICK. Then they torch the place and split in the Tall Man's hearse that Alchemy (the hitchhiker) stole. Mike and Liz hop in the back and Alchemy starts to take her shirt off and Reg is ready for it, but then she pulls some of her hair off and he starts to freak out, bailing out of the speeding car. Mike and Liz try to tell themselves its just a dream, but the Tall Man looks back through the window of the hearse and says, "NO- IT'S NOT." And then hands pull them screaming through the back window just like at the end of the first movie. WOW. This one is pretty bad, but for some reason, I STILL liked it. Something about this series. The Tall Man, the weird spheres, the graveyards, the nonsensical plots, the bad ass car, some nude stuff- Its got a little bit of everything. Should you see it? Its not essential like the first one, but go for it if you were a fan of that one.

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