The "game" is almost over! As one of the longest-running horror series which (thus far) has never been rebooted, the Phantasm franchise has always felt incomplete. Short on plot and heavy on visual spectacle, each film inevitably leaves us with a frustrating cliffhanger. After the last one, 1998's Phantasm IV: Oblivion, fans weren't sure if there would ever be a proper conclusion. However, Phantasm: Ravager has the opportunity to fix all of that when it's released this coming October.
After the teaser trailer was first released two years ago (!), precious little information about the project became available. It got to the point where the likelihood of its release was in doubt. Now that we know that's no longer an issue, here is everything we know going into Phantasm: Ravager.
Don Coscarelli Will Not Be Directing
Don Coscarelli's name has basically been synonymous with Phantasm since the original film's release in 1979. Without his creativity, there would be no Phantasm, no Tall Man. In addition to writing, editing, producing and cinematography, Coscarelli's work on the series has included directing. This time, however, he has abdicated the director's chair to David Hartman, with whom he has co-written the fifth and final film.
The Lady In Lavender Returns
Apart from the one-off recasting of Mike in Phantasm II, one of the series' greatest assets has been continuity in its main cast. Sure, they may have gotten older, but we are still able to easily identify these characters for who they are. One face that has been absent since 1979 is Kathy Lester as the Lady in Lavender. We never did learn her character's name, and with good reason.
The Lady in Lavender is one of the Tall Man's cruelest tricks. She is nothing more than a disguise that the Tall Man used to lure in unsuspecting men so he could kill them and repurpose their bodies into soldiers for his army. It's a distinct possibility that at one time the Lady in Lavender was a real woman who fell victim to the Tall Man. For now, this is only conjecture, but it could be a revelation made by Phantasm: Ravager, since we know from the trailer that the Lady in Lavender is making a return appearance.
Although she is not represented by the teaser trailer, it's been hinted that Gloria Lynne Henry, who portrayed Rocky in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, is also making a comeback. She provided good backup for Reggie at the time. Not to mention that she was a bright spot in an otherwise weak sequel. Considering how much more powerful that the Tall Man has become since we last saw Rocky, Reggie could use the extra muscle.
The Tall Man Was Once Human
A strong case for the Lady in Lavender having once been a normal human being is the evidence that the Tall Man himself was not always an immortal monster from another dimension. Mike Pearson discovered via time travel in Phantasm IV: Oblivion that the Tall Man was once a 19th century mortician named Jebediah Morningside. He was a curious and brilliant man who invented a method of interdimensional travel. Unfortunately, the first time he used it, someone quite different returned. What isn't clear is whether the being we call the Tall Man is Morningside transformed, or if he/it simply killed Morningside and assumed his appearance.
Whether this is something that Mike and Reggie (the toughest ice cream man you'll ever see) can exploit is yet to be determined. Mike tried unsuccessfully to prevent Morningside from entering his portal, so that method is out. All previous attempts to kill the Tall Man outright have also failed. Every time the Tall Man's physical body is destroyed, a brand new one emerges from the portal. For what remains of humanity to prevail, our boys are going to have to come at this from an angle they haven't considered.
The Tall Man Has New Toys
One of the most universally loved things about the Phantasm series is the array of weapons the Tall Man has at his disposal. Specifically, I'm talking about the infamous silver spheres, flying balls of doom which kill by drilling into the foreheads of their victims and draining all of their blood. With each sequel, a new iteration of the sphere has been introduced. Some of them come in gold. They all contain the shrunken brains of the Tall Man's victims. One of them used to be Mike's older brother, Jody. Now, it appears that the spheres can be supersized and fire laser beams capable of leveling tall buildings!
Someone Must Emerge Victorious
I seriously doubt that the creators of Phantasm: Ravager would have bothered after an 18-year hiatus to bring us a sequel that ends on yet another cliffhanger. The passing of actor Angus Scrimm also means that, if the Tall Man is to return at any point in the future (including any remakes), he'll have to be played by a brand new actor.
The emphasis on the word "final" in regards to this film tends to suggest that someone will win the battle between good and evil. Either outcome sounds intriguing, but for a horror series that has strung fans along for nearly 40 years, I would think the smart play would be to allow Mike and Reggie to win the day. Personally, as long as we get to see the quadruple-barreled shotgun one last time, I'll be happy!
Along with killer spheres, check out the video below for some of the most bizarre killers ever seen in horror movies:
So, my fellow Phans, what are you most excited about seeing in Phantasm: Ravager? Let me know in the comments section below!