51, then feel free to check it out. It could use some hits!
I remember Phantasm 2 so well mainly because it was a movie I first watched with my dad. That isn't the only reason that makes this one a favorite of course, but it ranks right up there with the other reasons. Even though he got me over my fear of horror movies, we really didn't watch all that many together. If I remember right, it was the first time either of us had watched Phantasm 2, and we both loved it. I admit it has been many years since I last watched this one. I don't have it in my collection sadly. When I bought Phantasm and Phantasm 3 on DVD, this one wasn't out yet in that format. It has since come to DVD, I believe anyway, but Netflix has it on their instant watch, so I just watched it that way yesterday.
For those of you that haven't watched Phantasm 2 yet, there was nine years between movies being made, and nine years have passed for the characters as well. Phantasm 2 starts off with Mike (now being played by James LeGros) being released from a mental hospital, where he has apparently been since the end of the last movie. Doctors believe that Mike now realizes that the events from the first movie never actually happened, but the truth is, Mike doesn't believe that at all. He heads to the nearest grave yard and starts digging up graves. This is where Reggie (Reggie Bannister) finds him, after the third one with no body in it. Mike tells Reggie about his dreams, where he feels a woman named Liz (Paula Irvine) is in danger because of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). Reggie doesn't much believe everything that happened, until the house his family is in blows up. Reggie and Mike decide to try and find this woman Mike has been dreaming about, and take the war to the Tall Man.
As I always do, I sat down to watch this one in order to refresh my memory before writing about it. I admit that it took a little while before I remember why I liked Phantasm 2 so much. It starts off in an odd way with Liz providing a flashback to the original movie and how it ended, and then some. The ending is actually extended here, which was all filmed just for this sequel. If I could change anything about this film, it would be the way the flashback was handled. Without knowing who Liz even is yet, or why she is important to the story, she is giving a recap of the original movie. I understand the reason behind it, it had been nine years between movies after all.
Phantasm 2 started off a little slower than I remembered it. The first major effect that is found still made me get a little wide eyed at it. If anything stands out about this one, it is the effects. From the face that comes out of a woman's back, to the gold ball getting stuck inside of a person, the effects really stand out. This sequel had the highest budget of any of the movies in the series, and it does show. There are also some real nice action sequences that have a mild mix of comedy thrown in. The fight that Reggie gets into stands out to me the most. Once the action starts, it doesn't let up for very long, which I think is the main reason I liked this sequel the most and it has become a favorite for me. That and the way the metal balls were used. The addition of the new gold ball was great, and added to things a lot.
At the time that I first watched this one, I don't know if I didn't realize there was a casting change for the role of Mike, or if I thought it might have been the same actor. Some fans resent that A. Michael Baldwin was not recast, and feel that James LeGros wasn't right for the role. Other fans feel the other way around. As it turns out, the studio (Universal) had their hand in this movie a little more than writer/director Don Coscarelli would have liked. Universal threw down some things they wanted for this sequel, like no dream sequences, a more linear plot, a love interest for Mike, and perhaps most the most important change is that they wanted both leads be recast. After fighting that last one, Coscarelli was allowed to keep one of the two for sure, so he went with Reggie Bannister, believing his role would be the hardest to recast. Baldwin was forced to audition for the role of Mike. Obviously he didn't get it with the reason mostly being he had not been in anything since the last Phantasm movie. Personally I didn't mind the recasting of Mike. It is nice when the same actor can reprise their role, and I do prefer that, but sometimes it doesn't always work out for the best when they do.
Even though Phantasm 2 is one my favorites, I didn't get everything about it. I already talked about how the flashback at the start of the movie was done, but I also didn't get the connection that Mike and Liz felt with each other. There is a point where the talk to each other just by using their minds. I think Coscarelli does try to explain it some, but it didn't really work for me too well. Even so, I liked the interaction between Liz and Mike, even if it wasn't much of a love story there. If you have never checked this one out, then you should at some point. It isn't the favorite in the series for everyone, but it looked like the majority of fans rank it either one or two in their list. It helps to see the first movie, but the recap gives just enough information that you don't really need to. Meanwhile, I am off to watch the third movie.
6 days ago