The mind can be a terrible and wondrous thing. In the presence of horror and destruction, the mind can transform a place or setting and take us to someplace we would rather be. On the flip end, the mind can also take us into our deepest darkest fears.
Phantasm revolves around Jody and Mike Pearson, two brothers who recently lost their parents. Along with these two their best friend Reggie also tags along. While Mike begins to notice very strange things happening at a local cemetery he still thinks everything is normal. Eventually weird turns into weirder and the viewer is taken on a rollercoaster of horror, humor, and straight up bizarre.
What this movie does incredibly well is balance what it is and what it wants to be. It’s a cult film that has all of those cult qualities. The special effects are awful and there is humor around every corner. Some films act like they are a cinematic masterpiece, while Phantasm understands what it is and uses that to its advantage. Phantasm is a world with no limits and the ending of the film, which I won’t give away, further buys into the idea that anything can happen when there are no rules. The music is brilliant, incorporating cliché horror tones with legitimately catchy rock songs. The acting is over the top, which is what you would expect from an independent cult horror, but never did I feel annoyed with the actors. When it comes to pure unadulterated entertainment, Phantasm is exactly what you want from a horror film.
Shockingly, unlike many cult horrors, this movie has sentimental moments that make the viewer reflect on the meaning of life and death. How do we react to close ones dying and how does our mind handle such trauma? Do we laugh it all off and imagine our happy place? Or do we imagine a world where anyone can die at any moment? Hopefully none of us have to experience this directly, but Phantasm does a wonderful job of investigating these questions. If you go into watching this movie with the mindset that horror has no bounds or guidelines, you are going to have an incredible viewing experience.
Horror island is receiving a film that tackles many issues while maintaining a strong identity. While zombies are incorporated in this movie, I personally feel Phantasm is much more of a supernatural film than a zombie one. So is horror island receiving one of the scariest films of all time? No, it isn’t, but it is receiving one that will catch you off guard and stick with you for a very long time. For that reason, the other creatures on the island better be ready for Phantasm, because you never know what can stick into your head when your mind becomes set on something.
If you liked Phantasm, you might also like Psychomania and It.