monster

Shaun vs. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)

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Directed by Don Coscarelli

Starring A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm

The Tall Man kidnaps Michael so it’s Reggie to the rescue with a tag along kid and a bad ass sista with nunchucks at his side!  


 

Picking up where the last movie left off, the Tall Man drives away with Michael and Liz leaving Reggie for dead before the hearse inexplicably blows up. Reggie races over to find Mike alive…Liz unfortunately didn’t make it. They fight off some dwarves before escaping to a house where they find Michael’s dead brother Jody hanging out. Jody is dead and was turned into one of the spheres (now called Sentinels.)  That would seem odd in any other movie but a guy who morphs into one of the villains’ evil spheres seems par for the course in Phantasm. Jody tries to help his friend and brother but the Tall Man shows up to fry the ball and kidnaps Michael. Reggie takes the Jody/sphere with him as he travels from town to town in search of his compadre. Along the way he runs into Tim, a young boy who, just like Michael, had his parents taken away from him by the Tall Man.  And then there’s Rocky, a black woman with an attitude who really knows how to use nunchucks. They band together in search of Michael and to finally put an end to the Tall Man.

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I think he’s going to enjoy this.

Once again, Reggie Bannister returns as the shotgun-toting sex fiend we all know, love and wonder how in the hell the ice cream man of all people survived beyond the first movie. (Just kidding, Reg!) A. Michael Baldwin makes his triumphant return to the series, coming back from the original movie to play Michael. If anyone knows how to play Michael, it’s Baldwin (he was the original after all) but he sometimes comes off like a robot when he acts. He doesn’t react to this weird shit like Reggie does, who is constantly dumbfounded by how crazy things have gotten.  I’m not big on child actors when given a big role in movies, I find them distracting but Kevin Connors did a good job as Tim. If I were ten-years old I’d be scared shitless of these things, but this kid is tough. Gloria Lynne Henry plays a good badass, she just looks kind of ridiculous with the crew cut haircut.  And I don’t have to remind you of how well Angus Scrimm portrays the Tall Man, he has few lines but he is so imposing all he has to do is standing and walking like Rory Calhoun.

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Phantasm II didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, Universal stuck with the series but cut the budget a little bit and released the movie direct to video this time. It’s unfortunate because this is probably the strongest entry in the series and does a lot of things right.  The big thing for me is how much more information we’re given to explain things! We learn a bit more about the Tall Man and just what he might be and we also see how the spheres are made which was cool. I really enjoyed being let in on some of the secrets behind the Phantasm lore and wish the filmmakers had done that a sequel ago.

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Phantasm III may be the best the series has to offer and it only took fifteen years to even start explaining the story.  There’s a lot more humour added to this film which makes sense given that Reggie is on the screen most of the time and the poor guy never gets a break with all the grisly stuff going on and it balances out the gory scenes which include the signature sphere attack which is really bloody this time around.

TL;DR

Story: 7 – If you can’t get enough of the crazy shit Coscarelli throws at you, you’ll dig right in.

Blood: 7 – Mmm, more yellow blood and ball attacks.

Nudity: 3 – We get a quick topless flash but that’s all.  Though there are a lot of uncovered balls throughout the movie.

Rating: 7 – Surprisingly this is a series that thus far gets better with each sequel.  If you made it through the first two, you should surely enjoy the third.

Trivia

– The film was shot over 45 days though it was mostly night shoots in a cemetery and mausoleum.  Bleh.

– The soundtrack is essentially the same score from Phantasm II.

– Don Coscarelli reportedly admitted during filming that he had run out of ideas after finishing the script for this sequel and had no clue which direction would the story take in case there was a fourth Phantasm movie.

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