monster

Shaun vs. Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)

4phanDirected by Don Coscarelli

Starring A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm

The Tall Man pursues Michael across the Earth, other dimensions and even through time as Michael learns more about his enemy.  Reggie is still stuck trying to save Mike from doing something stupid and fights off evil minions in order to get to Mike before the Tall Man does.


After the last movie, Michael has driven off to get as far away from the Tall Man as he can while his dead brother Jody (who you may recall was turned into a [spoiler!] sphere) tries to get Reggie to go after him as the Tall Man closes in on what he’s wanted all this time; to put a sphere in Michael’s head…? But instead of going right for it, the Tall Man allows Michael some time to figure things out. What we’re given is a movie that sets up all the big explanations we’ve been waiting for but the pay off wouldn’t come until the next movie. The only problem is that movie still hasn’t come out so fans have been left hanging for years for a conclusion to not only the events of this film, but the the whole series.

4phan2

The Tall Man is also the Quaker Oats guy?

Trying to secure funding for what was to be called “Phantasm 1999” and later “Phantasm’s End,” Coscarelli filmed “Oblivion” on a shoestring budget to create new footage to work around unused footage from the previous movies, mostly the original. So the film presents us with quite a few flashbacks as Michael is faced with some major dilemmas and decisions that will affect his future, for better or worse. We’re given glimpses of the Tall Man before he became the creepy undertaker when Michael digs around in the past of his arch rival (apparently the gate to the Tall Man’s world also acts a time machine.) Meanwhile, Reggie gets all the action scenes as he fights off more dwarf zombies all the while running into yet another beautiful woman for him to tragically fall in love with.  The poor guy never gets a break.

4phan4

This is what happens when guys pinch too hard.

After watching the last couple movies, the acting from all the leads is par for the course. Baldwin does a decent job, Reggie is Reggie and you can’t help but watch Scrimm as he commands our attention with just the People’s Eyebrow. The effects for the flying spheres are pretty noticeable these days, often you can see the wires they “fly” on.  But the film still looks like “Phantasm” through and through and looks good for a film made on such a low budget, though it is lacking in the gore department compared to the previous films.

4phan3

It’s time to kick ass and eat ice cream. And I’m all out of ice cream.

I liked where this movie was going with the story, it had a lot of build up for some interesting pay offs that I really wanted to see, so it’s slightly disappointing that most of those pay offs never happen, likely being saved for the eventual sequel.  It takes forever for a Phantasm movie to come out, I would think they would wrap up the main story but leave some threads open if they can make another sequel down the road.  But just like the other movies, the filmmakers are defiant to have an ending so we must brave time to wait for the next film.

However, the good news is that there will be a sequel, it’s called Phantasm V: Ravager and will be coming out soon!  So maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally see how this odd but somewhat epic series come to a hopefully epic end.  Or, more likely, Coscarelli will tease us with yet another cliffhanger for the eventual Phantasm VI: Angus Scrimm Lives!

TL;DR

Story: 7 – The film takes great strides in getting us prepared for what’s to come, we just have to keep waiting for it to come.

Blood: 5 – Not quite as bloody as the previous movies, there’s still plenty of yellow blood oozing and a great shot of a couple of spheres protruding from a woman’s chest.

Boobs: 2 – The boobs are not real.

Rating: 5 – As a stand alone film, it’s only average, but still piles on more screwy Phantasm lore to delight and confuse us all.

Trivia

– The cast worked guerilla-style in the early morning to film on an empty Wilshire Blvd, the largest street in Los Angeles.  They got about ten minutes of uninterrupted footage before they had to leave.

– Filming took only 23 days.

– In a scene where Reggie shoots a dwarf in the face, the dwarf is played by Don Coscarelli’s daughter.  Harsh, dude.

And now to leave you with one of the best parts about Phantasm: the theme music!

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