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Monday, May 22, 2017

Phantasm Week Day 2: Phantasm II (Part of the Phantasm Collection) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots



Phantasm II doesn't hold a candle to the first film, but does try to do its own thing. While it does not succeed all that well, one has to give them credit for trying. The fact that this film was made within the studio system is a miracle in and of itself






Previous Day(s) in the Week of Phantasm:

Day 1: Phantasm (1979)


THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2




The Ball Is Back (46m 38s, HD)

This is a newer making of from Scream Factory and it is a pretty damn good making of. We start with the success of the first film and how Universal wanted to make the sequel during their “horror days”. We then move into the script and the casting (the most famous bit being the replacement of Michael Baldwin as Michael with James LeGros.) We end with the film not being the box office juggernaut that everyone though it was going to be, but the studio still makes money, so it had to a success. This is definite viewing for any Phantasm fan.

The Gory Days (22m 1s, SD)

Greg Nicotero is interviewed and tells the story of the first films that KNB worked on along with all of the effects done for Phantasm II. There is a lot of behind the scenes video on display which I found more interesting than the KNB story as told on so many other blu-rays.

Deleted Scenes (6m 51s, HD)

Seven scenes on display here.

Workprint Scenes (18m 58s, SD, 1.33:1)

We get scene extensions, deleted scenes, and, best of all, the gore that was cut to obtain an R rating. 
All in very rough quality with timecodes.

TV Spots (1m 25s, SD, 1.33:1)

Three spots here.

Behind the Scenes:

                -Make Up & Effects (9m12s, SD, 1.33:1)

                -On the Set (9m 8s, SD)

Fly on the wall video showing scenes being shot.

Trailers:

                -Phantasm (2m 17s, SD)

                -Phantasm II (1m 27s, HD)

                -Phantasm III (1m 27s, SD)

The trailers for part one and three can be found in HD on their respective discs in this collection. And why not have a trailer for part four? I know that people don’t like the film, but it is part of the series.

Still Galleries:

                -Behind the Scenes (4m 17s, HD) (52 Images)

                -Make Up & Effects (3m 12s, HD) (39 Images)

                -Posters & Stills (5m 17s, HD) (64 Images)

Rare Short Starring Rory Guy (Angus Scrimm) (18m 40s, SD)

This is a short about Abraham Lincoln’s life starring Angus Scrimm as Lincoln. It isn’t too bad and it is nice to see Scrimm doing something different.

THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Note: This is part of the Phantasm box set.


The front cover is reversible: One side with the new art (which I don’t like), a black background with the silver sphere in the middle and the title at the top.



The other side is the film’s original theatrical poster (which I do like)



The back cover gives all we need to know about this release (ie: special features, film’s plot, etc)


The disc art is the silver sphere with the title of the film.

The disc is REGION A (locked)

THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐


This is the older Scream Factory release and even when that disc was released there were problems that people had with the transfer. I think that the film looks good, but you can tell that this was taken from an older master. Everything seems to be a bit duller than you would think. This is of course coming off of the new 4K transfer for the first film, so almost anything is going to look bad in comparison, but I didn’t really have any problems with this transfer, outside of it being an older master.

THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐


Again, there were many who complained about the sound here and I didn’t get any of that. Everything sounded fine here. Dialogue was crisp and clear and there were no distortions that I heard. It is a good track.

THE FILM ⭐⭐1/2


Released after seven years in a mental hospital, Mike convinces his old pal Reggie to join forces with him to hunt down and destroy The Tall Man once and for all. Mike's visions lead the two to a quiet little town where a horde of flying killer balls aim to slice and dice their gruesome way through everyone.

Phantasm II is a bigger film than the first one, but that doesn’t make it a better film. While both films lead us on journeys that are not all that they seem, Phantasm II is a bit more confused, and lacks a certain charm that the first film had. It also has pacing issues that are worse than the first film’s.

This film is a road trip film, but it feels like it takes us nowhere. The town at the beginning of the film looks exactly like the town at the end, just roughed up more. We are supposed to be following the Tall Man as he goes from town to town, stealing bodies to make little people with, but there is a strange lack of urgency. The two leads in the film have lost multiple family members and are out for revenge, but they have time to stop off for some quick hanky panky.

The effects here are very well done and Angus Scrimm is still just as scary as he was in the first film. I just wish that Phantasm II was nearly as good as the first film. The film isn’t bad, but it takes a long time to get moving and once it does, the film is almost over. I think that the film would have been better off if they had made it independently like the first film. This film reeks of too much studio meddling.

Still, it is amazing that this film was made at a studio in the first place.

Phantasm II is not a bad film, but I did find it more routine than the first film. The film plays more like a conventional horror film than the first film, but still tries to appear like the first film. Had Coscarelli played a little looser with the timeline we might have had a slightly better film. Slightly.

OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐


I applaud the fact that Scream Factory and Universal were willing to license out Phantasm II and all of the special features (it is the same disc only with new disc art) to make the Phantasm Collection complete. This is a really good disc. The picture quality is good, but not great and the sound is good as well. The special features are the big selling point here (besides the film) and they are worth every penny. A must buy for any Phantasm fan.
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