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Phantasm II

US Theatrical Poster
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Produced by Roberto A. Quezada
Written by Don Coscarelli
Starring Angus Scrimm
James LeGros
Reggie Bannister
Paula Irvine
Music by Fred Myrow
Christopher L. Stone
Cinematography Daryn Okada
Editing by Peter Teschner
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) July 8, 1988
Running time 97 minutes
Language English
Budget $3,000,000
Gross revenue $7,282,851
Preceded by Phantasm
Followed by Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead

Phantasm II is the 1988 sequel to Phantasm. It was written and directed by Don Coscarelli, starring Angus Scrimm, James LeGros and Reggie Bannister.



Picking up where the first movie left off, the Tall Man and his minions attempts to take Mike but Reggie manages to save Mike and turns on the gas with the fire place on and blows up the house killing the Tall Man's minions.

Seven years later, the film introduces Liz Reynolds (Paula Irvine), a young woman with a psychic bond to Mike Pearson and the Tall Man that manifests in the form of prophetic nightmares. After she awakens from one, she rifles through the pages of her dream journal, which includes drawings detailing characters and events from the first film; during this, she recalls a vision that acts as a flashback that picks up immediately where the first film ended: after the Tall Man's minions attacked Mike through the mirror, Reggie heard the commotion and ran upstairs to his aid, where he found the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) and a dwarf Lurker dragging him out. He attempted to procure a shotgun, but while searching for ammunition, he was attacked by Lurkers and was forced to flee through a laundry chute, although he managed to surreptitiously snuff the pilot lights on the stove to feed gas into the house beforehand. Once upstairs, he dodged the Tall Man and rescued Mike, but a team of Lurkers ascended upstairs and the two dove out the bedroom window to escape as the gas fumes reached the living room fireplace and destroyed the house. Unfazed, the Tall Man departed. Following this, Liz then pleads for Mike to find her, as she fears that when her grandfather dies, the Tall Man will take him.

Having been institutionalized as delusional since the first film, Mike (James LeGros), now 19 years old, feels he can no longer ignore Liz's dream pleas, and fakes his recovery to obtain a doctor's release. At night, he returns to Morningside cemetery to exhume bodies and is interrupted by Reggie (Reggie Bannister), who tells him that the attack by "midgets" and the subsequent explosion from the flashback never occurred. Mike reveals that the coffins he dug up are empty and urges Reggie to help him hunt the Tall Man down; a groundskeeper's flashlight prompts them to leave. En route to Reggie's house, Mike receives a vision--likely from the Tall Man directly--of an impending gas explosion, and frantically tries to warn Reggie seconds before his house is consumed in an explosion, killing his wife Celeste and daughter Bonnie. Mike's futile warning convinces Reggie that he is telling the truth and, at the funeral, he agrees to accompany Mike on his quest.

They break into a hardware store at night and stock up on an abundance of supplies and tools; they also build a series of weapons: a portable flamethrower for Mike, and a four-barreled shotgun for Reggie. They then travel the country roads, encountering abandoned towns and pillaged graveyards, as well as a few traps and apparitions the Tall Man has left in his wake. One of them is an apparition of a fully nude deceased young woman. They follow clues that lead them to the final town along the state border: Perigord, Oregon.

Meanwhile, Liz's grandfather has died and accompanies her grandmother to the funeral with her sister Jeri, who leaves prematurely and mysteriously vanishes. While searching for her, Liz travels the corridors of the mortuary and discovers an exhumed coffin, but before she can open it, the Tall Man surprises her and she runs away. The presiding priest Father Meyers (Kenneth Tigar), wracked with fear and alcohol withdrawal, desecrates the grandfather's body with a knife in a desperate attempt to thwart the mysterious occurrences he has witnessed. That evening, during a bout of drinking, the reanimated grandfather surprises him at his door and then spirits into the grandmother's bed before absconding with her. In the morning, Liz finds the empty bed and a funeral pin; the Tall Man psychically tells her to return at night if she wants to rescue her grandmother.

Prior to their arrival to Perigord, Mike awakens to find that Reggie has picked up a hitchhiker named Alchemy (Samantha Phillips) who eerily resembles the nude apparition he encountered in the Mariton mortuary, but is unable to determine a course of action and allows her to tag along, much to Reggie's delight as he intends to eventually bed the young woman. They find Perigord deserted and decrepit, and hole up in an abandoned bed & breakfast before venturing out to the cemetery. Liz arrives at the mortuary to search for her grandmother, but is confronted by Father Meyers, who tries to rally her to escape with him before he is interrupted and then killed by a flying sphere; she encounters the Tall Man and discovers that her grandmother is now one of his Lurkers. As she escapes, she and Mike meet in the cemetery and return to the bed & breakfast, where they try to sleep and Reggie (almost) successfully beds Alchemy. When a tripped alarm distracts them downstairs, the Tall Man captures Liz and drives away in his hearse. Mike and Reggie give chase in their 1971 426 Hemicuda, but the Tall Man runs them off the road. They barely escape before it explodes.

Liz is brought to the crematorium by one of the Tall Man's two mortician assistants where she awakens but plays dead; she then manages to fight off the mortician by sending him into an active furnace and escapes. Mike and Reggie break into the mortuary and venture into the embalming room. As Reggie pours hydrochloric acid into a tank of embalming fluid, Mike discovers that the Tall Man, having learned from his mistakes of the first film, has hidden his transdimensional portal (Spacegate) behind a heavy steel door. In lieu of a handle, there is a large round "keyhole" in the wall and Mike realizes that they must capture a sphere in order to access the room. They then split up to find Liz.

Reggie searches the basement where he is attacked by a Graver (a gas-masked servant who exhumes graveyard bodies), and the two engage in a chainsaw battle which Reggie barely wins; he is also attacked by four Lurkers who he blows away with his shotgun. Mike saves Liz from a silver sphere but they are both attacked by the other mortician, who is defeated when the silver sphere pins his hand to a door and he chops it off to evade a golden sphere, which pursues Mike and Liz by plowing and even burning through doors; the second mortician doubles back and tries to kill Liz again, but the golden sphere breaks into the casket showroom and burrows into him, killing him viciously as it tries to dig its way out.

Reuniting with Reggie, the three pry the severed hand off the door and carry the embedded silver sphere to the embalming room, where they quickly shove it into the "keyhole" and open the metal door to the white room. As Mike shows Liz the dimensional gate, Reggie ignites the flamethrower to burn the building down, but the Tall Man surprises them, knocking Reggie down, throwing Mike into the portal, and carrying Liz to the embalming table. Reggie helps Mike climb back out, while the Tall Man prepares to embalm Liz alive with a giant probe; Mike pulls the silver sphere from the keyhole and releases it at the Tall Man, but he pries it off and crushes it effortlessly. Liz gets free and stabs the Tall Man with the probe, and Reggie quickly activates the embalming machine, pumping the acid-contaminated fluid into the Tall Man, who screams in agony as he melts to death. Reggie sets fire to the room and hallways and the trio are greeted at the back entrance by Alchemy, who has procured an abandoned hearse.

The quartet ride off into the night victoriously with Mike and Liz in the rear compartment, and Reggie and Alchemy in the driver's cabin. Reggie thanks her for coming back for them and tries to flirt with her until Alchemy gently plucks a section of hair and flesh from her head, revealing that she is not--and probably never was--human. As Reggie screams, the hearse swerves wildly and Mike and Liz try to get out; the hearse stops and a bloody and battered Reggie dazedly lands against the window before falling to the ground. As the hearse begins to drive away, Mike and Liz steel each other and tell each other "this is just a dream" but the slot to the driver's cabin opens, revealing the Tall Man who tells them "No, it's not."

A series of hands break the rear window and pull Mike and Liz through it, mirroring the ending of the first film.



This is the only installment in the Phantasm series that does not include the entire original main cast (Bill Thornbury and his character did not appear in this film), and the only one to replace a main character with another actor. After acquiring the greenlight to make the film, Universal executives insisted on replacing the two main characters of Mike and Reggie with recognizable actors instead of the original ones. Don Coscarelli resisted their efforts and was forced to audition A. Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister for the opportunity to reprise their roles. His efforts won him a concession: he was allowed to keep one of the two, but had to replace the other; Coscarelli chose to keep Reggie Bannister, and cast James LeGros in Baldwin's place. This is why Mike's face is never shown in the flashback scenes shot for this film as Baldwin was not cast, and thus, a stuntwoman stood in his place.

The casting of James LeGros has had a conflicted effect on the cast members. LeGros reportedly enjoyed his time on the production and got along very well with the cast and crew; even 20 years later, Coscarelli, Scrimm, and Bannister speak glowingly of their experience with him. A. Michael Baldwin, however, appears to remain bitter about the incident: in the audio commentary for Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, he twice referred to Phantasm II as "the film which shan't be named."

The budget of this film is reported as $3,000,000.00, the largest of all the Phantasm films, but allegedly the lowest of any Universal production in the 1980s.

There is a slight "change of premise" or "ret-con" at the beginning of the film. Footage from the first Phantasm originally showed Reg and Mike at Mike's house. In Phantasm II, these scenes take place in Reggie's house. A new set, that has some distinct differences from the original film, is utilized. The new set recreates the fireplace, gun-rack, bedroom and hallway (now upstairs) seen in Phantasm, but there are some obvious changes, likely included to create the impression that we are now in a different location. This creates a continuity error when Mike runs up the spiral staircase to the right of the fireplace. After the footage from the first film ends, the spiral staircase has vanished and been replaced by a mini-bar. This requires Reggie to run up a different flight of steps to get to Mike. It is not clear why director Coscarelli chose to include the shots of the spiral staircase, since this represents an obvious error in continuity.

The US television edit of Phantasm II is sought after by fans because of its inclusion of alternate shots and slightly altered sequences from the theatrical cut and a slightly different narrative.

Home video release

The film was released by Universal Home Entertainment on VHS. A Region 1 DVD was released by Universal on September 15, 2009. The Region 1 release only includes the original theatrical trailer as an extra. A German bootleg currently circulates on the internet that has behind-the scenes footage, a full-length work print, horror festival footage and few additional extras. The film has been attributed to an inability of Universal and Anchor Bay to reach a mutually amenable distribution deal (but since the film was distributed independently in international territories, it was easier for Anchor Bay in the UK to obtain the rights). There have also been DVDs for this film in some other regions.


External links



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