I won't abide an unkind word about Don Coscarelli's 1979 cult classic horror flick known as Phantasm. Half a bizarre but cohesive thriller and half a compendium of bizarrely effective nightmare logic, the original Phantasm is one of the only movies to give me actual nightmares -- and I still think it holds up as a testament to the power of unique, weird, independent horror cinema.I mention all of that because, well, as much as I adore Phantasm and many of Mr. Coscarelli's other films (Bubba Ho-tep, John Dies at the End, The Beastmaster, etc.) I've never really taken to the Phantasm sequels. It's a rare franchise in that all four chapters kept the same writer/director, and I'll always take unpredictable weirdness over lethargic formula, but where the first Phantasm was weird but mostly decipherable, the sequels are almost maddeningly confusing. Sure, each one has its charms, mainly because Don Coscarelli is a mad genius even in his weakest moments, but beginning with 1988's Phantasm 2, the series went from a strange but simple narrative to more or less visual horror lunacy with little in the way of character, plot, or simple context.
It's hard to imagine the Phantasm fan who prefers the sequel over the original, but if this kooky little horror flick holds a place in your nostalgia vault, this blu-ray is a no-brainer acquisition.