Phantasm 4: Oblivion
a.k.a. Phantasm 4: Infinity
Run Time: 90 minutes
Production Company: Orion Home Video, Warner Brothers
Director: Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Phantasm II, Phantasm III, Beastmaster)
Starring: Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, and Angus Scrimm as "The Tall Man"
T & A: Hell Yes?
White Man Speak With: Firearms, You Fucking Savage
Well, you just can't get enough of this shit can you. "This" rearranged spells "shit". The PHANTASM series has definitely proven to be one of the more auspicious (that means it makes you moist--kinda like Betty Crocker--She knows what guys want--titty, midgets, and flying balls of death) experiments in horror movie history. After three episodes of greatness, we've finally come to the fourth installment. It's not a particularly satisfying fourth act, but keep in mind Hamlet didn't do jackshit in Act IV, so don't be too quick to judge. And besides, it has never taken Reggie but a hop, skip, and fuck to pick up his shotgun and take action.
OBLIVION appears to take place immediately after the ending to part III, but what the fuck happened to the kid? Was he not with Reggie when the greek god Testicles proclaimed his wrath and ball-fucked him in the mausoleum? Anyway, Mike and Reggie have been split up at the beginning of the flick. Mike has driven off in a hearse, and if you'll recall PHANTASM III, his sense of character has been left in question. Has the Tall Man gotten the best of him? Is that ball in his head controlling him? Did he get the six dollar insurance on that hearse? Most of the story revolves around Mike running off to find himself. Reggie of course sticks with his stock storyline and goes after the Tall Man, gettin' a lot of puddin' along the way. (You know what I'm talking about--wink, wink--that's right, we're talking about that nasty yellow shit that renders it necesary for lunch ladies wear gloves).
The key difference that separates this one from the other flicks in the series is its focus on plot. And we all know how we feel about plot. It seems like the producers sat around at the preliminary discussions about the film and said, "Well, we've made three fucking films and we still don't have a story. We can make up for it in one movie." But, its kind of like giant-sized potato chip bags. There ain't no taters in them craters. The movie spends too much time on plot and suffers from long spells that are as dry as Bea Arthur's crack. The story attempts to go into the tall man's origin, but it really doesn't explain shit (not that there's anything wrong with that). But, I don't care what you say, the black and white Civil War flashback is one of the most innovative achievements in horror history. And if you disagree, I'll shove my rusty bayonet up your ass and give you gangrene, bitch. There's a shitload of flashbacks, some of which invoke unused footage from the first PHANTASM. It also attempts to delineate some sort of Star Warsian Luke-Darth Vader relationship between Mike and the Tall Man, but really all it does is leave you wondering if Spike Lee and Rosie Perez ever fucked.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the film, which we in no way blame the filmmakers for, as we understand that the budget was ridiculously low, was the tame violence. There are several instances in which we are set up for potentially orgasmic acts of violence, but then we are left hard. For instance, a body is on the floor. The head is at Reggie's feet. Reggie has a sledge hammer. Reggie raises the sledge hammer and exercises his dry, cool wit. A low-angle shot reveals the sledge hammer falling toward the camera. Cut to next scene. Bullshit. Never before has this been a problem in the PHANTASM series. Fuck the Jama Mama Kool-Aid snortin' motherfuckers who withheld the much needed funds for this movie.
Nonetheless, despite all the problems, this movie does have some great isolated moments. Reggie gets into a hilarious duel with an ambiguously purposeful maniac zombie cop who beats the shit out of him and tattoos his head with the car door. Pay attention to the top left of the screen when zombie cop exits the flaming car. There's some cool cinematography effects to check out complements of Mr. Paul's keen eyes. Tall Man also has one of his greatest moments in which he makes lassie come home for good. The way this little montage plays out is flawless. Sometimes you don't have to see everything to experience perfection. Listen to the notes he's not playing. And even though the midgets do not get as much action as in the previous films, Reggie does offer one of his patented fuck-yo-midget-ass-up shotgun sequences. And one midget takes a hilarious floggin' to the noggin' courtesy of Mike's newfound telekinetic powers. Mike also gets his own balls. He's finally a man. He's just not that tall.
Our Rating System
Mr. Paul: "It seems as though Phantasm has let us down this time. Its long winded and the budget is less than my last paycheck. For the die hard fans only."
Z-man: "I've got a lot of respect for the entire Phantasm mythos, so it hurts like a corkscrew in the asshole to have to give this latest installment such a low rating. Oblivion just tries to tie up all those loose ends that made the first three films so fucking cool- and well, they just don't do a very good job with it. The budget is the biggest offender here, though- and the lack of special effects dollars really crucifiy this one. Not without its charm, but a really bad note to end the series on."
Eagle Te: "What made the previous three installments of the Phantasm series so kick ass was the total disregard for coherent plot and the emphasis instead on kick ass sequences of Reggie and his various allies taking on the Tall Man with a variety of cool weapons. Phantasm IV breaks that mold and suffers as a result. The attempt at developing the Tall Man's origin isn't really all that interesting and the presence of only a few truly kick ass scenes is all that saves this one from the shitter. Rent it to see the incredible psycho cop battle and the Reggie shotgun scene at the end but pray that a Phantasm V comes along that will erase the tragedy that is the budget crippled Phantasm IV."
El Santo: "I don't know about you guys- but I could use a rock hard POLAR BEAR DICK IN MY ASS."
Zod, General: "Duck.....duck........goose. Don't you touch me bitch. I'll clock you."
| THE PHANTASM WEBSITE||
For those of you completely addicted to all things Phantasm, this is the site that's guaranteed to slake your thirst for wanton bloodletting, kamikazee zombie dwarves, and metallic spheroid face busters. It's the official PHANTASM web page...and it sure as hell shows. Quotes, interviews, sound and video clips, an an overall polished feel combine to make this the definitive Phantasm page on this island Earth. Check it out at all costs!