Tall Man (Phantasm)

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Phantasm character
Phantasm 5 tall.jpg
The Tall Man
In-story information
Birth name: Jebediah Morningside
Gender: Male
Species: Unknown
Occupation: Mortician
Development information
Creator: Don Coscarelli
First appearance: Phantasm
Last appearance: Phantasm V: Ravager
Portrayed by: Angus Scrimm

The Tall Man is a fictional character and main antagonist of the Phantasm series of horror films. The Tall Man first appeared in the first Phantasm in 1979, and last appeared in Phantasm IV Oblivion in 1998.[1] In all of his appearances, the Tall Man has been portrayed by Angus Scrimm.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Originally, the Tall Man was a mild-mannered 19th century mortician by the name of Jebediah Morningside. After years of performing funerals and burying the bodies of those who had died, he began to develop a fascination with any possible connection between our world and the world of the dead.[2] Jebediah's research eventually led him to construct a machine that enabled him to travel through time and space. After going through the portal for the first time, travelling to a destination unknown, he promptly returned, irrevocably changed and henceforth known as the Tall Man.

Appearance[edit]

The Tall Man appears as a tall (hence his name), elderly, white-haired man, usually posing as a mortician. Subsequent to his transformation from Jebediah Morningside, he has only ever been seen to wear a tailored black suit, befitting of his assumed profession. He seems to speak only rarely, preferring instead to rely on facial expressions, particularly the raising of one eyebrow, the latter of which in particular has become an icon of the character.

Powers and weapons[edit]

The Tall Man has superhuman strength, and has been seen lifting a man or even an entire (occupied) coffin with only one arm and little effort. He has also been seen to possess telekinetic abilities, able to control both inanimate objects and people with only the use of his mind. Despite his mundane outward appearance, any parts of the Tall Man's body that are severed or otherwise amputated from the whole have been known to subsequently transform into hostile insect-like creatures.

He also has the ability to shapeshift into other people including women in order to trick potential victims. The Tall Man routinely surrounds himself with various accomplices, ranging from apparently willing human aides to resurrected corpses and other demonic creatures. His main source of assistance comes in the form of corpses that he exhumes from the graveyards under his control; after digging up the cadavers, he crushes the body to the size of a dwarf, removes the brain and reanimates the body. Despite their diminutive stature, these dwarves (also known as "Lurkers") constitute the majority of the Tall Man's forces, as well as foes wearing gas masks (also known as "Gravers"). The Tall Man also utilises flying metallic "spheres" (also known as "Sentinels") that conceal within them many offensive weapons, including blades, drills, lasers and circular saws. The spheres, which have come to be considered the Tall Man's signature weapons, contain (and are apparently controlled by) the shrunken brains removed from the Lurkers.

Though he has thus far been impossible to permanently kill, the Tall Man can be hurt. It has been shown on more than one occasion that he has an extreme aversion to cold; Mike Pearson, another main character in the Phantasm films, says that this might possibly be because the realm he comes from is very warm. He has also displayed a vulnerability to certain pitches of sound, which can temporarily immobilize him.

Other media[edit]

  • The Tall Man appears in Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation.
  • An action figure of The Tall Man was created by REEL TOYS NECA in their Cult Classics Series 2 set.
  • The Tall Man was arguably the basis for the Internet-based Slender Man character, as both characters are very similar in abilities and behavior, and the original Slender Man photo was created using a still of the character from Phantasm

References[edit]