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|Directed by||David Hartman|
|Produced by||Don Coscarelli|
by Don Coscarelli
|Music by||Christopher L. Stone|
|Distributed by||Well Go Entertainment|
Phantasm: Ravager (also known as Phantasm V) is a 2016 American horror film, and the fifth and final installment in the Phantasm series. It marks the only film in the series not directed by Don Coscarelli, although he acts as producer and co-writer. It is directed by David Hartman and stars A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, and Angus Scrimm in his final appearance as the Tall Man.
The film begins with Reggie, running about in the desert, still on the trail of his nemesis - the Tall Man. He then pays a man to offer him a ride, but realizes it's actually his car they're in, and the man stole it when he recalls putting a gun in the middle compartment. He chucks the man out, but two spheres suddenly fly by, and one sphere kills the man on the road while the other chases after Reggie. He manages to defeat them however, but then wakes up in a hospital sitting with Mike talking to him as he sits in a wheelchair, who apparently looks after him due to him having an early stage of dementia. He then tells Mike his story.
In an apparent dream setting, Reggie meets a woman who mistakes him for a friend. Her car isn't working, so Reggie offers her a lift. They go to a cabin on a farm, and Reggie learns that a Bulgarian man named Demeter helps out. Reggie explains to her about his dealings with The Tall Man over the years, and she is amazed by his tale. He tries his usual lady wooing, but is turned down.
As he plays a song, he cannot remember her name, and goes to sleep. Later, The Tall Man shows up with more of his deadly spheres. A flashback scene then shows Reggie in the hospital, but it is the hospital from the 1860s. The Tall Man (or his original identity, Jebediah) is lying in the bed next to him. They then talk. Jebediah explains he's nearly finished, and has lost many friends. He says they are both there basically to die.
Reggie wakes up the next morning, remembering the lady's name is Dawn. He gets no answer when he asks her a question, and finds that she's been killed by spheres, that then give chase. Reggie equips himself with a shotgun. The spheres force him into a nearby barn. A man armed with an axe confronts him, and it's revealed he is Demeter. A sphere kills a horse. Another sphere then manages to get inside the barn, killing Demeter, before Reggie fights it off. Reggie speaks to Mike again in the hospital. Mike tells him about a new threat looming.
Back in his dream, Reggie goes through the woods. Along a path, he encounters a gigantic sphere hovering in the sky, and Reggie is back at the hospital again. Reggie alternates between the other world in both his dream, and the present time. The Tall Man appears, and says their paths cross again. It's 1979; a younger self will attend a funeral in Morningside, and that all his efforts got him nowhere. The Tall Man proclaims he can resurrect Reggie's dead family in exchange for him ceasing his meddling.
Reggie is next seen in a mortuary, contending with the dwarf "Lurker" followers of The Tall Man, and the Lady in Lavender appears. She is shot by Reggie and seemingly killed. Continuing on, Reggie goes into a large cave, shooting a dwarf and the place shakes. The Tall Man asks him if he's considered his offer, but when Reggie retaliates, The Tall Man again reminds him his chances are depleting. Reggie wants his friends Jodie and Mike back, but The Tall Man recognizes his "loyalty" for his friends as foolishness.
In yet another dream sequence which he alternates with the nightmare world, Reggie is strapped to a gurney as armed masked people appear. One is called Chunk and the other is revealed to be the person Reggie knew as Dawn despite her death, but she says her name is actually Jane and she thinks Reggie is delusional. She radios in some people. Reggie fails to convince her they know each other, but she gets him medical attention instead. More evil dwarf things show up to attack Reggie, but Chunk saves him and gives him a weapon. Dawn & Chunk take Reggie to other members of their group who are fighting the Tall Man. Mike reunites with Reggie, and then escape the nightmare hospital. Mike tells Reggie he's been out of action for a decade in a coma, and the Earth has changed. He says it's no longer their home, it's The Tall Man's now.
In the dream world, Reggie wanders around the hospital hallways, but a nurse orders him back to his room. In the nightmare world, an enemy has grabbed him. A spiked sphere then kills one of the people helping Reggie. Mike visits Reggie at the hospital, and says his dream orientates him. Mike reveals he had a dream too where he was in the desert, looking for Reggie. It turns out Mike still has his connection to The Tall Man. Mike reveals The Tall Man unleashed an alien virus that caused an apocalypse on society worldwide.
Jane is caught by The Tall Man, so Chunk, Mike and Reggie go after The Tall Man. In his own red planet world, they face and battle The Tall Man, Jane is killed. Chunk, who posed as a dwarf next to the Tall Man, then turns the tables. Chunk blows himself up to try to kill The Tall Man. Back at the hospital, Reggie fights some Gravers alongside Mike. Jodie shows up in a car spewing bullets to save them. After driving awhile, they decide to drive north as The Tall Man hates the cold.
In a flashback to the hospital, however, Reggie seemingly passes away in bed while Mike & Jody are holding his hands, and the film ends. During the end-credits, Chunk appears through a portal along a desert road, missing a hand, and meets up with Rocky. Chunk flirts with her, asking Rocky if he has a chance. Rocky teases back saying that there are no other guys around, but Rocky then sees Reggie and the others pulling up in the Barricuda heading north, and they get in. Lots of giant spheres are then shown in the sky in the distance, indicating the war with The Tall Man is far from finished.
- Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man
- A. Michael Baldwin as Mike Pearson
- Reggie Bannister as Reggie
- Dawn Cody as Dawn / Jane
- Stephen Jutras as Chunk
- Bill Thornbury as Jody Pearson
- Kathy Lester as Lady in Lavender
- Gloria Lynne Henry as Rocky
- Daniel Roebuck as Demeter
- Solly Duran as Raina
- Daniel Schweiger as Thief
In 2004, six years after the release of Phantasm IV: Oblivion, series director Don Coscarelli told Fangoria, "I’d also still like to do another Phantasm film. Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm are still in great shape and raring to go."
In March 2005, it was announced that Coscarelli was in the final stages of talks with New Line Cinema to produce a new entry. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new film was "being developed as a relaunch and as a possible trilogy about Mike's coming of age." This version never came to fruition.
Rumors about a sequel were reignited in June 2007 by footage contained in Don Coscarelli's Farewell to the Alamo Drafthouse, featuring Angus Scrimm and A. Michael Baldwin in their roles. However an interview with Reggie Bannister surfaced on YouTube, and, when asked about the possibility of a fifth film, he stated there was no activity or development but that anything was possible in the future.
In June 2012, rumors again surfaced that Coscarelli would begin a new Phantasm sequel. According to a report on Dread Central, a reliable source told them the script was completed and filming would begin later in the year. Coscarelli disputed this claim, publicly stating, "I have no solid news to report on a new project now." The director, however, was being coy with film news sites. According to what Coscarelli and new co-writer-director David Hartman told Entertainment Weekly, the film was shot secretly in and around southern California during 2012 and 2013.
On March 26, 2014, news of Ravager's completion was released via various film news sites. The next day, a teaser trailer debuted on the film's official site. In a 2014 "sneak peek" video preview on the official Phantasm website, director Hartman mentioned in quick passing, "This thing is going to be in the can 2015... for sure." In September 2015 at Scarefest in Lexington, Kentucky, it was announced that the film has been delayed until 2016. The next month, Reggie Bannister announced that Ravager is completed and is awaiting a distributor.
Production on the film was briefly halted when Coscarelli supervised a 4K restoration of the original Phantasm. On January 9, 2016, actor Angus Scrimm, who played The Tall Man, died at age 89.
Phantasm V: Ravager premiered in Austin's Fantastic Fest on September 25, 2016. It was released in the United States in theaters and via digital HD on October 7, 2016. The film and its predecessors are expected to be digitally remastered for home media soon thereafter.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 50% of 11 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.7/10. Metacritic, another review aggregator, rated it 51/100 based on seven reviews. Joe Leydon of Variety and Marten Carlson of Consequence of Sound both criticized the film's narrative cohesiveness. Leydon speculated that the film's troubled production may have cause this, and Carlson more directly blamed the film's origin as a series of shorts. Both said this will probably cause outsiders to be confused by the film. In comparing it to the previous films, Carlson said it "captures the heart, if not the quality", though fans will likely forgive its faults, as they did the first film. Leydon, though describing it as "a patchwork quilt of outtakes from its four predecessors", also cited the appeal to fans to revisit their favorite characters. Though recognizing the film's narrative weakness, Michele Galgana of Screen Anarchy wrote, "Still, it's impossible to overlook the fun that you see all these guys having, and their hearts are all in the right place."
Simon Abrams of Roger Ebert.com gave the film two and a half stars saying the "CGI-intensive action scenes are distractingly ugly-looking. The camerawork is also amateurish, and the film's drab, undistinguished dialogue is only interesting when it's explicitly calling back to the original Phantasm." Marten Carlson of Consequence of Sound criticized the look of the film saying "at its best, though, the film’s cheap production is impossible to ignore. The cinematography is flat and appears to have been shot on a consumer HD camera. The special effects are achieved primarily with low-grade CGI that’s laughable at times." Carlson ultimately said "All formal complaints aside, Ravager is successful in its attempt to capture the spirit of the series. Phantasm has always been about family, the love between brothers and friends, and seeing Reggie and Mike together again, we can only feel the sincerity of their relationship." Reviewers at Bloody Disgusting were split with Trace Thurman placing it on his "5 Worst Horror Movies of 2016" yet John Squires loved it. However, both agreed the film looked like a "cheaply-made student film."
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