Tall Man (Phantasm)
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|The Tall Man|
|Last appearance||Phantasm: Ravager|
|Created by||Don Coscarelli|
|Portrayed by||Angus Scrimm|
|Full name||Jebediah Morningside|
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 his most recent appearance in the film Phantasm: Ravager in 2016. In all of his appearances, the Tall Man has been portrayed by Angus Scrimm.
Powers and weapons
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, or bleeding a yellow colored substance, possibly his blood.
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, alongside foes wearing gas masks (also known as "Gravers"). The Tall Man also utilizes 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. On those occasions when his body has sustained mortal injury, an identical new Tall Man has immediately emerged from his portal, ready to continue on unfazed from where his predecessor left off.
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. 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.
The Tall Man appears as a tall and older 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.
- 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.
- James, Caryn (July 8, 1988). "Reviews/Film; A Technovillain And 2 Who Find Love in a Grave". The New York Times.
- McIntyre, Gina (2009-10-16). "Happy Birthday, Tall Man! 'Phantasm' Turns 30". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-08-10.