About this time last year I was writing about the original Phantasm, a bizarre mind trip of a movie that I freakin’ love. So I figured this year I’d throw in the sequel. Phantasm II picks up right where the first movie ended with Mike (now recast, but more on that in a bit) and Reggie still fighting the Tall Man and his dwarf minion slave jawas. But after a brief opening, we then fast forward 7 years after Mike is released from a mental institution, and he and Reggie continue their search for the Tall Man and his carnage. Phantasm II is an interesting movie in many ways. Some of the reasons are in front of the camera, and others are because of all the behind the scenes studio drama. For me, it really hit because 1988 was prime Jeff Dixon Fangoria time. I remember flipping through the pages and seeing gruesome photos of those magic flying death spheres and their awesomely awesome carnage. In fact, I actually saw Phantasm II before I saw original Phantasm. What’s funny about the sequel is that it followed the Alien/Aliens model a bit. You can tell there was a much bigger budget, and that this time it was actually a “studio” movie. For this reason there’s a bit more action, car chases, and lots of pretty extraneous explosions. Everything the studio thinks audiences need. In addition, gone are the dreamy segments and a lot of the more bizarre aspects of the original Phantasm. Only Reggie Bannister was allowed to come back with Mike being recast with James LeGros (studio tinkering). So yeah, while everything feels a bit bigger and more “studio”, it’s still a pretty damn entertaining movie. We’ve still got the fantastic Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man. We’ve still got the awesome silver spheres, but here we’re also introduced to the gold sphere that has a laser(!) and sawblade grinders! Young Jeff truly loved the scene where the gold sphere drills itself inside one of the morticians and just decimates him from the inside, eventually popping through his mouth (that was one of the pictures I got giddy over in Fango!) It’s a bit more tongue in cheek, it’s seriously 80’s, and even though it’s a bit more studio-friendly, it’s still bizarre and awesome. Hell, we even get another glimpse of the trippy alternate universe. Go and give it a spin… BOY!!!!!!