Since its inception, THE SENTINEL newsletter/website has tried to be one of the premier sources of information about the PHANTASM film series. In response to the many inquiries about the films and related topics we receive here at THE SENTINEL, we have created this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.
Fielding your questions will be Kristen Deem (who served as Storyboard Artist and Unit Publicist on PHANTASM II, Script Consultant and assistant to Angus Scrimm on PHANTASM III and Script Supervisor, Property Master and Wardrobe Assistant on PHANTASM IV).
Also, if you have any questions or comments regarding THE SENTINEL newsletter and website, this page is the perfect online forum for your inquiries.
SENTINEL publisher Richard Dean can be reached in the same manner as Kristen through this outlet.
Please note the FAQ's by Kristen are historical only.
Fielding your questions will be Kristen Deem (who served as Storyboard Artist and Unit Publicist on PHANTASM II, Script Consultant and assistant to Angus Scrimm on PHANTASM III and Script Supervisor, Property Master and Wardrobe Assistant on PHANTASM I
Write on, PHANTASM phans!!! - Submit your question below.
Please note the FAQ's will be back the developers of the old plugin discontinued it so we have to redo it.
Answers from Rich
About 2 years ago, in an issue of Zentertainment, there was an announcement of a future PHANTASM movie. If my recollection is correct, it was to be called: "Phantasm V: The Age of Apocalypse and Hell on Earth." Is this a figment of my imagination, or was this just an unrealized wish of the Director, or is this a forthcoming movie?
Hmmm, this is a good question. I can't say that I can recall ever hearing the title PHANTASM V: THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE AND HELL ON EARTH being thrown around. I have, however, heard the terms and expressions "apocalypse" and "hell on earth" associated frequently with the PHANTASM: 1999 project.
The odd thing, though, is that you say you may have read this two years ago. If that were the case, it would seem strange that they would be referring to a PHANTASM V, when PHANTASM: OBLIVION (the fourth PHANTASM film, released in 1998) would still be almost a year away in the future.
What I tend to think probably happened was that you were reading an article about the PHANTASM: 1999 project, which was probably in development at that time, and they mistakenly referred to it as the fifth PHANTASM film.
The last installment of the PHANTASM series was very vague regarding the origin of the "Tall Man." For example, the "Tall Man" seems quite normal before entering the tuning fork gate and when he exits he is possessed by something from somewhere. What is he? Where are the dwarves going? Why does he (the Tall Man) work on such a small scale given his obvious technological superiority?
You raise some excellent questions, Chester! Let me address each one individually, and please forgive me if some of my answers seem vague. Much of the meaning of the PHANTASM series is purely speculative at this point.
The last installment of the PHANTASM series was very vague regarding the origin of the "Tall Man." For example, the "Tall Man" seems quite normal before entering the tuning fork gate and when he exits he is possessed by something from somewhere. What is he?
Presumably, the Tall Man is an alien from the Red Planet shown briefly in PHANTASM I and II. In PHANTASM: OBLIVION, when kindly old Jebediah steps through his dimensional fork and then re-emerges as the malevolent Tall Man, it is my assumption that he emerged upon the Red Planet and was taken over (or cloned) by an evil alien force.
Where are the dwarves going?
It was pretty well established in PHANTASM I and II that the dwarves were being sent to the Red Planet. In PHANTASM I, Mike even said they were being used as slaves and had to be crushed down because of the planet's gravity. Apparently, in PHANTASM III there was rumored to be a scene which took place in an underground bunker inside the Red Planet, but was later excised from the final film. Bearing this in mind, it is my theory that the dwarves are being used to dig for the construction of these bunkers, and possibly other more elaborate constructions.
Why does he work on such a small scale given his obvious technological superiority?
The Tall Man is a smart cookie, and he works on a small, covert level to keep his deeds from drawing undue attention. Notice how the towns he targets are always small and isolated, and even after he leaves them in ruins little notice is taken. He also uses fear to keep the surviving locals in line (note the motel operator in PHANTASM III and the surviving citizens of Perigord in PHANTASM II). Taking over a large city would effectively blow the cover he has worked so hard at maintaining over the years.
Thanks for your great questions and take care!
Is there a figure of the Tall Man or any other people from PHANTASM?
I am a big phan so please answer.
So far there have been no readily available PHANTASM figures on the market. However, back in September of last year I spoke with Steve Hemby from McFarlane Toys regarding the possibility of a Tall Man action figure as part of their excellent line of horror film figures. He expressed great interest in the concept. Though the Tall Man is not part of McFarlane's upcoming second series of horror film figures, who knows what the future may hold.
In my own personal collection, I own a small resin statuette of the Tall Man manufactured by a gentleman whose business goes by the name of "Clay People." This statuette is outstanding in every respect and is tremendously detailed, though a bit charicature-ish. The figure stands about 8 inches tall, comes with a sphere and a display stand and was (I think) around the area of $40. I tried to find a "Clay People" site on the Net, but had no success. I believe they make convention appearances periodically. If I happen to encounter them again, I'll find out their address and post it here at the site.
Finally, a good friend of ours has created a handcrafted line of PHANTASM figures, featuring an airborne Mike Pearson (from the original PHANTASM) and two different varieties of dwarves. They aren't cheap, but they are beautifully crafted and truly one-of-a-kind. For information, write to 8726 Independence Ave., Apt. 103, Canoga Park, CA 91304. Thanks for writing!
First of all, I want to say you have a great PHANTASM site. Everything about it is great! Secondly, I was interested in subscribing to THE SENTINEL fanzine, but I have a question. Is the content of the magazine different from that on the website? I mean, why pay for something I can get for free on the Net?
Keep up the great work!
That's a great question, and I'm glad somebody finally asked it! I would say that about 95% of the material that I publish in THE SENTINEL phanzine is not available on THE SENTINEL website, or any other PHANTASM website for that matter. The only notable exceptions to this rule that I can think of is the recent website SENTINEL website posting of my review for PHANTASM: OBLIVION (which originally was published in the December 1998 issue of the 'zine) and the cover art for issues #4 and #5 appear in our "Nightmare Gallery" section at the site. The main reason for posting the OBLIVION review on the site was to try to expose the film to even more individuals through the Internet. I've read a couple of really crappy reviews for OBLIVION recently (most notably, a really rotten one in Video Watchdog magazine) and wanted to post an in-depth, positive review of the film in an attempt to generate additional interest.
I strive to make both the 'zine and the website entertaining and unique, but completely separate, entities. In a nutshell, I would say THE SENTINEL website is an ideal source of up-to-date information on developments in the worlds of PHANTASM, whereas the 'zine focuses more on behind-the-scenes material (such
as interviews, production art, etc.).
I've noticed that the last couple issues of the phanzine have featured some awesome color covers. Are you going to be doing color covers with every issue from now on?
Originally, the color cover with issue #8 was intended to be a one-shot deal, a special "thank you" to the SENTINEL subscribers. However, due to overwhelming phan response, and tremendous generosity and support from both Don Coscarelli and artist Justin Zaharczuk, we did it again with issue #9 and will do it again in the future. Not every issue will feature a full color cover, however. For example, the forthcoming issue #10 will have a monochrome cover featuring a great "20th Anniversary" photo collage courtesy of Rob Long.
Every once in a while, though, I'll throw a colorful surprise at you!
I notice in your Links section that you are a big fan of metal music. How about a list of your Top 20 metal albums, like your Top 20 Horror Movie list?
Dear Olivia:Wow, this is a tough one. Hmmmmm.... Well, after careful consideration, I would say that these would be my Top 20 favorite albums:1. KREATOR - "Pleasure To Kill"2. MEGADETH - "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying"3. SLAYER - "Hell Awaits"4. EXODUS - "Bonded by Blood"5. METALLICA - "Kill 'Em All"6. VENOM - "Black Metal"7. POSSESSED - "Seven Churches"8. SEPULTURA - "Beneath the Remains"9. CELTIC FROST - "To Mega Therion"10. KISS - "Alive II"11. FLOTSAM AND JETSAM - "No Place For Disgrace"12. EXUMER - "Possessed By Fire"13. QUEENSRYCHE - "The Warning"14. MERCYFUL FATE - "Don't Break the Oath"15. MANOWAR - "Sign of the Hammer"16. MOTORHEAD - "Overkill"17. TROUBLE - "Psalm 9"18. RAVEN - "All For One"19. TESTAMENT - "The Legacy"20. OVERKILL - "The Years of Decay"
Answers from Kristen
Are you related to Michael? Just curious about the similarity of your names...Michael adopted a special private name, beginning with "A," but keeps it a secret. No one on the cast/crew knows what it is (to my knowledge).Sleep Achiever is a book I briefly saw Michael passing around on set one night... I think it is a short story or a collection of poems about going to sleep, all written by Michael. It was a very tiny book, maybe 3"x3", with the cover (in the shape of a bedpost) crafted/designed by Michael's mother. I would love to own one, but have never seen it for sale.Thanks for writing. Keep in touch. Are you a "Phantasm" admirer?
I've enjoyed the Phantasm films since I was 13, and I hope P4 isn't the last one. If Don, Angus and the gang ever make P5, how do you think it would go? I'd like to see more of Jeb Morningside before he became the Tall Man...what if he fell in love?
I, too, hope P4 isn't the final one. If Don makes another "Phantasm" sequel, he could take it in almost any direction. Many fans agree with you--we'd all like to see more of Jebediah. . . and a love interest for him. What a great idea!
Keep in touch and thanks for writing.
Do you have Angus, Don, Mike or anybody's address. I would really like to write to them?
There really isn't a Phantasm address for people to send fan mail.
What is the plot and setting for PHANTASM: OBLIVION?
Thank you for your e-mail, but I can't tell you this yet. It would spoil the fun! P4 should be out in videostores on October 13th, and I'd like the film's plot to be a surprise! I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the film after you view it.
Take care! -K.
I read your comments about the dwarf cannisters, do you know anywhere that someone can get their hands on one?
The original cannisters are long gone. I suspect Coscarelli probably has them somewhere in storage. I just don't know. The art department and prop departments of P1 and P2 handled these cannisters, so they were responsible for dismantling sets, returning props we'd rented, and probably getting appropriate items back to Coscarelli.
If you want to find an ACT II 55 gallon polydrum (it's really blue in color, then spray painted black with a blue gel fitted into the "window" indentation--really used for transportation of the drums via forklift), look in your yellow pages under barrels/containers/cannisters/drums. Old barrels are stored in "yards" and chemically cleaned, then reused. Be careful, though. These ACT II polyethelyne drums were made to store caustic/toxic chemicals. The original ACT II drum was made by ACT (Advanced Chemical Technologies--I think) in Camden, New Jersey. The older version cannister (without indentations), called ACT I (I think) is also featured in "Phantasm" (the dwarf cannisters without windows).
Take care! Good luck!
How did they make the PHANTASM dwarf canisters?
The containers used to make the dwarf canisters were manufactured in the 1970s by a company called Advanced Chemical Technologies in Camden, New Jersey. That particular drum that was seen in PHANTASM 1 and 2 was called the ACT 2 Polydrum. These blue, 55-gallon containers were manufactured to store extremely hazardous chemicals.
For the PHANTASM films, the canisters were painted black and clear blue windows were installed over the holes at the top. For the drums' real purpose, these holes were used for accommodating a forklift during transportation of the toxic chemicals.
Hi. My name is Matt. I would like to know where they filmed PHANTASM 1. What neighborhood did they film it in? I would like to know where the studio that they filmed it in is (EMBASSY Home Entertainment). I would also like directions of how to get to the Dunsmuir house.
The original PHANTASM was filmed all over California. Mainly in the Los Angeles area. The exterior of Morningside Mortuary was, of course, Dunsmuir House. This is a mansion located just south of Oakland, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area (you can access their website via www.phantasm.com, and thus get directions). The Pearson Brothers Home (exterior) was a private residence in Pacific Palisades, just off of Sunset Boulevard. The interior of the Pearson home was a residence in Van Nuys. Main Street, where the Tall Man searches for Mike and stops by Reggie's ice cream truck, was actually Main Street of a small gold mining town, Julian, California, east of San Diego. The interior of Morningside Mausoleum and the spacegate room were sets built in a warehouse in Chatsworth, California. The casket showroom, the chapel for Tommy's funeral, and the cemetery at the end with Jody's bronze grave marker were all Sunnyside Mausoleum/Memorial Park in Long Beach (now owned by Forest Lawn)--incidentally, Reggie Bannister worked there for a while in real life! The neighborhood street Mike runs down, chasing Jody (on bicycle), is Stansbury Avenue in Sherman Oaks--very close to where I live. I've located several other filming locations, but these are the highlights. Do you live in the area?
The studio that released PHANTASM was originally AVCO Embassy Pictures located in Los Angeles on Seward Street. They became Embassy Pictures, then went out of business many years ago, alas.
Thank you for the questions, Matt. Enjoy your PHANTASM tour.
"I saw a cool film, "Burnt Offerings," on TV. The house in it looks like the funeral parlor in PHANTASM. Is it?"
Indeed it is! This grand old ante-bellum manse is located just south of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's rather secluded, nestled in the hills on a large estate now owned by the city of Oakland. The mansion was built in 1899 as a wedding present, but the groom, Alexander Dunsmuir, died during their honeymoon in New York City before ever seeing the house completed!
The mansion is open to the public with a small admissions fee at the front gate. Generally, it's open Sunday afternoons from April until September. There are also specially events throughout the year, including an elaborate Christmas celebration, when the staff "dress" the house in magnificent Victorian era decor.
Dunsmuir House is truly spectacular to behold in person and, of all the PHANTASM locations, this is the one place worth the pilgrimage! It looks as awesome in person--and very much the same after all these years--as in PHANTASM.
Often, people rent the house for special events, including weddings! (I've never heard of it being used for funerals. . .)
Film crews frequently rent the house. Dunsmuir has "starred" in features such as "Phantasm," "Burnt Offerings" (both interior and exterior), "A View to a Kill," "So I Married an Axe Murderer," etc.