This section is devoted to PHANTASM fan activities. Convention reports, fan accounts of their PHANTASM viewing marathons, etc.
PHANTASMania film festival
Our good friend Kristen Deem recently sent along some photos (taken by Ann Morgan) from the PHANTASMania film festival held in Texas on the weekend of March 31, 2000. In the photos found here, we feature PHANTASM creator/writer/director Don Coscarelli and the legendary "Tall Man" Angus Scrimm as they appeared at the festival for the autograph session. As always, many thanks to Kristen for passing these along to us! As a sidenote, if anyone out there has an extra copy of the PHANTASMania program booklet that was available at the festival (or any other PHANTASMania items), I would very much like to purchase it/them or offer copies of THE SENTINEL Phanzine for trade. Thanks!
Rumors are flying fast and furious about new developments with a possible new PHANTASM sequel film, tentatively entitled PHANTASM: 2012. Perhaps the most exciting of these rumors is the possible involvement of THE EVIL DEAD's Bruce ("Ash") Campbell. A recent posting at cinescape.com addressed this very issue and things are sounding rather promising. Also, bear in mind that Brian Keene's highly acclaimed EVIL DEAD/PHANTASM crossover story, "Hell At S-Mart," appears in THE SENTINEL's very own anthology book PHANTASM: FURTHER EXCURSIONS INTO OBLIVION. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not...
"PHANTASMania," a PHANTASM film festival featuring theatrical screenings of the first three films, was held recently at the Alamo Theater in Austin, Texas over the weekend of 3/31-4/2/00.
From all accounts, the event was a smashing success! In attendance were PHANTASM creator Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Kristen Deem and SENTINEL Phanzine contributors Madison Brents and Shawn Larsen. Hey, how about making "PHANTASMania" a touring event?
Richard Dean's original PHANTASM short story, "Red Planet," is currently featured online at Feo Amante's Horror Homepage . Many thanks to Feo!
"Two of our reviewers here at Feo Amante, Mike Oliveri and Brian Keene, have been published in an anthology that no Phan of the PHANTASM movies should be without. PHANTASM: OBLIVION is an underground cult hit sold only on the internet. Published in the last half of 1999, the book is already into its second printing.
Since we already have plenty of reviews by Mike Oliveri, and Brian Keene, let's wet your appetite with a newcomer to the pages of Story Time, Richard Dean. From the pages of the Don Coscarelli authorized Phantasm SF/Horror anthology, PHANTASM: OBLIVION, this is...
Tall Man Pez dispenser
As I was wandering through eBay - Your Personal Trading Community recently, I came across one of the weirdest (and coolest) PHANTASM collectibles I have ever seen.
The Tall Man Pez dispenser! (see pic) Check the PHANTASM listings periodically on eBay for other cool items!
Giant Earth Rising Wall Mural
I recently received an e-mail from my good buddy Kristen Deem, who passed along this little tidbit which, I imagine, may be of great interest to PHANTASM phans: Edmund's Scientific Company in New Jersey is offering a "Giant Earth Rising Wall Mural" exactly like the one seen on young Mike Pearson's wall in the original PHANTASM. The dimensions are 8' 6" H x 13' 8" W (Stock #CR83-029) and the cost is $74.95. Visit the Edmund's website at http://www.edsci.com Then, click on "Scientifics" and then on "Astronomy." Go to "Posters." It's towards the bottom of the second "page" and you can order it online.
For your viewing pleasure, we have included a scan of the German release's dramatic box art. (Special thanks to Kristen Deem for this info and graphic.)
Angus Scrimm has just completed filming the new feature "Hollywood Horror," directed by Bernt Capra. Of additional interest to PHANTASM phans is the fact that the production designer for "Hollywood Horror" is Naython Williams, who served in the same capacity on PHANTASM: OBLIVION. It is uncertain at this point whether the film will be released theatrically or go straight to video.
Original PHANTASM DVD
The original PHANTASM will finally be released on DVD on September 28, 1999 by MGM. This long-awaited release will feature new, never before seen outtakes, a Dolby 5.1 digital soundtrack and much more! Let's hope MGM gives PHANTASM: OBLIVION the same treatment!
Is there a DVD release of the original PHANTASM film looming upon the horizon? According to a newsgroup posting from Mr. Don May, Jr. (president of Synapse Films), Don Coscarelli is in negotiations with MGM regarding the DVD and the studio is going ahead with its plans for the disc. The DVD would feature even more previously unseen footage from the original classic!
Issue #10 of THE SENTINEL
In our interview with Don Coscarelli in the forthcoming issue #10 of THE SENTINEL, Don hinted strongly at the potential for this DVD. Now more than ever it seems as though this potential may be realized in the near future! (Thanks to Jon Kitley for this info!)
Ray Courts Hollywood Collectors Show
SENTINEL publisher Richard Dean and SENTINEL #3 cover artist Jimmy Blondet will be wandering aimlessly at the Ray Courts Hollywood Collectors Show on Saturday, May 15th, 1999 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel O'Hare, 6600 North Mannheim Road, Rosemont, Illinois 60018
Scheduled to appear at this show are Traci Lords (BLADE), Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS) and Robert Vaughn (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS), among others.
Stop by and say "hi" to Rick and Jimmy. Just look for the big scary guy wearing a SENTINEL t-shirt waiting in line for Traci's autograph!
Issue #181 of Fangoria magazine
A previously unpublished piece of PHANTASM artwork by mega-artist Justin Zaharczuk (cover artist for SENTINEL #8 and #9) can be found on page 7 of issue #181 of Fangoria magazine. It's an amazing piece depicting a visage of the Tall Man looming over a shadowy hearse. Way cool!
Also, keep an eye out for upcoming issues of the UK publication SHIVERS, which, in the near future, will be featuring additional works by Justin. Finally, the "Nightmare Gallery" here at THE SENTINEL site will soon be featuring a section devoted to Justin's amazing work!
What do Brad Pitt, football and A. Michael Baldwin have in common?
On pages 6 and 7 of this issue, there is a photo spread of Brad Pitt playing football on a beach in Acapulco with some of his buddies.
Well, his buddy wearing the shades is none other than A. Michael Baldwin!
I kid you not, this is for real!
Five Fishes, Two Loaves
Bill ("Jody") Thornbury's music CD "Five Fishes, Two Loaves" is available from
Up Yonder Records at P.O. Box 8554, Fresno, CA. 93747.
The cost is $15 for the CD and $8 for cassette.
Postage is extra and you may want to write Up Yonder for their rates. (Thanks to "Phantasm Rob" Long for this item!)
20th Anniversary poster
Rob is making available for sale various handpainted elements of this upcoming poster.
See the accompanying ad for additional information about these one of a kind collectibles.
The Passing of Fredric Myrow
On Thursday, January 14th, 1999, PHANTASM music composer Fredric Myrow passed away.
Born in 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, Frederic was the composer of the music for several of the films created by Don Coscarelli, including PHANTASM, PHANTASM II, PHANTASM III (with Christopher Stone), KENNY & COMPANY, JIM - THE WORLD'S GREATEST and SURVIVAL QUEST.
He also composed the music for the sci-fi classic SOYLENT GREEN, SCARECROW and many, many others.
THE SENTINEL passes along its most sincere condolences to Frederic's family and associates.
Movie Time - John Bishop
I wish to thank John Bishop of Westchester, Pennsylvania for the radio interview he conducted with me on his "Movie Time" talk show Saturday, October 24th 1998.
I had a great time discussing with John and his associates THE SENTINEL, the PHANTASM films and horror films in general.
I hope the phans in the Pittsburgh area had the opportunity to listen to the interview and I would appreciate any feedback!
John Bishop: I found out about you on the Internet. I saw your site and thought it was very impressive. I understand you have a fan newsletter about the PHANTASM films. Is that correct?
Richard Elkin: The fanzine that I publish is called THE SENTINEL and it runs in tandem along with THE SENTINEL Website. They've both been in existence a little over a year and a half now. It's a quarterly publication, strictly a fan-oriented publication. But I have a lot of fun with it and people seem to enjoy it.
John: That reminds me, have you ever seen that movie "The Sentinel" with all those freaks in the attic?
Richard: Yeah, it's a classic (laughs). I'm surprised I haven't been sued by them for stealing their name.
John: Would you recommend all the movies in the PHANTASM series?
Richard: Yeah, I would recommend all of them. Some more than others. P2 is my personal favorite. P3 was a little bit of a misfire in a couple of places. It leaned a little more towards comedy than it probably should have. P4 is more of a return to the serious tone of the first one and it's not as special effects-oriented as the last couple have been. It's a lot more character-driven. I enjoyed all four of them. P3 was my least favorite of the bunch, though.
John: We actually got all call last week from "Andrew," who thought PHANTASM 4 was the best film of 1998.
Richard: Wow! That's a rave review.
John: Now, you were actually involved with coming up with the title "PHANTASM:OBLIVION," the 'IV' in the word "Oblivion" being the Roman numeral 'IV' since it's the fourth film in the series.
Richard: Right. There was a point in time, this would probably have been about 5 or 6 months ago, where Don Coscarelli contacted me. At that point in time he was calling the movie PHANTASM 4EVER and asked my opinion of that title. Very tactfully, I told him I didn't really care for it that much. It sounded too much like "Batman Forever" and it just didn't seem appropriate. He (Don) had come up with an idea of maybe running a contest through the Official PHANTASM Website - a kind of "Name That Movie" contest. Trying to get a jump on everyone else, I sent him a list of suggestions for the title, and OBLIVION was one of them. That was the one he decided to go with.
John: How did you first come across the PHANTASM films?
Richard: The first film came out in 1979 and I saw it in the theater. I was 14 at the time and my parents took me to go see it. It was at our little local theater, which was kind of funny... The theater that was in my hometown had two screens: on one side they showed porno movies and the other side they showed exploitation movies along the lines of PHANTASM and martial arts movies. I saw the movie and it really hooked me. I loved it. There was just something about it that I had never seen before and it really impressed me. I saw it during my summer vacation from school, so I made a point of seeing it several times that year.
John: That ball drilling through people's heads really cracks me up. It's a very ingenious device.
Richard: It's definitely the trademark of the whole series. Somebody who may have seen the movie twenty years ago who hasn't really had any interest in it beyond that will still remember "the ball."
John: You want to explain a little bit about the storyline of the films?
Richard: Basically, the first film is the story of a young boy, around the age of 13. A ghastly undertaker moves into town, starts digging up bodies and, for some reason, fixates on this young boy - trying to do away with him, his brother and his friend. It's basically a nightmare put on film. There's not a lot of real strong narrative structure to it. It's a lot of strong visuals. P2 came out eight years later and it was much more straightforward. It kind of had a MAD MAX/ROAD WARRIOR feel to it. A lot more firepower. The young boy, Mike, who has now grown up, and his friend Reggie are basically on a search-and-destroy mission, going after this undertaker, the Tall Man.
The third film is more of the hunt. A lot more comedy was added into the mix at that point.
With the new movie, it kind of ties everything back together back to the first film. Was it all a dream or wasn't it?
John: It's kind of interesting, when I first saw the film I was 13 and I really related to the boy in the film, Mike, and I thought it was great. When he was 13 he was driving a great car, the Hemicuda, and he was carrying a gun.
That's what kind of appealed to me. It's like, "These guys are cool. I'd hang out with these guys."
Richard: Don Coscarelli is a smart director in that, at that time, he really knew how to tap into that audience he was going for. He came up with a very memorable character in the form of the young boy, Mike.
John: We had the priveledge of interviewing Forrest J. Ackerman at the Monster Bash convention in Monroe, Pennsylvania. We asked him if there were any actors today that he would put on the same level as the horror greats such as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. He mentioned Angus Scrimm.
Richard: I would agree with that. Angus Scrimm is really a remarkable actor. He will go down in history as being one of the creepiest screen horror villains.
John: How many hits on your website do you get a month?
Richard: Right now we've been getting a lot more traffic, mainly because the new movie has come out. So far we've had approximately 4300 hits on the site, which has been up since April of '97.
John: What do you think about the other websites out there about the PHANTASM series?
Richard: There's a lot of really good PHANTASM sites out there. There's, of course, the Official PHANTASM Website, which has a lot of great information in there. A gentleman by the name of Jordan Avon has a website called "Perigord Cemetery and Mausoleum," which has a section that explains how to build your own silver sphere model. That's a great one.
John: (laughs) I've always wanted to build my own silver sphere!
Richard: He hasn't quite devised a way yet to motorize the drill where it can do some damage, but... (laughs) I'm waiting for that. You could julienne fries with it, I guess.
There's a lot of good sites out there. I pretty much have what I think is a comprehensive list of all the ones that are out there. I'd say right now there are about 15 or 20 that I know of.
John: Reggie Bannister has an album, is that correct?
Richard: Right. He has an album out called "Fool's Paradise." It's a very good album. It's a mix of rock and jazz and a few other musical styles. He's really a talented musician and, incidentally, that's him and his band singing and performing the song in the end titles of OBLIVION.
John: What other movies has Angus Scrimm done?
Richard: He's done quite a few genre movies. he did one called MINDWARP with Bruce Campbell from the EVIL DEAD series.
John: And the original SUBSPECIES?
Richard: Right. He also appeared in Don Coscarelli's first film, JIM - THE WORLD'S GREATEST.
John: Do you like a lot of other horror movies as well, Richard?
Richard: Yeah, definitely. Actually, I just incorporated a new section into our website which gives a list of my Top 20 horror films of all time, so, yeah, there's a bunch.
John: You want to share that list with us?
Richard: Wow. I don't have it handy right now. I could probably give you a few titles... I'm a big fan of the Italian director Lucio Fulci. He made some really, really nasty films like ZOMBIE, THE GATES OF HELL and THE BEYOND. Also a lot of John Carpenter's films, like HALLOWEEN and THE FOG. Some of David Cronenberg's work, VIDEODROME and SCANNERS. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE,
HELLRAISER, all the classics.
John: What did you think of SCREAM?
Richard: I liked it a lot, but it isn't one of my all time favorites. Whether you liked it or not, the one thing it really has done is bring horror back to the forefront. It's created a whole new audience for this type of film. For the most part in the '90s and the late '80s, there was virtually nothing of any significance coming out as far as horror films. So it has definitely renewed the interest.
On the down side of that, though, there's this whole new wave of movies that are trying to copy SCREAM, like I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and URBAN LEGEND. Even the posters for these movies all look the same.
John: Do you think the reason that horror movies have changed is because the audience in this generation has changed?
Richard: I think a lot of it is a reflection of the times. It's a very youth-oriented society and these movies are definitely catering to that. There's a level of imagination to the PHANTASM movies, the surrealistic nature of them, that I think kind of transcends what's being marketed now. Now the pattern is definitely going for humor and references to other movies. It's also almost like what we had in the late '70s with HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH. We're back to the slasher-type film. They're a little bit more in tune with the youth of today which, again, is a reflection of the times.
John: Yeah, I mean even though horror's making a comeback, it's just showing body counts with very little suspense, very little imagination. I think I've yet to see a really imaginative horror film that's put me in a lot of suspense the way PHANTASM did.
Richard: Right. I mean, like we were talking about SCREAM, I enjoyed that movie, but the cult following behind that movie I don't really understand because the movies it's paying homage to are the movies we were enjoying twenty years ago. So it's not really doing anything new. To me, what was appealing was the comedy in it. It didn't seem to be that innovative of a film.
The one thing SCREAM also really had going for it was Wes Craven. He's a terrific director, with NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE HILLS HAVE EYES. He did a lot with the material he had.
John: Are you a big science-fiction fan as well, Richard?
Richard: Yeah, to an extent. There's quite a bit out there that I like.
John: Any particular favorites?
Richard: I like the STAR WARS series a lot. Actually, a couple of my guilty pleasures - well, not really guilty pleasures, are ROLLERBALL and LOGAN'S RUN.
Again, the MAD MAX films, which I guess are borderline science-fiction, a little more action-oriented.
John: I read somewhere that there was going to be a remake of LOGAN'S RUN.
Richard: I had read a little bit about that they were talking about doing a remake and, actually, I heard that Leonardo DiCaprio's name was getting tossed around for the part of Logan. But I don't think it really evolved much past the rumor stage.
John: Any idea why they had James LeGros come in to play the character of Mike in PHANTASM II instead of Michael Baldwin?
Richard: I've heard a few stories associated with that. The most frequent rumor that I've heard was that Michael Baldwin just wasn't interested in playing the character at that time. So they went with James Legros, who, I thought, did a really outstanding job as Mike. He's gone on to other things, as well. He was in the last couple episodes of ER, so he's doing really well for himself.
John: Thanks very much for coming on the show today!
Richard: Thank you very much.
AIssue #178 of Fangoria magazine
Many thanks to Angus Scrimm for the kind mention about me in his PHANTASM journal published in Issue #178 of Fangoria magazine.
That was a real thrill for me! You're the best, Angus!!!
Horrors! 365 Scary Stories
The cost of the book is $12.98 in hardback and the ISBN number is 0-7607-0141-5.
It is available through Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton, Walden and Book Stop bookstores.
Madison's four stories are titled: "Plant Kingdom," "Little Man," "Time Flies," & "The Silver and the Damage Done."
ReznHedz toy and model show
On Saturday, September 12, 1998, I had the pleasure of attending the ReznHedz toy and model show in Hillside, Illinois. Accompanying me was my good friend (and SENTINEL #3 cover artist) Jimmy Blondet. The primary reason I went to this event was to have the opportunity to meet Reggie Bannister, who needs no introduction to PHANTASM phans.
Reggie was, unquestionably, one of the kindest and most down-to-earth individuals I have ever met in the entertainment industry. Throughout the day, apparently without even taking a break, Reggie graciously signed autographs and amiably chatted with the phans about the PHANTASM films and his career.
Reggie was even kind enough to set aside some time at the end of his busy day to be interviewed for Issue #9 of THE SENTINEL (March 1999). This will be an issue you won't want to miss!
Even if Reggie weren't present, the ReznHedz show would have been an outstanding convention in its own right. There were plenty of great dealers and other special guests included makeup effects maestro/actor/director Tom (DAWN OF THE DEAD, FROM DUSK 'TIL DAWN) Savini, the wonderful Mr. Forrest J. Ackerman, the charming and funny former adult film star Ginger Lynn Allen (who was able to accomplish the difficult task of actually making me blush!) and scream queens Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer and Debbie Dutch, among others.
It was also a great pleasure to finally meet many of the SENTINEL phanzine/ website subscribers and contributors who have helped make what I do be as enjoyable as it is, like Jon Kitley (SENTINEL #5) and Rob Long (see the "Nightmare Gallery" section of the website).
I hope to see you guys (and everyone else) at next year's ReznHedz show!
Keep us Informed
Many visitors to THE SENTINEL website have e-mailed me about the PHANTASM viewing marathons/parties they are having.
A month or so ago, SENTINEL webmaster Ron Garrison, SENTINEL print coordinator Paul Mathews, SENTINEL #3 cover artist Jimmy Blondet and myself had our own little viewing party, complete with a cookout.
If you (or a friend) are participating in a special phan activity, or are going to a PHANTASM-related convention event, let us know about it and we'll let the world know about it here!