Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998)
Directed by: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Angus Scrimm, Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury
Just like the previous movies, Oblivion starts right where the last movie left off; Mike is fleeing the mortuary in the midst of his transformation and Reggie is still being held captive by The Tall Man’s balls. For whatever reason, The Tall Man elects to let Reggie go.
Jody, still in sphere mode, convinces Reggie to start looking for Mike. Pretty much right away, Reggie is pulled over by a State Trooper that turns out to be minion of The Tall Man. This scene really reminded me of Night of the Comet, with the undead cops and all. Reggie dispatches the ghoul with a shotgun and blowing up the cruiser. Reggie also meets a stranger, who just happens to be an attractive woman in need of help. Will Reggie never learn? Of course she turns out to be a bad guy, complete with spheres for tits. Talk about a letdown there.
Mike intends to force a confrontation with The Tall Man out in the desert. There are some muddled parts throughout here that are tough to follow, but Mike ends up back in time to meet Jebediah Morningside, the man who would become The Tall Man. Mike then plans to stop Jebediah from discovering the portal that turns him into The Tall Man.
It is also becoming apparent to Mike that Jody cannot be trusted, which of course, turns out to be true. Jody helps The Tall Man capture Mike, but as The Tall Man begins to operate on Mike, he uses a tuning fork to escape.
Mike also discovers his powers are growing and is able to fashion his own sphere from spare motor parts (random?). Mike uses the sphere to attack The Tall Man and blows him up along with the Hearse. Unfortunately, a new Tall Man walks out of a gate right away. Talk about hard to kill. The new Tall Man removes a Golden Sphere from Mike’s head and retreats back into the gate. With Mike on his death bed, Reggie grabs the trusty shotgun and heads in after him, which is how the movie ends. This is the first Phantasm to not end with someone being pulled through glass or a mirror.
One complaint I have with the fourth installment is the extensive use of flashbacks. It gets redundant, especially if you watch all the movies in a short period of time, and also leads to some of the confusion. There is also a lot of “portal jumping” so if you turn away for a minute, they may be in a totally different place (or dimension) with little or no explanation. Gotta pay attention on this one kids.
What I did like about it was the origin of The Tall Man. In such a muddled series, it was cool to see where he came from (sort of). According to Wikipedia, there is a pretty solid screenplay out there for another Phantasm sequel that was supposed to star Bruce Campbell, but they have not been able to secure financing. Sometimes I just don’t get Hollywood. Anyways, this concludes my look at the Phantasm series. I have a few individual reviews planned, but the next franchise will be none other than Leprechaun!