[[quoteright:311:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/phantasm.jpg]]
->''"Boooooooyyyyyyyy!!!"''

'''''Phantasm''''' is a series of horror films written and directed by Don Coscarelli (''Film/TheBeastmaster'', ''Film/BubbaHoTep'').

An evil supernatural being known as the Tall Man travels from [[SmallTowns small town]] to small town, leaving devastation in his wake. Posing as an undertaker, he steals dead bodies and transforms them into [[OurZombiesAreDifferent dwarf-like]] [[ZombieMooks zombie slaves]], nicknamed 'lurkers'. Pursuing him are the only ones who might stop him: a troubled young man named Mike, an aging, balding ice cream vendor named Reggie, and the few allies they find along the way.

To date, four films have been made, the most popular being the 1979 original, which remains a CultClassic admired for its atmosphere and originality. With ''Phantasm II'' in 1988, the series shifted away from quiet, creepy horror, giving the heroes some cool weapons and upping the excitement. 1994's ''Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead'' is more of the same with added comedy, while 1998's ''Phantasm IV: Oblivion'' is a lot more subdued, and takes time to explore (if not explain) things hitherto unexplored in the series, such as the possible origins of the Tall Man.

It is fair to say that the rules of [[RuleOfCool cool]] and [[RuleOfScary scary]] are the guiding principles of the series. Going for SurrealHorror and the feeling of a nightmare, the films are brimming with such memorable horrors as the [[WasOnceAMan ex-human]] lurkers, the brain-drilling flying spheres, and Angus Scrimm playing the magnificently frightening Tall Man himself.

Sixteen years since the release of Oblivion, the fifth and final film, ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1wOobOGa4w Phantasm V: Ravager]]'' has been announced.
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!!The series features examples of:
* ActionGirl: Rocky in the third film.
* ActionSurvivor: Reggie.
* ActionizedSequel: ''Phantasm II''
* AdamWesting: Scrimm's role as a CrustyCaretaker in the low-budget horror spoof ''Transylvania Twist'' sends up the Tall Man persona with which he is indelibly identified something rotten, including a flying sphere attack that turns into a baseball game.
* AlienBlood: Both the Tall Man and his minions bleed yellow.
* AllJustADream: [[OrWasItADream "No, it's not!"]]
* AndIMustScream: "You think that when you die, you go to Heaven. You come to us!"
* AssholeVictim: The looters in the third movie.
* AvoidTheDreadedGRating: The first film wasn't particularly gory, and would probably be rated PG (this was before PG-13) if it weren't for the gratuitous nudity.
* BadassAdorable: Tim in the third movie. A cute boy who's absolutely deadly.
* BadassInANiceSuit: The Tall Man is not your average undertaker, but he always dresses the part.
* BadassNormal: Reggie in particular has this in spades.
* BaldOfAwesome: Reggie is either awesome in spite of being bald, ugly and middle aged, or doubly awesome because of it.
* BifurcatedWeapon: Reggie's ''quadruple'' barreled SawedOffShotgun.
* BlatantLies: In the fourth ''Phantasm'', in a dream, the Tall Man is caught by a noose and he begs the protagonist, Michael to cut him down.
-->'''The Tall Man:''' Cut me down!
-->'''Michael:''' No!
-->'''The Tall Man:''' I won't hurt you.
-->'''Michael:''' You're killing the world!
-->'''The Tall Man:''' I'll go away... and I won't ever come back. [gives mischievous grin]
-->'''Michael:''' You will?
-->'''The Tall Man:''' Yes.
* BloodyHilarious: Especially the third film, where the gore is mostly played for laughs.
* BodyHorror: [[spoiler:The Liz Creature]] from the second film and the [[spoiler:living, twisted body in the trunk]] from the fourth film.
* BondOneLiner: Reggie: "Wow, some cops can be real assholes!" He also has some delightfully cheesy [[PreMortemOneLiner Pre Mortem One Liners]].
* CatchPhrase: "Booooooyyyyyyyy!!!"
* ChainsawGood: In the second film, Reggie has a chainsaw duel with a [[GasMaskMooks Gas Mask Mook]].
* CoolCar: The series has a reputation for blowing these up.
* CoolGate: The gates that the Tall Man uses for transportation.
* CreditsGag: "...and the wrath of The Tall Man."
* TheCreepyUndertaker: The Tall Man in the first ''Phantasm''.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: How the Spheres deal with their victims, by impaling themselves into the forehead and then drilling between the eyes, the blood spurting out from the Sphere's other side. [[CaptainObvious Sounds painful.]]
** The death of one of the assistant morticians in the second film. [[spoiler: The Gold Sphere hits him right in the back and proceeds to drill right into his body, the mortician writing in agony, until it tries to leaves through his mouth but gets jammed in his jaws.]]
* CutShort: The four issue comic miniseries by Xmachina. Only one issue was released.
* DeathBySex: Tommy in the first film. And poor Reggie comes close on a few occasions.
* DiabolusExMachina: The ending of the first three movies.
* DirtyOldMan: Reggie.
* DoItYourselfThemeTune: Reggie Bannister sang and wrote the lyrics for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RolOQN_4qKY Have You Seen It?]], the rock song that plays over the end credits of the fourth film. Doubles as an ImageSong as well.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:The fourth film ends with Michael dying and Reggie going off into parts unknown to follow the Tall Man.]]
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Liz and Tim, and in the same film no less.]]
** There is of course Reggie, an inversion of the trope. No matter what, [[JokerImmunity the Regman repeatably survives what happens to him]].
* EldritchAbomination: The true form of the Tall Man is implicated as being some kind of being that is anchored in another dimension.
** In ''Oblivion'', sweet old man Jebediah Morningside walks into his prototype Dimensional Gate... and something ''else'' wearing his skin comes back. This dialogue best illustrates it:
-->'''Mike''': ''*as Jebediah Morningside steps through the prototype Dimensional Gate*'' When's he coming back?
-->'''[[SpiritAdvisor Jody]]''': [[WhamLine Jebediah Morningside never does come back.]]
-->''*The Tall Man steps back through the gate, [[CompanionCube Sentinel]] in hand.*''
* EliteMook: The Gold Spheres.
** Probably more important than a mook [[spoiler:seeing as how both the Tall Man and Mike are gold spheres]].
* EveryCarIsAPinto: It is even [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in the fourth film, with the implication that RealityIsUnrealistic.
-->'''Reggie:''' We better move away from the car before the gasoline blows.
-->'''Jennifer:''' Wait! I thought cars only blew up like that in the movies!
-->[Car explodes in a huge fireball]
-->'''Reggie:''' Yeah, me too.
* FakeShemp: Mike's face isn't shown in the first part of the second film, as he was clearly played by a different child actor. For the rest of the film Mike is played by James [=LeGros=], see TheOtherDarrin below.
** The first scene of the first movie has two Shemps: the actress who played the Lady in Lavender wasn't comfortable with mimicking a sex scene with the actor who played Tommy, so Bill Thornbury filled in for him. Also, she didn't want her own breasts on film, so the movie cuts to a shot of a different actress' breasts - in the credits, she's billed as "Double Lavender".
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption
* {{Fingore}}: The Tall Man's hand gets caught by a slammed door in the first film, then gets its fingers cut off when Mike realizes the trapped hand is there, and still moving. [[spoiler: So were the amputated fingers. At least until one turned into an evil alien bug. Did we mention that this is one ''weird'' flick?]]
* GasMaskMooks: The Gravers.
* GenderBender: In the first movie and possibly the second, the Tall Man seems able to transform himself into a [[AttractiveBentGender gorgeous woman]], doing so to lure people in for to be killed. And it was poor Reggie in both films!
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In the first film, Mike clearly mouths the words "What the fuck?" after seeing the Tall Man easily lift a heavy casket, although only the soundtrack is heard.
* GhostTown: Any town that the Tall Man has visited.
* GoIntoTheLight: Mike is somewhat discouraged from doing so in the third film when he sees the Tall Man waiting for him there.
* GroinAttack: With a ''chainsaw'' in ''Phantasm II''.
* HandInTheHole: A likely ShoutOut to ''{{Dune}}'' in the first film. Mike is instructed by the daughter of the local blind witch to put his hand in a black box which inflicts pain on him, thus teaching him that fear is the mind killer. Mike utilizes this knowledge at the end of the film, trying not to fear The Tall Man.
* {{Heavyworlder}}: The lurkers.
* HumanoidAbomination: The Tall Man.
* HumanResources: The Tall Man uses stolen corpses for two purposes; the bodies are compressed and reanimated as Lurkers; the brains are compressed and reanimated as operators of the Spheres.
* LifeOrLimbDecision: Happens to one of the Tall Man's mortuary assistants in the second film.
* ImMelting: The Tall Man's "death" in the second film.
* ImplacableMan: The Tall Man who simply can't be stopped. Destroy him completely and another identical one will step out of the portal and finish where he left off.
* ImpossiblyCoolWeapon: The Tall Man's silver spheres. They're essentially flying Swiss Army knives of doom.
** Even more so with the gold spheres, which have "positron lasers", 3 blades that look like serrated can-opener blades, and dual circular saws.
** Reggie's quadruple-barreled shotgun counts as this. It consists of two double-barreled shotguns connected together via their mechanisms to create a four barreled masterpiece.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Though little Mike is nearly killed by the Tall Man in the first movie, [[spoiler:''Phantasm II'' has Reggie's family, including his young daughter, killed after the Tall Man blows up their house, and ''Phantasm III'' has Tim taken and likely killed by one of Tall Man's Lurkers.]]
* KillItWithIce: Cold is one of the few forces proven to incapacitate the Tall Man, if only temporarily.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: Angus Scrimm is renowned for being very approachable and happy to discuss the films in all the decades since taking the role.
* MindScrew: How much of it is deliberate and how much is Coscarelli making it up as he goes along is unclear.
* MirrorScare: The first film contains a classic example.
* MoodWhiplash: The fourth film is split between Mike's somber explorations of the Tall Man's origins, and Reggie's wacky adventures trying to find him.
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: The Tall Man. Though, to be fair, the extent of his powers is never made clear.
** The "Sentinel Spheres" (silver spheres) seem to do this on occasion. It's unknown exactly if different spheres have different weapons and other equipment (such as the "eye stalk sphere"), or if they're all flying Swiss army knives of death.
*** Most noticeably, the Jody Sphere is able to shift into Jody's form, while the other spheres have to be embedded in a body to pass as human.
** There's also Mike, where he first seemed to have a psychic link with Liz and the Tall Man in the second film before in the fourth film having Tall Man-like powers.
* NiceHat: Jody's derby hat he wears while playing "Sitting Here at Midnight".
* NocturnalMooks: The lurkers.
* OminousWalk: The Tall Man apparently carries marble floor with him just so he can use this trope.
* OncePerEpisode: Someone must have decided that since the original film ends with [[spoiler:Mike being pulled through a mirror by lurkers]], each sequel should end with something similar befalling a character or characters, [[RuleOfScary whether or not it makes sense]]. Only the fourth film breaks with this tradition.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent
* PortalCut: In the third film, the Tall Man is reaching through one of his dimensional gates when Reggie shuts it off, slicing them off [[spoiler: where they then mutate into alien scorpion-like creatures that attack the protagonists]].
* ProductPlacement: Dos Equis beer in the first movie.
* RealityWarper: The Tall Man.
* RetCon: It's pretty damned hard to figure out which parts of the end of one film you're supposed to accept as canon when watching the next in the series. Characters who clearly died are suddenly alive again, others just drop off the face of the earth, etc.
** It doesn't help that all events in the series up to and including the first 10-15 minutes of the second film were AllJustADream. It is uncertain how much - if any - of the first film actually happened, and beyond a few broad hints what the real events unfolded like. Then when the fourth film starts flashing back to footage from the original that wasn't actually included in the film...yep, the ''Phantasm'' series is a little [[MindScrew screwy]].
** We can be fairly certain that none of the reveals of the third film, including [[spoiler:the spheres holding the brains of dead people, and Mike being from the Tall Man's world]] were things Coscarelli had in mind while starting the series.
* RuleOfCool: The series is based entirely around it. In fact, a major strike against the sequels for many fans is that they attempt to make sense of the Tall Man and his world, which is an exercise in futility.
* RunningGag: Every car explodes when it crashes. (See EveryCarIsAPinto above.)
* SaveScumming: A rare {{Film}} example. It's how [[BigBad The Tall Man]] [[spoiler: keeps coming back.]] Subverted in the fourth film when Jody teaches Mike how to do it... but he isn't nearly as good at it as The Tall Man is.
* TheSeventies: The cars, slang, hairstyles, and ''especially'' the clothes from the first film. Reggie though seems to be still stuck there, given his lifestyle and slang.
* ShakyPOVCam
* ShoutOut: In ''Phantasm II'', an undertaker is seen filling a bag labeled "Mr. Creator/SamRaimi" with ashes. This may also be a StealthPun on Ash from Raimi's ''Franchise/EvilDead'' films.
** The fortune teller scene in the first film references the opening scene of ''{{Dune}}''. And this is the only purpose of the scene, too.
* ShownTheirWork: In the funeral home infiltration scene in the first movie, Jody decides to carry his Colt 1911 with a round chambered but the hammer in the down position. When a lurker drops onto his back, he has to manually cock the hammer to start shooting at it, which is how a 1911 works in real life.
** Further work-showing in the scene with Mike giving Jody the shotgun: "Don't point a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. Don't shoot at a man unless you intend to kill him. And no warning shots. Warning shots are bullshit." All 100% in line with the Rules of GunSafety.
* SpiritAdvisor: [[spoiler:Jody]] to Mike and Reggie.
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: [[spoiler:Liz and Tim.]]
* SuperStrength: The Tall Man, who despite his frail (yet imposing) frame, has demonstrated strength of the NeckLift, BarrierBustingBlow, and HoistHeroOverHead varieties. As a matter of fact, one of the first clues that there was something odd about the CreepyMortician skulking around the local cemetery was Mike witnessing him ''heave a loaded casket into the back of a hearse''. With '''one arm'''.
* ThisIsADrill: The silver spheres kill by drilling into the brain and spitting the blood out the end.
* UndignifiedDeath; The caretaker in the first film. Not only is he the first Sphere kill in the films but [[spoiler:he then urinates himself all over the floor when he hits the ground.]]
* UnflinchingWalk: [[InMediasRes At the beginning of Phantasm II,]] Reggie turns off the pilot lights on the gas stove in an effort to incinerate the Tall Man's minions. After a harrowing escape with Mike in tow, they leap out a window just in time to get clear of the massive explosion. The Tall Man merely glances backwards at the flaming building, then continues after the pair.
* WasOnceAMan: Both the lurkers and, seemingly, [[spoiler:the spheres and the Tall Man, himself]].
* WhamLine: At the end of the first film...[[spoiler: Mike is in his room - he closes the closet door to reveal the NotQuiteDead Tall Man standing behind him.]]
-->'''The Tall Man:''' ''BOOOOOOYYYYYY!!!''
** At the end of the second film too, courtesy of the [[spoiler: [[DeathIsCheap Tall Man]] once again.]]
-->'''Mike:''' [[AllJustADream Listen to me, none of this is real. We'll wake up!]] [[MadnessMantra It's just a dream, it's just a dream-]]
-->'''[[spoiler: [[NotQuiteDead The Tall Man]]:''' No, it's not!]]
** The Tall Man is good at these. From [[spoiler: the end of the third film:]]
-->'''Reggie:''' ''(to Tim)'' Run kid, get out of here! It's over!
-->[[spoiler: '''The Tall Man:''' It's ''never'' over.]]
** The origin of The Tall Man:
--> "Jebediah Morningside never does come back."
* WhiteVoidRoom: The portal rooms.
* WithCatlikeTread: Subverted. Mike carefully sneaks up to the funeral home in the middle of the night, and then noisily smashing a window to get in.
* ZombieMooks: Lurkers, reanimated and shortened zombie creatures ready to do The Tall Man's bidding.
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