[[quoteright:244:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_phantoms_1609.jpg]]
''Phantoms'' is a horror novel by American author DeanKoontz. It takes place in the small Californian mountain town of Snowfield, where doctor Jennifer Paige is taking her younger sister Lisa to live after their mother died of an embolism. It's a picturesque little place, but it doesn't take the sisters long to notice that something's missing--all the people, for starters. They find a few corpses, but most of the town's inhabitants seem to have vanished without a trace. Many of the few bodies they do find obviously died completely terrified, though just ''how'' they died isn't immediately evident.

All the phones are down, but eventually they manage to make a call to the Santa Mira sheriff’s office, which sends up a small group of police officers, who in turn summon an army platoon to investigate the possibility of some kind of chemical warfare. What they find is much worse--an ancient creature that can shape shift into whatever it wants, which has come up to the surface of the Earth to feed and which, thanks to its ability to absorb the thoughts of its victims, believes itself to be the devil. If they can’t find a way to kill it, they’re all going to be lunch sooner or later….

It was made into a film starring Peter O'Toole. And Ben Affleck. [[Film/JayAndSilentBobStrikeBack Who was the bomb in this film.]]

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!!''Phantoms'' contains examples of:
* AnimalisticAbomination: The monster can choose any shape to hunt down it's victims. A giant moth is one of them.
* AgeLift: Lisa is 14 in the novel. She appears to be at least 17 or 18 in the movie adaptation.
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: Oh so much, but see RuleOfScary above. It tries to avert this with Biosan (The biological weapon used to kill the monster), which is based on a RealLife organism made by Ananda Chakrabarty to dissolve oil spills.
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Quite a few of the "unsolved mass disappearances" mentioned in the book have concrete or at least widely accepted explanations today, and some actually never even happened. They are all at least real myths, but the author's afterword asserts that all of them actually happened and remain unresolved.
* AssholeVictim: Stu Wargle.
* BackFromTheDead: Stu Wargle, Copperfield (in the film adaptation), and anybody else The Ancient Enemy wants to use to demoralize or terrorize the protagonists with.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: The Ancient Enemy is apparently responsible for all sorts of real-world historical mass disappearances (including the Roanoke Lost Colony and the Mayans), and is the direct cause of many satanic/demonic mythoi, such as the Greek god Proteus.
* BigBad: The Ancient Enemy.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: A [[MacabreMothMotif giant moth]] flies in through the window, latches onto a guy, siphons out his brain, and eats his face. All in a matter of seconds. So, [[ParanoiaFuel next time that Lunesta moth taps at your window]], don't let it in. For the love of god.
* CatchPhrase: "Hey, wanna see something?" - Stu Wargle in TheMovie.
* CombatTentacles: The Ancient Enemy uses one, coated with acid, to [[LosingYourHead decapitate someone]].
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Pretty much everyone who dies.
* CuriosityKilledTheCast: Especially those not GenreSavvy enough to realize.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The novel is ''far'' more gory than the film adaptation.
* DarknessEqualsDeath
* DawsonCasting: Lisa's age is never specified in the movie (she's 14 in the novel) but is implied to be at least 17 or 18 years old. She was played by [=Rose McGowan=] who was 25 when the movie was made.
* EldritchAbomination: The Ancient Enemy, made all the more creepy from the seemingly plausible explanation for its existence and biology.
* EverybodysDeadDave: Literally. ''Everyone''.
* EvilPhone: The Ancient Enemy likes doing this.
* {{Expy}}: The Ancient Enemy is a shape-shifting, sewer-dwelling, trash-talking EldritchAbomination, not unlike [[Literature/{{IT}} a certain iconic Stephen King villain]].
* FiveManBand:
** TheHero - Sheriff Hammond.
** TheLancer - Tal Whitman.
** TheSmartGuy (well, gal actually) - Doctor Jennifer Paige.
** TheBigGuy - Gordy Brogan.
** TheChick - Lisa Paige (somewhat justified in that she's only fourteen).
* ForTheEvulz: The Ancient Enemy's only reason to do anything.
* GhostTown: Snowfield.
* GunsAreWorthless: Since the EldritchAbomination has no major organs to disrupt, guns don't do a whole lot of good. Somewhat averted in the movie since instead of sprayers, the protagonists use impact delivery darts to deliver the bacterial agent that kills the BigBad.
* HumanoidAbomination: The human-derived "phantoms" are this by default.
* HandSignals: The man in the helicopter uses them to ask where the supplies should be dropped, and Lisa Yamaguchi signals to the survivors to form a circle to show him.
* HellHotel: It didn’t start out this way, but the Ancient Enemy turned the Candleglow Inn into one.
* HeroicBSOD: Gordy Brogan in the novel. Immediately leads to his CuriosityKilledTheCast.
* HumansAreBastards: The novel states that The Ancient Enemy predates humans and the concept of the Devil and demons. It goes further to state that the creature fed on humans, gained their memories and intelligence, and became evil ''because'' of human nature. Hence, the real devil is us.
* InfantImmortality: Averted.
* IronicNurseryTune: The Ancient Enemy uses a child’s voice to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’.
* ItCanThink: There’s a nasty OhCrap moment when the characters realize the Ancient Enemy is deliberately toying with them. It is revealed later that the creature absorbed the knowledge of its victims.
* MacabreMothMotif
* NeverGiveTheCaptainAStraightAnswer: Deputy Frank Autry does this when he calls Sheriff Bryce Hammond on the radio after finding a room with bullets on the floor.
* NoBodyLeftBehind: Most of the victims are never found--those that are have often been left solely to freak out the living protagonists.
* OrificeInvasion: Lots of it, in the movie.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: When appearing to Jeeter and Kale in the cave, several of the monstrous forms that the Ancient Enemy takes have red eyes.
* RedshirtArmy: None of the Army CBW division sent to Snowfield survive in the novel or the film. Most of the sheriff's department is also killed in the novel [[spoiler: except Tal and Hammond]]
* RuleOfScary: Sure, the Ancient Enemy is a biological impossibility, but it makes for a great story.
* ShapeShifting: The Ancient Enemy.
* SirSwearsALot: The Ancient Enemy.
* SmugSnake: The Ancient Enemy, which believes itself to be a godlike (well, actually Satan-like) entity and commands Timothy Flyte (Fletcher Kale and Gene Terr in the novel) to be its "disciple".
** Fletcher Kale in the novel.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler: Dr. Flyte]] and [[spoiler: The Ancient Enemy]] survive in the movie but are killed in the novel.
* StressVomit: As a monster dissolves Gordy Brogan's body, Lisa Yamaguchi vomits into a nearby gutter.
* TakeOurWordForIt: Several deaths, particularly of the soldiers, aren't seen -- but they're ''heard'', and the agonized terror of the victims is almost more effective than the deaths we see.
* TheDevilIsALoser: [[spoiler:Though it views itself as an ultimate evil, the Ancient Enemy tends to stoop to a combination of crass obscenity and brutal violence rather than the sort of grandiose scheming one would expect of an UltimateEvil.]]
* TheFilmOfTheBook: The movie was a lackluster trimmed version of the novel.
* TimeDissonance: The Ancient Enemy perceives time really quickly, after having been around for millions of years, and the lifespan of a human is extremely brief and insignificant to it.
* UltimateEvil: The Ancient Enemy. It even thinks it’s Satan.
* UncannyValley: In-universe; some of the shapes the Ancient Enemy creates are considered this by the characters.

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