YMMV / Phantasm

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: One for the Tall Man given by Scrimm:
    Scrimm: "The Tall Man is....bored. He's bored. He's been doing the same job for so long. And here comes a boy who will play a fun game. And that's all it is to him, a game. He doesn't think he's killing people. He doesn't get it. There's no life and death to him, really".
  • Awesome Music: Fred Myrow and Malcom Seagrave's dark and atmospheric synthesizer score for the first film.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Really, Big Lipped Alligator Moments are what this movie and its sequels are all about, and the fourth one goes Up to 11 by out-BLAMing even the original.
    • There's a scene in which the fortuneteller's granddaughter goes into the mausoleum, enters the room leading to where the lurkers are made and screams. She's never seen again and her absence is never noticed.
    • The sequence after Mike is pushed out of the car that seems to imply a psychic connection between him and Jody.
    • The fortuneteller scene itself, which is only there because Coscarelli read Dune.
    • The scene at the antique shop, where Mike finds a vintage daguerreotype of the Tall Man driving a horse-drawn hearse that suddenly comes to life and glares at him.
  • Complete Monster: The Tall Man is a mysterious, but monstrous being either possessing or wearing the skin of a kindly old man named Jebediah Morningside. The Tall Man roams from town to town, leaving death and destruction in his wake for the purpose of creating corpses that he can use in his undead army for eventual world domination. The Tall Man seems to fully understand human feeling as he murders the innocent family of Reggie Bannister for no real reason, solely to hurt him. He tortures the young hero Mike and killed his older brother, Jody, as well as Mike's girlfriend while transforming the former into one of his magic spheres and the latter into one of his undead servants. Sadistic, relentless and brutal, the Tall Man has remained an icon in horror for his monstrosity.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The Tall Man can never be defeated. Every time it seems like he is, he pulls a new power out of his ass to survive. Our heroes have no hope of doing anything but staying ahead of him for a few more seconds.
  • Even Better Sequel: Many fans like Phantasm II the most. It even got a BD release before the original!
  • Faux Symbolism: Fans have wondered if there is any deeper significance to having the book My Name is Legion on Mike's desk with the cover prominently displayed in some scenes of Phantasm. Coscarelli says the crew just thought it had a nice cover.
  • Foe Yay: The Tall Man sure tries to seduce Reggie a lot.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Being about two men in a Cool Car hunting evil, the second film now feels a lot like Supernatural: The Movie.
  • Hype Backlash: The Phantasm's End script. After years of people talking about it being a fitting Grand Finale to the series, the reception fans gave to it after it leaked online was....lukewarm at best.
  • Narm: The whole series is a goldmine of it.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Everything about the spheres. The way they move, the sounds they make, how easily and gruesomely they kill and last but not least where they come from... Fittingly, they were based on an actual nightmare that Don Coscarelli had when he was a teenager.
    • One of the best is from the climax of the first film. We learn that the kid Mike dreamed everything that happened, that his brother died in a car wreck, and there is no Tall Man — only for Mike to go back to his room and find the Tall Man waiting there for him after discovering the Tall man's reflection in a mirror on his closet door.
    • The origin of the Tall Man: He's the body of the funeral parlor's first owner, who broke into the other universe only to be killed and then controlled by a gold sphere.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The original may be a victim of this, since it predated and probably inspired a lot of Eighties horror films.
  • Sequelitis: There are many who felt the sequels beyond the first were unnecessary (and some dislike Phantasm II as well).
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The end of the first movie, Mike and Jody had just defeated the Tall Man and you see Mike look up to his brother cheering in victory. Mike then opens his eyes, revealing that perhaps all of the events in the movie were just Mike's dream. Reggie is still alive but Jody had apparently died in reality in a car accident prior to the movie.
    • In the third film, Tim finding the picture of Reggie and his family, who were killed in the previous film. Reggie sees him looking at it, and without a word spoken Tim gets how much it affects him and puts it away.
    • Meta example: Angus Scrimm (the actor that played The Tall Man) passed away on 2016. Phantasm V: Ravager is his final film.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Tall Man himself, at times. Angus Scrimm manages to move in a way that's just slightly off, occasionally aided by slow motion.