a big ball in PHANTASM V RAVAGER

Silver Spheres

We live in a world where press releases are sent out alerting the media when movies begin pre-production, add cast members, or have started shooting, and even smaller films are known quantities well before they hit screens. Between official announcements, set photos, and cast/crew tweeting about the experience, there’s very little left to surprise us when it comes to movies in production. Can you imagine a movie being completed these days without anyone outside of the filmmakers knowing about it?

Joss Whedon pulled it off a couple years ago with his Much Ado About Nothing redo, but his coup seemed to be the exception to the rule. Until now.

Say hello to the first teaser for the already filmed and completed Phantasm V: Ravager. The ball is not only back, it’s bigger than ever and still doing the bidding of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). Reggie (Reggie Bannister) and Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) are forced to do battle with him, the balls, those mischievous little Jawa bastards, and their own sanity in what may be the final Phantasm installment. Check out the teaser below.

First things first, why is series creator Don Coscarelli not directing for the first time and what effect (if any) will it have on the finished product? The teaser doesn’t offer enough to answer that last question, but while he directed and wrote all four previous films Coscarelli is relegated to c0-writer/producer here. It’s not like he’s retired, and in fact his best film is (arguably) his most recent, the very funny and weird John Dies In the End. So why vacate the director’s chair on his signature franchise? Coscarelli himself answered that over at EW and explained why David Hartman got the job.

I felt it was time to let someone else play with my train set,” said Coscarelli in a statement. “David and I go back to my film Bubba Ho-Tep. He did terrific visual effects on that, and more recently created a wild animated sequence and some amazing visual effects in my most recent film, John Dies at the End. Our aesthetics are in sync and he’s quite an experienced director in his own right.”

Part four in the franchise was apparently filmed over the past two years, and that long shoot probably has something to do with why no one in the media seemed to even know it was in production. Rumors had swirled, and Coscarelli is continually asked when the next installment would be expected, but he remained tight-lipped until this past week. He even volunteered that he’s fielded and rejected multiple offers for big-budget remakes in favor of closing things out with the original cast and story line.

I definitely have no desire to see what Hollywood would do with Phantasm, but I can’t pretend to be the franchise’s fan. There’s a WTF element that I’ve always appreciated, but its constant reliance on dream-logic means that nothing in the films can be taken at face value or with any real dramatic weight. I am however a fan of Reggie’s hand-made weapons and the damage caused by those Swiss Army spheres. What say you? Are there any fans out there still hanging on since the last film sixteen years ago?

Phantasm V: Ravager has no release date yet, but at this point we shouldn’t be surprised if it’s already been released on DVD.


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