It took nine years to get a sequel made for the original "Phantasm". You have to love the tagline for this film "THE BALL IS BACK!" and they are better than ever.
Phantasm II picks up right where the first left off. Reggie (Reggie Bannister), our lovable ice cream man, tells Michael to go upstairs and pack up, because they are hitting the road. When Reg hears some commotion coming from upstairs, he heads up to do a little investigating. There he sees the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) directing his minions as they attempt to "shanghai" young Michael. After a little midget monk tussling, Reggie is able to free Mike and blows up the house on his way out. Broiled Tall Man? I think not. It is only the beginning, my friends.
Fast forward to the present, we find our hero Mike (played this time around by James LeGros) still suffering from nightmares. It seems he’s been calling the local loony bin home for the past couple of years. He’s able to convince his doctors that all that Tall Man stuff, midget monks, spacegates, etc. was just left over emotions from the deaths of his family. They agree and let him out…
Right away he heads out after the Tall Man, but this time Mike’s not alone. First, he enlists the help of Reg. Second, Mike seems to be psychically linked to a hot blond named Liz (Paula Irvine). He has seen her in his dreams and knows that the Tall Man is after her. Armed like RAMBO-wannabes (with a makeshift flame-thrower and quadruple barreled shotgun), Reg and Mike follow the trail of deserted towns and empty graveyards left behind by the Tall Man. Along the way, the always-horny Reg (again thinking with the wrong head), picks up a mysterious hitchhiker (Samantha Phillips) for some added fun. We are left with this uneasy feeling that the Tall Man is just using Liz to lore Michael to him. This is definitely more than a simple urge to kill the boy. What does the Tall Man want? The end comes with some great effects and in the immortal words of the Tall Man, "It’s never over", thus the sequel.
Overall, Phantasm II is a pretty decent follow-up to the first film. This time around Don Coscarelli had the backing of a bigger studio (Universal) and this translated into a bigger budget. This is seen reflected in the better sets and special effects. "The Ball(s)" are deadly than ever. Armed with new weapons, they are ready to unleash their reign of terror on anyone (friend or foe) who gets in their way. Pay special attention to a scene in the crematorium. One of the Tall Man’s assistants can be seen with a bag of remains labeled "Sam Raimi", a definite tribute to the master.
What a follow up to the first Phantasm indeed. Packed with a lot of humor from Reggie, and The Tall Man is still scary as hell. Just go rent this movie, its good.
About Phantasm II (1988)
Starring: Phil Fondacaro, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, J. Patrick McNamara, James Le Gros, Stacey Travis, Samantha Phillips, Troy Fromin, Ed Gale, Paula Irvine, Irene Korman, Lauren Gray, June Jordan, Megan Gibbons, Craig Murkey, Amanda Gibbons, Georgeanna Valdez, Guy Alford, Ricky Murkey, Kenneth Tigar, Katie Carlin, Ruth C. Engel, Delia Ortega, Mark Anthony Major, Lee Craig, Rubin Kushner, Ramona Ortega, Amanda Gray, Richard F. Berry
Director: Don Coscarelli
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