Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead sees the series enter the 90’s era of horror but manages to avoid many of the problems that would plague that time (obsession with slashers).
Written & directed once again by Don Coscarelli & bringing back all the same cast, including A. Michael Baldwin who reprises his role that was taken over by James LeGros in the second movie. Fans of the series will get that warm glow of seeing the familiar faces of the Phantasm cast, something that makes the series so endearing.
Phantasm III opens directly after the events of the second with a the Tall Man arriving out of a portal. This is the first clue that the Tall Man may be more than just one being. The hearse that Liz & Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) are in crashes & blows up killing Liz. Before the Tall Man can get to Mike, Reggie (Reggie Bannister) saves him.
Mike spends 2 years in a coma during which he is visited by his dead brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) & the Tall Man. He is attacked by a demonic nurse before Reggie manages to save him but before the duo can reunite the Tall Man arrives & takes Mike through a portal with him.
Reggie isn’t willing to give up on Mike though so sets out to find him alongside the spirit of Jody (which is in one of Tall Man’s spheres) & some new characters. We have the bad-ass, Gloria Lynne Henry as Rocky & the tough, been through a lot already youngster, Tim (Kevin Conners).
The duo are both great to watch, with Rocky in particular playing brilliantly off Reggie. Although we probably could have done without the sex scene. The cast, as always excel. James LeGros may have done a good job of Mike in Phantasm II but this is a role that is meant for A. Michael Baldwin. He is brilliant to watch & his relationship with his brother, Reggie & the Tall Man so believable.
Once again Angus Scrimm keeps you hooked to the screen. Here we get more details regarding the dimension he comes from & how he moves about. As well as some of his weaknesses, in a fantastic throwback to the original movie.
Plenty of gore, plenty of great effects, plenty of development in regards to the Phantasm series & we finally get to see just what is in the sliver spheres the Tall Man uses!
Where the movie does stumble is with its humour. Not quite getting the tongue in cheek style right, a lot of the jokes feel forced & even Reggie’s charm doesn’t quite hit as well as it has previously.
Phantasm III can be a bit confusing at times as the realisation comes about that the series is really blending sci-fi with horror now. However, it’s such a satisfying watch feeling like a proper continuation of the story. It ends on another cliff-hanger but that just means we’ve got Phantasm IV to enjoy!
Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead