It’s a film about a tall undertaker who transforms corpses into dwarf minions to be used as slaves in an alternate dimension. Did I mention that there’s a sentient fly orb patrolling the halls of the mortuary? Indie filmmaker Don Coscarelli directed, wrote, produced, and edited Phantasm (1979), which by the way, just happens to be a classic horror film. Don’t let the my initial synopsis fool or dissuade you. Phantasm is pure nightmare fuel and a perfect example of the horror surrealism that was popular in the 1970s. Our Monday Morning Scare for the week of March 19 2018 has been included in several “scariest scene” lists, so it has the pedigree. Check it out below:
Like the best jump scares, Coscarelli patiently sets the scene, zooming in slowly with a steadicam shot, and building anticipation. The nightmarish appearance of Angus Scrimm’s Tall Man is only a prelude to what follows. What makes the scene so effective is Coscarelli’s ability to infuse the scene with that exact aesthetic and feeling of a real nightmare. There’s a reason Phantasm continues to show up on most “best horror film” lists so do yourself a favour and check it out.