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By Emily Booth, Thursday 13th July 2017
Most horror fans will already know this elusive yet enigmatic man; villain of one of the strangest, most surreal and nightmarish horror movies in the stratosphere. If not, you've missed out (and, ummm, where were you in the '80s?) Not to fear though, because Horror Channel proudly has the network premiere of the one and only Phantasm this coming Saturday. Throw logic and plot out of the window for this one and just get swept up in its dreamlike quality.
The film came out in 1979 and has since snowballed into a huge cult favourite spanning 5 decades, with 5 films, countless comics, fan sites and merchandise. The word 'phantasm' actually means 'something that is seen or imagined but is not real', and it is Don Coscarelli's imagination that we need to thank here. Just 23 years old at the time Phantasm was made on a tiny budget with big ideas, many of the movie-making decisions were instinctive, says Coscarelli; they happened off the cuff, on set.
Recently orphaned Jody (Bill Thornbury) and his younger brother Mike (Michael Baldwin) set up home in a new town where strange things have begun to occur. It all leads to the local mortuary and its creepy, otherworldly undertaker known as the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). Corpses are going missing, and when Mike witnesses this first-hand, he decides to dig a little deeper, soon finding himself in the bowels of a very mysterious mortuary. For the Tall Man is indeed more than just 'otherworldly'. He has an army of killer dwarves (actually re-animated shrunken versions of the corpses we mentioned earlier) and an arsenal of lethal silver spheres designed to drill into your skull to collect your brain matter. Oh and the basement of the mortuary actually disguises a portal to another planet, I think... Weird enough for ya?
On one level, Phantasm is a strange and surreal trip into the imagination, but on a deeper level, the film's central themes are death, grieving, and how a child's mind might fracture when coping with a death in the family. Angus Scrimm is literally the harbinger of death here (he died around the same time as David Bowie in January 2016) and was perfectly cast with his crooked frown and 'too small suits', providing the already 6 ft 4 actor an even greater sense of menace. It's no surprise he ranks as one of the most popular horror villains of all time.
Fans of '80s electronica and Italian horror movie soundtracks will also be in seventh heaven with a creepy synthy soundtrack taking its cue from the aforementioned influences, which in turn no doubt inspired the amazing soundtrack for '80s revival horror series "Stranger Things". You can't help but get sucked in.
Phantasm enjoys its network premiere on Horror this Saturday 15th July at 11pm.
MORE BOOTH'S BLOG Bloody British Season comes to a climax with The Descent!
Posted on Thursday 23rd November 2017
There's a lot we've got to be proud of here in Blighty. James Bond, Monty Python, David Bowie, and of course a healthy appetite for all things Horror, so over the past few Saturdays in November we've been enjoying our Bloody British Season which comes to its nerve-wracking climax this weekend!
The early noughties saw a resurgence in all areas of pop culture in the UK, and Horror was no different, with a slew of emerging directing talent making big bloody waves. Neil Marshall was at the helm with a film that took the genre in a new direction; down! He calls The Descent (2005) the sister film of his directorial debut Dog Soldiers, in that it features an all-female cast as opposed to the (nearly) all...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Enter the world of Silent Hill
Posted on Friday 17th November 2017
I am genuinely so excited about the network premiere I'm about to talk about. It's a film that the critics enjoyed panning, but the fans loved. My recent Twitter-bate confirmed there's a lot of underground love for this strange, dark film. It started out as a grimy, pixelated survival horror game by Konami on the PS1 back in 1999, and it was revolutionary for being the first computer game experience that was genuinely psychological. It had the ability to be truly unnerving and unsettling, and I for one could not stop playing it. It's time for reality to literally crumble as we enter the world of Silent Hill.
Touted by many horror fans as the best ever game-to-film adaptation (a notoriously tricky route...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A movie event with bite...!
Posted on Tuesday 7th November 2017
There is something incredibly primal about our fear of sharks. Just one look at the Great White Shark's gargantuan mouth peppered with oversized teeth designed to tear you in half and you can feel the fear pervade your entire body. We have always known about this supreme killer of the seas, but it was not until 1975 when Jaws was released unto an unsuspecting audience that the 'hysteria' surrounding the Great White Shark was born. Jaws has come to represent a huge turning point in the film industry. It invented the 'summer blockbuster', it was one of the first films to use high concept marketing and merchandise, and it continues to be deconstructed globally in film schools for its multi-layered metaphors, ranging from 'Vagi...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Keira Knightley digs deep in Bloody British Season
Posted on Friday 3rd November 2017
Britain has been put through the ringer over the past couple of years. However, we at Horror Channel are here to remind you all of our proud horror heritage this November, so Keep Calm and Carry On with November's Bloody British Season!
The early 2000s marked an exciting change in Britain within politics, fashion, music and indeed film. Everyone wanted a slice of Cool Britannia, the hub of all things fresh, edgy and zeitgeist. This high energy saw a resurgence too in the horror world, with directors such as Neil Marshall, Danny Boyle, and Chris Smith emerging to define a new wave of British, commercially successful horror; a movement that earned the gang of directors the enviable nickname of 'The Splat Pa...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror heads south this weekend
Posted on Tuesday 24th October 2017
This week I talk about an unusual UK TV premiere on Horror Channel; a film that plays more like a nightmarish experience than a traditional horror movie. The anthology horror as most of us know has a solid history in the genre popularised back in the '60s and '70s by Amicus Productions with such titles as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Vault of Horror (1973). Creepshow and The Twilight Zone took up the reins in the '80s, but the style went out of fashion until recently when it was brought back in vogue in the cyclical way that pop culture does, with the indie gem and surprise hit V/H/S (2012).
Tonight's terror comes from the same film makers as V/H...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Celebrate Valentine's Day this weekend!
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Back in the '70s and early '80s, 'holiday slashers' were all the rage and creaming it big at the box office. Black Christmas in 1974, Halloween in '78, Christmas Evil in 1980 and Silent Night, Deadly Night in '84. The producers of this week's infamous slasher wanted to pop a celebratory balloon and needed a public holiday not yet seen in a horror. As the Easter Bunny isn't usually considered terrifying, they instead settled on Valentine's Day, and thus My Bloody Valentine was born!
The original came out in 1981 and is considered a seminal cornerstone of the slasher genre, even touted by Quentin Tarantino as his favourite slasher of all time. Impressive credentials indeed. So what ingredients does it ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: We dare you to take another Wrong Turn
Posted on Wednesday 11th October 2017
You only need to be in one place on Friday the 13th, and that's here on Horror, where all things unlucky come to life in the most horrifying of ways! This week we're upping the fun quota with the last installment of one of the most popular cannibal franchises of recent years. It started in 2003 with Wrong Turn and the creation of those three memorable brothers; One Eye, Three Finger and Saw Tooth. What a gene pool that family's blessed with! It was the combination of such solid characters, the wild woodland location of the West Virginia Mountains, and an abundance of hot young flesh on offer that led to a lucrative franchise that's now 6 movies strong. Following the original film, it was FrightFest regular and all ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror celebrates the King in October
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
Stephen King fever is everywhere right now, and with the icon turning 70 last month, it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. This summer's IT reboot caused cinematic shock waves on a global scale, and the recent Gerald's Game is being touted as one of the must-see horrors of the year by the critics.
Let's be honest; the King movie adaptation has always been fraught with controversy, from both fans, critics, and even the man himself. While Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered by many to be one of the best King adaptations (and indeed the best horror film of all time!), King himself publicly criticised the film, writing and producing "Stephen King's The Shining"; a TV mini-series in 1997 ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A pre-Matrix Keanu comes to Horror...
Posted on Friday 22nd September 2017
Back in 1995, the year 2021 seemed thankfully such a long way off. As the millennium dawned ever closer and prophecies of doom and demise were thrown around we reacted the only way we know how. With movies! The 90's saw a slew of paranoia fueled films exploring the increasing interfacing of humans with information technology, as for the first time in history the internet came to define and control our lives. The Lawnmower Man ('92), Hackers ('95), Strange Days ('95), Existenz ('99), and of course the daddy of the cyberpunk bunch - The Matrix ('99). But surely there was nothing to truly worry about, right? The Future's not here yet?! Well, according to our dystopian thriller on Friday, it'snow only f...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Big Ass Spiders and James Wan this weekend on Horror!
Posted on Tuesday 12th September 2017
Sometimes a good title is all you need to know exactly what you're in for; Nude Nuns with Big Guns, Lesbian Vampire Killers and now Big Ass Spider! Doing exactly what is says on the tin, our network premiere on Friday rides the current Mega Shark wave of 'bigger is better', but before you roll your eyes at this one (as I did) this is one seriously fun romp from start to finish with a fast pace, great script and brilliant comedic actors. You know you're in for a good ride from the outset as the film starts at the peak of the action, the camera pulls out revealing "Heroes" actor Greg Grunberg (who played lovable cop Matt Parkman) caught in the midst of chaos and carnage filmed in slow motion while a cover son...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: It's Violence of the Lambs this Friday!
Posted on Tuesday 5th September 2017
I am now fully recovered from five days of (on-screen) bloodshed at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 which finished last week. It was my 11th year at the festival presenting for Horror Channel since first cutting my teeth as the Horror Channel host way back in 2007. During this memorable year there was a film that really stood out from the crowd - Black Sheep - which incidentally gets its network premiere on Horror this Friday at 9pm! So I thought I'd scratch my brain cells and tell you a bit about this previous FrightFest hit.
New Zealand is known for a few things - namely Peter Jackson, an abundance of sheep, and Flight of the Conchords - and our Kiwi horror comedy this Friday has two ou...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Folk Horror gets an urban makeover...
Posted on Wednesday 16th August 2017
The term 'Folk Horror' has become widely used in Horror academia to describe usually British films that dabble in all things pagan and witchy. With a strong connection to our pagan routes, 'Folk Horror' was popularised by countless Hammer Horror and Tigon films in the '60s and '70s with The Witches (1966), Witchfinder General (1968), and The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971), although arguably the most iconic of the sub-genre is The Wicker Man made in 1973, which is now a beacon of worship in its own right!
With the death of hippie culture there was a hiatus within the subgenre in the '80s and '90s, however there has since seen a resurgence, specifically with the critically acclaimed The Witch in 2015; a ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog Archive: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 PICK OF THE WEEK
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