PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD (1994) Reviews and overview

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Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead – aka Phantasm III – is a 1994 supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Don Coscarelli. The movie stars Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister and A. Michael Baldwin.

Immediately after his apparent demise at the end of Phantasm II, a new Tall Man emerges from a dimensional portal. At the same time, the hearse that carries Liz and Mike explodes. Reggie finds Liz dead but saves Mike from the Tall Man by threatening to kill them all with a grenade. The Tall Man retreats with Liz’s body and threatens to return for Mike when he’s well again.

After Mike spends two years comatose in the hospital, he has a near-death experience in which his dead brother Jody and the Tall Man appear. As he wakes from his coma, he is attacked by a demonic nurse, but Reggie appears and helps him to fight her off.

Back at home, the Tall Man arrives via dimensional fork, fights off Reggie, transforms Jody into a charred sphere, and draws Mike through the gate with him…



“The film struggles at times to knit together the increasingly dense Phantasm mythology, though it does offer some decent special effects and a couple of fun kill scenes involving the always lethal silver spheres.”

“It certainly is a trip. Logic need not apply, there is no need to search for an explanation, just accept that it happened and move on. It is brilliant in a way, there are lots of pieces and plenty of ways to try and put them together, figure it out yourself or just accept and move on.” Critical Outcast

“The action scenes are handled well, and the more dialogue heavy moments are watchable. It’s unfortunate that Coscarelli had so many ideas he wanted to present in a 90-minute moment, never fully giving these elements enough time to develop. Still, it’s a confident effort and you can tell Coscarelli knew where he wanted the story to go both visually and textually.” Full Moon Reviews

“Most fans consider it the worst sequel, but I actually think Phantasm III is the best followup to the (unmatched) original. After watching all four back to back, it seems that III, while not without its problems, is the one that Coscarelli had the best of both worlds: the resources of II and the freedom to do what he wanted in IV.” Horror Movie a Day

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“In Phantasm III, the events on screen are nothing more than an excuse to trot out special effects of amputations, decapitations, lobotomies, and the like involving the no-familiar Tall Man and the flying chrome softballs. For better or worse, the gory stuff is played strictly for laughs.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide: The Ultimate Frightfest of Movies

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“A. Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury are both back, and the film starts off well, but soon things starts to feel a bit laboured, and third time around for many of the same ideas and setups is perhaps one too many.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

” …the film maker, Don Coscarelli, cares less about the plot making sense, and more about putting together a series of scenes with images that he thinks will be entertaining. He does a good job of this. His scenes taken on their own are fun to watch, so in that sense it’s a watchable movie. It’s the stringing together of the scenes that needs help.” Zombierama

Cast and characters:

Angus Scrimm … The Tall Man

A. Michael Baldwin … Mike Pearson
Reggie Bannister … Reggie
Bill Thornbury … Jody Pearson
Kevin Connors … Tim
Gloria Lynne Henry … Rocky
Cindy Ambuehl … Edna
Brooks Gardner … Rufus
John Davis Chandler … Henry
Claire Benedek … Tim’s mother
Sarah Scott Davis … Tanesha

Filming locations:

Compton, Long Beach, Los Padres National Forest, North Hollywood, Santa Clarita, Santa Paula, California


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