PHANTASM: LORD OF THE DEAD
In Phantasm III, Don Coscarelli serves up an impressive array of wild ideas. He goes some way towards giving a grand explanation and rationalisation for everything that has happened so far showing us the origin of the spheres (cultivated from shrunken human brains), the creation of the dwarves, the revelation that the Tall Man is part of an other-dimensional alien invasion and the intriguing explanation of the reasons why the Tall Man so obsessively comes after Mike that Mike is one of the Tall Mans kind. There is also the addition of the character of a kid (Keith Connors) who lives in a house that seems a combination of the one in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and the house of pop-up traps in Wes Cravens The People Under the Stairs (1991) and comes filled with hidey-holes, razor-tipped frisbees and deadly laughing clown dolls.
What Phantasm III lacks however is the same funereal, midnight atmosphere and surrealist wildness of the original or Phantasm II. This film takes place with a good many more daylight scenes and is rooted in more of a realism than the original, which gave the impression of taking place in a separate world of its own. The addition of cackling zombies takes it disappointingly into the realm of 1980s popcorn horror there is a very silly scene with a zombie giving a blowjob. This film is also clearly much more lower budgeted the puppet effects with the disembodied hands are very mediocre.
Don Coscarelli also reunites most of the original cast, including Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister who have been the mainstays of the Phantasm series. He also brings back Mike Baldwin who played the teenage Mike in the first film but was replaced in the second by James Le Gros upon studio insistence, as well as Bill Thornbury who played the murdered brother Jody in the original. Reggie Bannister, as always, brings his amiable, working man presence. Alas, the embarrassing comic relief scenes with him trying to get laid by Gloria Lynn Henry stretch his limited acting skills. Despite bringing back Mike Baldwin, Coscarelli disappointingly keeps him off-screen for two-thirds of the running time.