One Of The Freakiest R-Rated Sci-Fi Horror Mindwarp Nightmares Of The 1970s Is On Streaming Right Now

By Matthew Flynn | Published

Streaming platforms have recently become a treasure trove of semi-forgotten and obscure genre classics. One such movie that is not to be missed is the low-budget horror movie, Phantasm.

Phantasm Is A Cult Classic

Phantasm, directed by Don Coscarelli in 1979, is well known among horror aficionados but is deserving of an even wider audience. This film plot revolves around two brothers, Michael and Jody, and their friend, Reggie. Their peaceful existence is disrupted by the sinister Tall Man, operator of the local mortuary, who appears to have a macabre connection with the recently deceased. Michael stumbles upon these chilling activities, leading him down a dangerous path. However, his attempts to articulate this horrific reality face skepticism from the adults in his environment.

When Childrens’ Fears Are Dismissed

One of the underlying themes of Phantasm is the struggle of children trying to articulate their fears to adults. This is exemplified by Michael’s endeavors to convince the grown-ups about the Tall Man’s sinister dealings. Adults in the movie are largely dismissive of Michael’s fears, relegating them to childish imagination.

This theme resonates with a similar theme presented in the novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Both narratives delve into the challenges children face when their fears are dismissed by the adult world. In fact, Coscarelli had originally wanted to make a movie adaptation of the novel but its rights had already been purchased, so he did his own twist by incorporating similar themes into Phantasm.

Filmed On A Low Budget


As for the production, Phantasm was created on a low budget. There was no accountant on set, but it was rumored to have only cost $300,000, with Don Coscarelli getting the majority of the money on loan from his father who was credited as a producer. Despite this constraint, the team managed to pull off an engaging horror flick that spawned a franchise and went on to become a cult classic. The movie was largely filmed over weekends, demonstrating the crew’s dedication and passion for the project.

Don Coscarelli Other Work

Coscarelli, the director of Phantasm, went on to co-write and direct Beastmaster , which became another successful franchise. Later he directed Bubba Ho-Tep, John Dies at the End, and a series of Phantasm sequels. He won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Screenplay for Bubba Ho-Tep and was inducted into the Fangoria Horror Hall of Fame in 2004.

Phantasm’s Legacy

Phantasm left a significant mark on various forms of media. It was the inspiration behind Captain Phasma’s name in Star Wars. Other noted works such as Supernatural, Nightmare on Elm Street, One Dark Night, and the internet-based character Slender Man all recognize Phantasm as a source of influence.

The original film, Phantasm, was followed by four sequels: Phantasm II, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead, Phantasm IV: Oblivion, and most recently, 2016’s Phantasm: Ravager. In addition to sequels, Phantasm has been featured in various forms of media, including comic book adaptations and documentaries.

See for yourself why Phantasm has had such a lasting impact despite its shoestring budget. The movie is streaming on the Roku Channel, Tubi, Kanopy, Pluto TV, and Freevee.

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