‘Phantasm’: Third Ball The Best Or Worst Series Sphere?


After the amazing 1979 original, and it’s stellar 1988 sequel, Don Coscarelli’s ‘Phantasm’ series returns with 1994’s ‘Lord of the Dead.’ The ball is back yet again. Welcome back to “Phantasm Week.”

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The ’90s were a landfill for horror. Until 1996’s Scream came screeching into theaters, the general public thought horror died with cocaine rails and Reagonomics.. Hell, the Oscars wouldn’t even refer to Johnathan Demme’s classic, The Silence of the Lambs, as horror – make no mistake, that film is horror.

Sure, we had Craven’s underrated masterpiece New Nightmare. On top of that, 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell polarized audiences. But other than that, there were many years of “dead” horror.

And one of the films in the ’90s “dead” era is 1994’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead. Independent in nature, the film flying under the radar like a sphere is an understatement. So let’s stop the ’90s horror talk, and get these spheres flying. You’d also be good to hit up ole Reggie for some ice cream before as well.


Don Coscarelli’s ‘Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead’- Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment

Directed by Don Coscarelli, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead is like a female’s purse; truly a mixed bag. While there’re many maniacal moments as solid as a shiny silver ball here, others are more square than circle. So let’s get to the best parts, shall we…BOOOOOYYYY!

You don’t wanna go where I’m going. Hell, I don’t wanna go there either.-Reggie

For starters, the best parts of Lord of the Dead open and close the film. Starting immediately after the events of 1988’s Phantasm II, the beginning of Part III is all set-up for the main narrative. While this plot mechanism stretches farther than II’s set-up, we do get a lot of Mike and the “Tall Man” in the beginning.

Then there’s the tail end of the film. After a long stretch without Mike and the “Tall Man”,  the two are intertwined with Reggie, Jody, and newer characters. It’s here, much like the beginning of the film, where Lord of the Dead feels most “Phantasm”.

Which brings me to what doesn’t work in the film. While Director Coscarelli keeps his story pacing fast, something he perfectly implores in the first two Phantasm films, he drags down the narrative with uninteresting new characters doing ultimately uninteresting things.

Sure, we get Jody again (which was extremely welcoming), and the kid character is decent, but there’s too much that takes away from our core four characters. Although it’s great seeing Reggie doing his best Bruce Campbell, the second act could’ve been fleshed out more.

Next: ‘Phantasm’: Does Fourth Film Blow Series Into ‘Oblivion’?

Either way, Lord of the Dead is far better than Phantasm VI: Oblivion. Which is strange, seeing as there’s a lot of “Phantasm” material in the fourth outing (from what I can remember, review tomorrow). But more on that next time fright fans.


Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead is ultimately a far cry from the previous two installments. While the film offers up much for Phantasm lovers, and Reggie gets a lot of screen time, Lord of the Dead lacks in second-act action grounded in “Phantasm” mythology. Either way, it’s still one hell of a ball to watch…GET IT!?

THE GRADE: -B (extremely close to C+)

Join me tomorrow as I take a look at 1998’s Phantasm IV: Oblivion. Check out a trailer below:

Loving “Phantasm Week”? Looking forward to Ravager? Let the other silver ball buffs know what you think in the comment section below.