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


With “Phantasm Week” flying high, it’s time to take a look at the fourth installment in the “silver ball” series..regretfully. Welcome back.


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For the most part, horror franchise are truly an interesting endeavor. While some installments are the reason the series even resonates, others are better left forgotten. Like wasting money on a night of strip clubbing and boozing, it’s often best forgetting about the experience as quickly as possible.

Sadly, 1998’s fourth Phantasm outing, Phantasm IV: Oblivion, is the quintessential example of this. This film is so bad, I wish the “Men in Black” guys were real so they could erase my memory with that incredible device – it’s that bad.

Related Story: ‘Phantasm: Ravager’ Trailer More Perfect Than Sphere

So let’s stop playing around, even with those awesome shiny flying spheres, as I take a look at Phantasm IV: Oblivion. Silver ball buffs…this isn’t going to be pretty.


Don Coscarelli’s ‘Phantasm IV: Oblivion’ – Courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment

It’s no secret, Don Coscarelli is a man of many talents. Creator of Phantasm, who wrote and directed every installment in the legendary franchise (sans Ravager), and filmmaker behind the immortal Bubba Ho-Tep. A man of creative genius, Coscarelli gave us the “Tall Man”, Reggie the “ice cream man”, and the magically macabre concepts of Phantasm. Only, in Oblivion, Coscarelli incredibly drops the ball (I love me some puns).

Take great care how you play, the final game now begins.- The “Tall Man”

For starters, there is absolutely no real narrative in Oblivion. Establishing 2-3 stories at once, if you dare call them “stories”, Writer/Director Coscarelli spends more time worrying about unnecessary mythology building – narrative takes backseat in the ’71 Cuda. While adding to series mythology can be done properly through plotting, enhancing a given franchise along the way, it’s simply done wrong in Oblivion.

Moreover, there’s simply too much “Tall Man” in Oblivion. Sure, it’s great to see the underrated Angus Scrimm act more, but his appearance in the film is overbearing. Giving an empathetic side, Dr. Jebediah Morningside, to the “Tall Man” character is a mistake.

Which is sad, because lesser writers, when handling sequels, will expand upon villain mythology while forgetting protagonist development. Don, I love ya, but you truly messed up here.

Furthermore, there’s the added footage from the original film. It’s no secret, Coscarelli had a lot of footage to work with while piecing together his 1979 classic, Phantasm. So, while it’s cool to see footage we’ve never seen from the cutting room floor of the original, Oblivion often feels more like a cheap fan film than official fear feature.

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

Simply put. Oblivion is a tarnished film that could have benefited from some polishing. Guys, this one is in “worst sequel in horror history” contention.


Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm IV: Oblivion is a piece of garbage. Exchanging narrative for unnecessary villain exposition, Oblivion is truly a film corrupting the greatness which came before it. I gave the film a chance, but I’m still correct having not see the film in years – Phantasm IV: Oblivion is better left not flying. Here’s praying Ravager is better.


Check out a preview of Phantasm V: Ravager, courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment:

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