Phantasm Collection, The (Blu-ray)

Phantasm CollectionStarring Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, The ‘Cuda

Directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm – Phantasm IV: Oblivion), David Hartman (Phantasm Ravager)

Distributed by Well Go USA


Beginning in 1979 Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrim, A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and Reggie Bannister would take us on a horrific journey that spanned decades. To say the ride was wild, albeit a bit bumpy here and there, is an understatement. Phantasm was born, and its phans ate it up. Given that there have been five films in the franchise, there’s a lot to chew on here too. Some tasty, some rotten, and some truly bittersweet.

Since the majority of these movies have been around for what feels like forever, the focus of this review will not be on the films themselves as you’ve no doubt consumed each of them countless times by now. You know full well the ups and downs the franchise has had, so there’s not much need to reiterate. Instead we’re going to focus on the box set itself, which was lovingly put together by Well Go USA.

So, how did they do in a world of Scream Factory and Arrow releases? Let’s start with the box itself.

The box is sturdy and classy looking with a black finish and foil-accented artwork, and the Blu-ray wraps themselves can be reversed to either match the black or show off the original artwork. Though reversible, the paper stock feels a bit on the flimsy side; and so do the Blu-ray cases, which feel strangely thin and fragile. I wouldn’t imagine it’d be wise to treat these assets with kid gloves, but if you’re shelling out the dough, you’re either a collector or a huge phan, both of whom I would expect to treat this packaging with the necessary respect to ensure its longevity.

The box contains Phantasm Remastered (1979), Phantasm II (1988), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998), most recent installment Phantasm: Ravager (2016), and a sixth disc of nothing but bonus features, as well as Phantasm Compendium – a 120-page book featuring exclusive interviews and rare, behind-the-scenes photos chronicling the history and impact of the franchise, plus a 21” x 27” reversible poster – one side has the box set artwork, the other the Phantasm artwork – for good measure.

Phantasm Remastered and Phantasm: Ravager retain all of the bells and whistles contained on their initial 2016 releases (click the above links for reviews), and Phantasm II retains all of the extras found on the previous Scream Factory release, so if you have these already and want to make room for this box set, you can get rid of them at your leisure without fear of losing anything.

New to Blu-ray are Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead and Phantasm IV: Oblivion. Aside from a couple of things noted below, there’s no other  bits of supplemental material for either of these films that hasn’t already appeared on previous domestic or international DVD or Blu-ray releases. In terms of picture quality and sound for each release, Phantasm III is a bit messy during the darker scenes with a bit more film grain than you’d expect, but the print is clean, sharp, and clear during the daytime moments.  Phantasm Oblivion is pretty much the same deal. Neither print here is going to look as good as that of the original, which was completely remastered thanks to a keen interest from J.J. Abrams. Part II and of course Ravager (thanks to its newness) are close, but it’s plain to see that III and IV are easily the films that got the least amount of care here. Not bad, by any means, but far from the above and beyond effort put into the original, and I’m more than okay with that.

The sixth bonus disc really shines. It’s home to over 4 hours of goodies including a comic recap of the first 4 films leading up to Hartman’s Phantasm: Ravager, multiple panel discussions from various conventions, a vintage Fango TV commercial, the masterful Phantasmagoria documentary, and tons more. We’re not done there though… you’ve also got some good old fashioned reading to do!

At 120 pages long, Ben Yip’s Phantasm Compendium is a far cry from Dustin McNeill’s masterful Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion, but for a Blu-ray box set it’s completely serviceable. With a foreword by Don Coscarelli, the compendium is full of interviews with all the main players and more. There’s even a section on the Hemi-Cuda and rightly so! Yes, for those of you inquiring, there’s a bit of Phantasm VI news to be found here as well, and all in all this really rounds out the package nicely!

If you’re a fan of the series, warts and all, this is nothing short of a must-buy package for you and for completists. Casual phans may just want to get their favorites and move on, and we simply cannot fault you for doing so. At the end of the day, Well Go USA has done a great job of offering the series the respect and fan service it was in dire need of. No ball is left unlaunched! Good show!

Disc 1: PHANTASM

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Don Coscarelli and Stars Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, and Bill Thornbury
  • Graveyard Carz
  • Interviews with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cast Interviews – Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball
  • PHANTASM Behind-the-Scenes Home Movies with Commentary by Don Coscarelli and Reggie Bannister
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Angus Scrimm Introduction
  • Fangoria TV Spot
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

Disc 2: PHANTASM II

  • Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli, actors Angus Scrimm and Reggie Banister
  • The Ball Is Back documentary on the making of PHANTASM II
  • The Gory Days – Interview with Special Make-up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Workprint Scenes
  • TV Spots
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Still Galleries

Disc 3: PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD

  • Audio Commentary with Stars A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm
  • Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli and Editor Norman Buckley
  • It’s Never Over: The Making of Phantasm III (New)
  • Phantasm III: Behind-the-Scenes
  • Balls of Steel: Bob Ivy’s Stunt for the Ages – The Phantasm III Car Stunt
  • Deleted Scene
  • Radio Spot
  • Still Gallery
  • Trailer

Disc 4: PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION

  • Audio Commentary with Director Don Coscarelli and Actors Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm
  • Death Is No Escape: The Making of Phantasm IV (New)
  • Phantasm IV: Behind the Scenes
  • Phantasm Sequels: Conceptual Art Gallery by Justin Zaharczuk (New)
  • Still Gallery
  • Trailer

Disc 5: PHANTASM V: RAVAGER

  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director David Hartman and Co-Writer/Producer Don Coscarelli
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Disc 6: BONUS DISC

  • Phantasmagoria: Documentary Featuring Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Phantasm and You
  • Flashback Weekend Chicago Convention Panel Discussion (2008 & 2014)
  • Flashback Weekend Concert Performance by Kat Lester
  • Fantastic Fest Q&A (2016)
  • Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour with Your Host Reggie Bannister
  • Phantasm Genesis
  • Phandom
  • Fangoria TV Commercial with Angus Scrimm
  • Angus Scrimm 1989 Convention Appearance

BUY IT NOW!

  • Phantasm
  • Phantasm II
  • Phantasm III
  • Phantasm: Oblivion
  • Phantasm: Ravager
  • Special Features
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User Rating 3.18 (11 votes)

By Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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