PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION - 1998
Silver Sphere Corporation / Orion Home Video / Warner Brothers
Rating: USA: R
Some movies induce good or even better sequels at first, then go swirling down the
drain. ALIEN and ALIENS were two great movies, but 3 and 4 stank. HELLRAISER and HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER 2 were good
movies, but again, 3 and 4 stank. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series was
simply Good, Bad, Good, Okay, Crap, Crappity, Crap, Not bad!
If you've never seen any of the PHANTASM movies, then shame on you! Go out and see PHANTASM, PHANTASM
II, and, only if you've been really good, go and see PHANTASM
III. Ignore PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION.
Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM [all], BEAST MASTER, SURVIVAL QUEST) has never been the best writer, but what he lacked in storytelling ability, he more than made up for in vision and cinematography. I mean PHANTASM! WOW!
from many die hard fans of the series that PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION was so bad it hurt their fond memories of the
other three. That's sad. On the other hand, there have been a few fans
who swear that this is the absolute best PHANTASM ever, that the rest of us don't understand it, because
we aren't "True Phantasm Phans"! I have asked two of them* to explain to me what it was I didn't understand. One gave me the ignorance disguised as genius remark:
"If you can't understand it, then I won't be able to explain it to you."
Which is another way of saying
"I am unable to explain it myself."
I'm pretty sure that if I can understand physics, genetics, and the Upanishads, then
I can understand a lack-luster flick like PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION.
obvious here is that Don Coscarelli didn't have a story to tell, but he
did have the money to spend. So he brought together the old crew and threw
us a bone by adding a bunch of old never-before-seen footage from PHANTASM
and topped it all off by introducing a few ideas that he didn't know how
to end. To be very very forgiving, call it a transitional movie, one that
takes you from PHANTASM III to PHANTASM V.
It didn't have to be that way, but Coscarelli couldn't think of anything
better. Considering the fact that he created this world in the first place,
it's a shame that he did 4. Sort of like Ira Levin ruining ROSEMARY'S
BABY with ROSEMARY'S SON (which has its Levin-can-do-no-wrong
fans too), Ugh!
FEO AMANTE & REGGIE BANNISTER AT THE SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON
This movie does have its moments of course, and all those center around Reggie (Reggie
Bannister: PHANTASM [all], WISHMASTER - Visit the Reggie photo Gallery). The Demon Cop (Bob Ivy: stunt
car driver for PHANTASM III) scene is the best in the flick. Fanwise,
Reggie is the favorite character in the series after The Tall Man (Angus
Scrimm: SWEET KILL [as Rory Guy], PHANTASM [all], SUBSPECIES, WISHMASTER), Reggie not only provides much needed humor and
humanity to the flick, but his personal problems reflect our own. Reggie
isn't worried about saving the world, he cannot conceive of saving the
world; he just wants to get through the terrors of the Tall Man in one
piece with his skin, and his friend's skin, intact: and maybe find some
love in his life. Let other fans imagine themselves the super surrealistic
heroes and villians; I identify with Reggie.
For PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION, there is no story and no movie and if the fans
want PHANTASM V^ to be any good, then
they need to knock off their pathetic "More Phantasm Phan than thou!"
attitude and demand better.
There is a reason this one went "direct to video" and
is for "completists" only.
copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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The other launched into a rambling babble that
forced me to see the movie again. I realized that his "explanation" had far
more to do with what he was wanted to see than anything
shown on the screen. I both understand and appreciate the fact that PHANTASM lives on in this
person's mind beyond the films themselves. That's all well and good and
Don Coscarelli even allowed a few horror writer's / phans to publish
(with his authorization) an anthology called PHANTASM: Excursions Into Oblivion.
But you don't rate a movie on what you wish it was about.
You see it for what it is, and I'm hoping that the next one is
a whole lot better.
According to the Official PHANTASM site, Work began on PHANTASM 1999 in August.
The plotline is laid out at the site and it sounds like a really
good one. I'm really hoping that PHANTASM V can save the lost wandering of 4, much in the same
way that HELLRAISER II completed HELLRAISER.
As of April 4, 2000, the PHANTASM folks are still seeking backing and PHANTASM V may well be pushed forward to 2002. In any case, all Fans of this series
should go to the PHANTASM site and
let their voices be heard. I'd hate to see this series end on 4.
UPDATE: AUGUST 2007
PHANTASM V is now in pre-production and slated for a 2009 release.
UPDATE: JUNE 2009
After over 10 years of false starts, PHANTASM V is dead again.