If you love horror films, in all likelihood you’re a fan of Phantasm. Along with Suspiria, it’s one of the most unique horror flicks ever made, and it’s still great fun to watch after all these years.
Obviously, Phantasm wasn’t all Don Coscarelli had in him. In fact, his 1982 sword and sorcery flick The Beastmaster developed a big following on cable, and Bubba Ho-Tep, where Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead played Elvis, is also a classic fave among horror fans.
Now Coscarelli’s latest film, John Dies at the End, will be playing the Sundance Film Festival in January as a midnight movie.
As TG Daily previously reported, the story is set within the framework of an interview given by David Wong to a reporter regarding the effects of an enigmatic street drug known as Soy Sauce. The drug has an interesting side-effect of giving users a sort of prescience, while making them dangerously paranoid and causing hallucinations.
Interestingly enough, the drug also seems to make users fly through time and dimensions, which is also a bit like one of the crazy plot points of Phantasm, where people were shrunken down into dwarf size so they can serve as the Tall Man’s slaves in another dimension. John Dies includes the talented Paul Giamatti in the cast, as well as Angus Scrimm, the Tall Man himself.
Funny enough, the Phantasm dwarves always resembled similar hooded characters in a little known space epic called Star Wars. When Coscarelli was asked about this at a Fangoria convention years ago, he said: “George Lucas stole it from us! (Laughs) No, truthfully what happened was we were filming the movie, and we shot for about three months. Then somebody came in and said, ‘Oh, we saw a trailer for a movie called Star Wars and your little guys are in it!’
“So we went and saw the trailer, and thought about changing the color of their robes, but it was just too much of a hassle on a small budget movie. So we just decided, ‘Ah, that movie will come and go, and we’ll just go ahead with this.’”
The famous Phantasm weapon of the flying silver sphere was also originally going to have a hypodermic needle sticking out of it, which would drain its victims, but again, after seeing a similar flying ball with a needle in it in the Star Wars trailer, the Phantasm gang felt they had no choice but to ditch the needle.