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Phantasm II

Director: Don Coscarelli
Cast: Reggie Bannister, James LeGros, Angus Scrimm
Running time: 92 minutes
Rating: R

Story: The Tall Man, whom survivors of the first ordeal thought was gone, is back for more. A young woman with a psychic link with the now grown Mike Pearson joins them on their journey to stop the Tall Man before it's too late.

Review: The original 'Phantasm' was one of the most bizarre and original horror films of the 1970s, so it was no surprise when it was announced that a sequel was on it's way. Nearly a decade later the first of three, hopefully more, sequels was released to the multiplexes for fans to return to the dark world of Angus Scrimm's Tall Man and cheer the heroes on in their quest to stop him. Unfortunately it didn't do terribly well at the box office and it would be years before another sequel came.

But don't let that turn you away. Though not as good as the first film, this is more than a worthy sequel. It's got just about everything a horror buff could want in a sequel. It's even better than it's competition, which included 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 4' and 'Friday the 13th part VII.' Not only that, but it expands on the universe seen in the original a bit and ups the action and amount of the Tall Man's minions.

Yes it does have some of the trademarks of a first sequel, but it's no letdown. First off, the performances from the cast, new and returns members, are quite good. This includes newcomer James LeGros who takes over for A. Michael Baldwin in the role of Mike. The score, a kind of updated version of the original's, is pretty cool. The main theme is louder and faster and it works. Due to the low budget, there weren't too many big effects in the first film, but there's some really good stuff here.

As in the original, there's some good scary moments and images that'll make you afraid to be in the dark. Speaking of things that are scary, the Tall Man gets a bit more exposure this time and he's just as evil and creepy as ever. As I mentioned earlier, we do get to see a little more into the villain's plan and process. From beginning to end the pace moves along. Not only that, but it's pretty action packed, especially in the last 20+ minutes. And there's also a bit of humor, which is kind of refreshing after the seriousness of the original.

Not much to really complain about here, just a couple things that hurt the film a little. First of all, like the first film there's not much in this one that makes sense. And why did they have to copy the last frame of part 1 at the end of this sequel? Maybe it's just me, but that feels cheap to me. But neither of these things ruin the movie. As it is, it's a very entertaining horror film and pleasing sequel that fortunately leaves the door open for more.

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