Phantasm (1979)

Phantasm was a low-budget independent horror film from 1979 that had a second life on VHS in the eighties. It’s now been restored by Arrow Video.

161015 Phantasm
Don Coscarelli (right) giving a Q&A at the UK premiere of the restoration of Phantasm at the London Film Festival

J J Abrams loved it as a teenager. Recently he got in touch with the director Don Coscarelli and arranged to get it restored. He did this by stealing the odd hour or two at a time in the lab when they should have been working on Star Wars! Tonight it was shown in its restored glory at the London Film Festival.

And what a strange and fun film it is! Dead relatives turned into growling zombie dwarfs. Swift floating silver spheres with protruding knives. A guitar playing ice-cream man saving the day. The director acknowledged influences from Invaders From Mars and Suspiria, (and I think Carnival of Souls played its part) it makes no logical sense.

It was great fun and the audience of adoring fans loved it.

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