• Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: September 18th, 2018.
    Director: Don Coscarelli
    Cast: Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury
    Year: 1994
    Purchase From Amazon

    Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead – Movie Review:

    The third film in Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm series continues where the second one left off. Reggie and Mike (Michael Baldwin reprising the role once more) are still living on the road, cruising down one long and lonely highway after the other in Reggie’s Cuda in search of the Tall Man and in hopes of putting a stop to him once and for all.

    Our heroes are able to follow his trail pretty easily, as he leaves rather large calling cards in his wake, namely complete and utter destruction. The towns he has made his way through are nothing more than empty husks, ghost towns even, and not a single living soul is left save for one small boy living alone in the house where he and his parents once lived before the Tall Man took them from him. Much like Mike in the first film, this tough little guy knows how to fend for himself and he too wants to make the Tall Man pay for what he did. Throw a sassy black lady named Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry who pops up briefly in The Devil’s Advocate) with a penchant for beating her opponents into submission with her nunchaku and you’ve got yourself quite a team.

    This time out, Coscarelli concentrates as much on the horror as he does on the action and the results are a stronger storyline that continues more along the lines of the tradition setup in the first movie than in the second. There’s still plenty of action in here and more than a few characters who show up to serve as nothing more than cannon fodder for the Tall Man and his spheres. The last half of the film and the abundance of supernatural elements bring this one to a much more surreal playing field than the second movie and it falls somewhere in between the first and the second film in terms of quality and in terms of scares.

    Plenty of gore and make up effects keep things interesting and a few atmospheric touches, such as the kid in the clown mask roaming the secret passage ways of his empty home guarding it from intruders, make this an interesting watch. Bannister is in fine form here, bringing a bit more personality to his character and giving us a bit more character development to chew on as the movie plays out. Another ‘Reggie Bannister Love Scene’ (a film phenomena equaled only by the patented ‘Don The Dragon’ Wilson Love Scene’) adds some humor which he handles well but he’s also quite at home in the action scenes here. Bringing Michael Baldwin back to support him was a wise casting choice – he’s the real Mike in the Phantasm films and having him back in the role he made only helps the film in the end.

    Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead – Blu-ray Review:

    Phantasm III arrives on Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the feature taking up over 20GBs of that space. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer is framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and it looks good. Colors are really nicely reproduced here, they look really strong and black levels are quite good here as well. Flesh tones look nice, there’s solid detail here, good depth and texture as well. The image is also very clean, there’s really no print damage here to note at all. The image is also free of compression issues or any noticeable edge enhancement.

    Audio options are presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with removable subtitles provided in English only. The 5.1 mix is a good one, with some nice surround action evident during the action set pieces in the picture. Dialogue stays clean and clear and easy to follow and there are no issues with any hiss or distortion. It’s a shame that the stereo mix wasn’t given a lossless option but it’s here for those who want it in DVD quality.

    Extras start off with a commentary track with Coscarelli and editor Norman Buckley. It’s a bit more technical than the other tracks on the set but still quite interesting. Coscarelli has more to say than his counterpart, as he talks about the storyline, reuniting with the key cast members and what they tried to do differently this time around but Buckley chimes in when he needs to and shares some insight into his process.

    The third film also gets a nine-minute Behind The Scenes featurette that shows off Coscarelli and company at work on the picture. We get a look at what it was like on set here. It’s tape sourced and not in the best of shape but it’s interesting to see.

    Rounding out the extras is a trailer for the feature, a single eleven-second deleted scene, and bonus trailers for Gonjiam Haunted Asylum, The Endless and Afraid. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead – The Final Word:

    Not on par with the first classic picture, Phantasm III is still a pretty worth sequel – just as good as the second film in many ways, with Coscarelli balancing horror and action nicely. Bannister and Scrimm are as fun here as they always are in the roles and bringing Michael Baldwin was a wise choice. The Blu-ray release from Well Go USA looks and sounds quite good and it’s got some decent extra features on it as well. If you don’t already have the boxed set release, this is a solid way to add this one to your collection.

    Click on the images below for full sized Phantasm III: Lord Of The Dead Blu-ray screen caps!