• Phantasm IV: Oblivion (Well Go USA) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Well Go USA
    Released on: September 18th, 2018.
    Director: Don Coscarelli
    Cast: Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Heidi Marnhout, Bob Ivy
    Year: 1998
    Purchase From Amazon

    Phantasm IV: Oblivion – Movie Review:

    The fourth film in the series is the strongest of the four sequels in the series – it’s also the one made with the lowest budget, and much like how the first film was made with a miniscule amount of cash, it demonstrates Coscarelli’s knack for turning in films that look a whole lot more expensive than they actually were.

    This time out, the tables have been turned in Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and Reggie’s (Reggie Bannister) battle against evil. The Tall Man goes on the offensive and starts haunting Mike. Not wanting to be taken down for the count, Mike starts digging around and trying to uncover the origins of the Tall Man in hopes that it will help him find a way to stop him and also unravel the truth behind his brother’s death those many years ago. Mike’s not going this one alone, however, as Reggie is trying to find him, hoping to help him out. Reggie being Reggie and all, he stops to pick up a hot girl he finds along the way named Jennifer (Heidi Marnhout who would later show up in Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho Tep).

    The weirdness is turned up a few notches in this one. Coscarelli shoots most of the movie out in the middle of the desert but also manages to work in a lot of footage that was shot for the original movie - but never used - into the fourth installment of the story. While this might sound like a cheap way to use up some left overs, it actually works in the film’s favor. This footage adds to the already ‘out there’ narrative as we delve a little deeper into who the Tall Man is, what makes him tick, and why he seems to be so obsessed with Mike throughout the saga. Seeing as the Tall Man is essentially chasing Mike through a couple of different dimensions and the film hops around accordingly, the differing tones and atmosphere that Coscarelli conjures up as the story plays out somehow manage to work. You’d think technically they should stand out the same way that the added scenes did in the abomination that was the Night Of The Living Dead 30th Anniversary Edition, but thankfully that doesn’t happen here.

    Of course, the movie leaves us with enough lose ends that a fifth film wouldn’t be too far of a stretch – and it did, when Phantasm: Ravager came out a few years ago. Even with the unfinished business remaining, oddly enough, unfinished at the time it was completed, the fourth chapter does do a good job of giving us some much needed background information on the Tall Man and it gives Scrimm a chance to really strut his stuff. Bannister takes the back seat and lets Baldwin and Scrimm drive the film this time around, and the results are pretty satisfactory. Keep in mind that this one won’t make a lick of sense if you haven’t seen the three films that came before, but fans of the series should find plenty to enjoy with the fourth film.

    Phantasm IV: Oblivion – Blu-ray Review:

    Phantasm IV arrives on Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the feature taking up over 19GBs 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 – and it comes in handy when the car is used, that engine sounds nice and rumbly. 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.

    Don Coscarelli returns for a commentary here as well, joined by Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister. Par for the course, it’s fast, funny and interesting. There’s some good character explanation and bits and pieces that fill in some of the blanks here, mostly courtesy of Coscarelli, and they discuss not only the making of the movie but also some of the continuity of the series as well.

    There’s also a behind the scenes featurette that runs ten-minutes. There’s a lot of interesting footage included in this piece but it’s all presented very much ‘fly on the wall’ style without a whole lot of context. Regardless, the VHS sourced material is worth checking out if you want to get a feel for what it was like on set during the shoot.

    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 IV: Oblivion – The Final Word:

    Phantasm IV: Oblivion is a strong entry in the franchise that does a fine job of carrying on the legacy of horror and weirdness that its three predecessors laid down in the first place. Well Go USA’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds quite good and features some decent extras as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Phantasm IV: Oblivion Blu-ray screen caps!