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MonsterVision Host Segments For

Phantasm II (1988)

If you liked the original Phantasm, then you'll love this sequel, because it has three flying silver spheres of death instead of just one.
And yes, they are just as pesky as ever, burrowing into people's backs and emerging from their mouths. The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) is also back and he has an insidious new m.o. -
stealing the souls of the dead.

The inspiration for this long awaited sequel? Well, according to Fangoria correspondent Marc Shapiro, director Don Coscarelli said: "After Silver Bullet (the Stephen King werewolf MonsterVision movie starring Gary Busey), I really wanted to get back to having control and making films on my own terms. Making Phantasm was that kind of experience for me and, since I wanted to work in the horror genre again, I decided to finally do the sequel. I went into complete solitude for weeks, and my thoughts got real bizarre. I got the idea for a scene with a severed finger when I poked my finger through a Styrofoam cup. Really weird. This film seemed to come together all by itself."

Tom, we thought you said you wanted to be in control of the film, not lose control. Anyway, Phantasm II serves up plenty of nightmarish images to satisfy the average MonsterVision ghoul - eerie black canisters that contain dwarf slave laborers, the infamous Cadillac hearse of death, and flaming crematoriums that claim screaming victims. Don't miss the phantastic terror of it all!
Phantasm II (1988)
Saturday, August 26 at 3:00 am ET/PT
*Technically, this is the morning of August 27, but don't tell Ted
Rating: TV-14-LV
Now, let's give Joe Bob the final word:
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"Phantasm II" Intro








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"I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and I've watched about 90 hours of basketball this week, but I'm taking a break for yellow goo gallore in the eighties horror classic "Phantasm II." And then we'll dip back ten years further for the great DePalma flick, The Fury.
This time of year, when there are 9,000 basketball games a week on TV, you always hear a few guys start complaining about how there's too much money spent on college basketball, and too many players get money under the table, and the NCAA is too hard on colleges that get caught PAYING players under the table, and the college basketball season interferes with academics, and how just, in general, everything's going to hell for college kids who play basketball. It seems like, the more popular the sport becomes, the WORSE education the kid gets.

This is ridiculous. We've been having the same debate for--what?--thirty years now? There's a REAL simple solution to this: Let the kids major in Basketball. Let em major in Football and Baseball, too. Let em concentrate their entire college careers on being the best athlete they can be. Instead, we act like they should be GUILTY about playing basketball. We act like they should run over to the gym, get in their practice session, then IMMEDIATELY go to the chemistry lab or the library and do the IMPORTANT STUFF.
This is horse-hockey. Why are we so EMBARRASSED that these skills are taught in college? Why aren't we PROUD that we teach these skills SO WELL that our teams win at the Olympics, that we have the best and safest equipment in the world, and the greatest environment for perfecting sports skills? I'd like to see somebody start a college that ONLY teaches athletics. Somebody who divides the curriculum into Basketball, Football, Baseball, Hockey, Golf, Tennis, Soccer, Track, Field, Swimming, Diving, Cricket, Lacrosse, Chess, Ping Pong and Curling. They should send out brochures that say, "Come to the American Sports College, where you can train like the ancient Greeks and be proud of yourself." For those who aren't talented enough to make varsity teams, or those who become injured, or those who simply don't want to compete, they could have departments of Sports Management, Weight Training, Facilities Management, Aerobics, Sports Law, Sports Journalism, Sports Broadcasting, and 19 different varieties of Coaching. But I can hear the objections now. "Wouldn't this make the kid a little unbalanced?" He's ALREADY unbalanced. He wants to be an athlete. Why is it, when somebody says he wants to play basketball for a living, everyone says, "Shouldn't you think of something more practical?" But when somebody says he wants to play the violin for a living, everyone says, "Go for it!"

And speaking of unbalanced, right now The Tall Man IS about to enter your living room, in "Phantasm II," the sequel it took Don Coscarelli nine years to make. It has three flying silver balls instead of the one in the original flick, and a severed hand instead of a levitating severed finger. Otherwise--same deal--The Tall Man is taking corpses down to his mortuary and turning em into killer midget monks. So let's take a look at those drive-in totals and get started here. We've got:
Twelve dead bodies.
Exploding house.
One four-barreled sawed-off shotgun.
Dwarf tossing.
Ten breasts. (Of course, those are SCISSORED OUT of the TNT version.)
Embalming needles plunged through various parts of various bodies.
One motor vehicle chase, with crash and burn.
Ear-lopping.
Forehead-drilling.
Wrist-hacking.
Bimbo-flinging.
Grandma-bashing.
Devil sex.
Crematorium Fu.
Flamethrower Fu.
And this movie contains the most terrifying scene I've ever witnessed--a perfectly decent 1971 Hemi Cuda flipping over, landing on its roof and bursting into flame. I cried for two hours. It's amazing what they'll let these people do for the sake of a goldang movie. A Hemi Cuda--greatest muscle car ever made--so many horses you couldn't get insurance for it. And they use it for a stupid movie stunt. That's like cutting up the Mona Lisa. You know? Or destroying the original "Poker Playing Dogs." Anyway: Four stars. Outstanding. Check it out, and we'll be here.

[fading] I just remembered. We already have a college that rejects the standards of all the private and state universities in America. A college that believes that, even if you devote your whole life to something and you never rise beyond the level of junior high assistant girls volleyball coach, you've done something TERRIFIC. It's called Julliard."


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #1

"One thing they do have in these "Phantasm" movies, is great weapons. The four-barreled shotgun, and the giant blowtorch--you gotta love that stuff. Well, if you didn't see the first "Phantasm" you might have a LITTLE bit of trouble following the story. But basically The Tall Man is this mortician who has yellow blood--the color of embalming fluid--and he goes around the countryside, robbing graves, pumping some kind of yellow fluid into the veins of the dead people, and using them somehow to strengthen his army of killer midget monks. It's kinda hard to follow. Why he blew up that house, I'm not exactly sure. But Don Coscarelli, the writer/director of these things, spared no expense on that deal. They used a real house that was scheduled for demolition anyway, because it was in the path of a new freeway. They got a Green Beret demolitions expert to rig the explosives. They used seven cameras because they could only shoot it once. And the "money shot" was the one where you see The Tall Man in the foreground, totally unmoved by the whole scene. Well, it's one thing for the character to be unmoved. It's another thing to tell that actor, Angus Scrimm, that we're gonna blow up a house behind you, but act like nothing bothers you. Just stand stock still. Don't move an eyelash. But he did it. Pretty amazing. Cause that thing had to be deafening. Just the kind of realism we're used to in the "Phantasm" series. Back to the movie.

[fading] The Tall Man--invented by Coscarelli in 1979. I think they ripped off The Tall Man in "Poltergeist 2"--remember the sinister preacher in the black suit? The Mormon guy who tries to take the little girl to The Other Side? Played by Julian Beck, and Julian was kinda doing a Tall Man. Is nothing sacred?"


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #2

"Oh my GOD, I'm still shaking from that last shot of The Tall Man suckin that little piece of yellow phlegm off the end of the embalming needle. Did we just show that? What time is it? A little after 11? Man oh man--we're getting a call Monday morning from Jesse Helms' office, I just know it. I mean, I COMMEND the TNT censors for leaving that baby in there, but good grief. Yuk. See, they sucked us in. We'd just seen the Catholic priest plunge the big knife into Grandpa's mouth, and that scene was over--and so we RELAXED. And then the little embalming needle Slurpee happened. Whew! Go ahead, back to the movie. These "Phantasms," they keep you off balance. Roll it.

[fading] That was Stacey Travis in that scene, wasn't it? Stacey Travis, the star of "Hardware"? She was the sister who doesn't have time to stay after the funeral. Good job, Stacey. I don't know why your character's in the movie, but GOOD JOB! In fact, Stacey is now starring in the new "Love Boat" series on UPN. She's the perky one."


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #3

"You know something that all three "Phantasm" movies have in common? They don't make a lick of sense. We've got the drunken Catholic priest, we've got the beautiful oversexed hitchhiker, we've got the ESP going on between Liz and Mike, we've got the middle-aged bald guy with a pony tail who, if you remember from the first movie, is actually an ice cream vendor. And why would The Tall Man suddenly decide to torture Grandma? Anyway, we got a whole bunch of plot getting in the way of the story, and there's something CATHOLIC about it. We've got crucifixes out the wahzoo in this movie. We've got Catholic churches, priests--and it's got that gloomy "Exorcist" feeling going on. Remember last time I talked about this, we had angry Catholics writing in? But look, it's NOT MY FAULT if the movie is Catholic. Write to Don Coscarelli. He's an Italian guy--maybe he's Catholic, I don't know. But he wrote the movie, directed the movie, and invented the midget friars that hang around mortuaries, playing with dead things. We LOVE Catholics at TNT. Go back to the movie. If I keep talking about Catholics, they're gonna get mad at me. Roll it.

[fading] I've said many time that I'm a major fan of the Catholic church. We've shown many Catholic movies here on "Monster Vision." The Exorcist. "The Omen." Should I mention that great drive-in double feature again? Naw. I get in trouble every time. Yes? No? "I Drink Your Blood" and "I Eat Your Skin."


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #4

"Looks like there's gonna be a little extracurricular aardvarkus there between Reggie Bannister and Samantha Phillips, who plays the hitchhiker. And thank God we finally got to see the flying steel balls with the Cuisinart drill that pumps all the blood out of your forehead. We were, like, 54 minutes into the movie before we had a single flying steel ball. But now we KNOW it's a "Phantasm" movie, because we've got your embalming, we've got your forehead-drilling, and we've got your killer midget monk in Grandma form. You know, you're probably wondering, "Is the Tall Man really TALL?" Or is it movie magic? That actor, Angus Scrimm, is actually six-foot-four. Is that tall? I'm six-four. In the NBA, that's a GUARD. Anyhow, Angus Scrimm has been in several movies, but "Phantasm" was his first horror film role, and it led to him being used in several other movies as a Boris Karloff-type villain. But his real job, his day job, is as a journalist. He writes articles for TV Guide and film magazines under the name Lawrence Rory Guy--actually, that's his real name. And he's been nominated seven times for the Grammy Award, for writing liner notes for albums and CD's. And he won a Grammy, for the liner notes on an album of film soundtracks. But he's written liner notes for Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, but when he gets the chance, he likes to ugly himself up and do movies like "Mindwarp" and the immortal "Chopping Mall." He's from Kansas City, but he went out to Hollywood to be an actor, and his first job in showbiz was as an usher at the Paramount Theatre in downtown El Lay, where he memorized every line of dialogue from the movie they were showing there, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman." So the man knows his horror. Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] Did you like that reference to Edith Piaf? Famous French cabaret chanteuse. I'm not gay."


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #5

"Why do they split up? Why would they go in there and then say "Let's split up and meet back here in 15 minutes"? Why would anybody in a horror flick EVER "split up"? Anyway, that makes me mad, but nothing makes me madder than watching that mint-condition 1971 Hemi Cuda get totally destroyed in that crash scene. What were they thinking? That car, you could just barely touch the gas pedal and that car would make a sound like a 747 taking off. The engine in that thing was so big you had to use a booster seat to see over it. People would drive a hunnerd miles in that car, say "Honey, did we hit something?"--stop the car, go around and look at the grillwork, and there would be a Canadian moose with its eyes bulging out, it felt like maybe you ran over a garden hose. That was THE most powerful car ever built. The greatest of all the Muscle Cars. And now we have one less Hemi Cuda in the universe. You can't even get insurance on those things. You've gotta go to Lloyd's of London and make a deal where, if you get into any kind of accident, they get to hack off your hand. You say, "Can I get a policy on this car?" And they say, "Sure. It's the same agent who writes policies on the F-16 fighter plane." Anyway, that's just irresponsible. You know, anytime they RUFFLE THE FUR on a poodle in a movie, you've got the ASPCA complaining, you've got PETA protesting, you've got people going to jail for poodle abuse--but you can just TRASH a beautiful machine like that, with impunity. I'm sick. Go ahead. Roll film.

[fading] Did you like the way I used that word "impunity"? No idea what it means. But don't impugn my impunity, man. I'll make you feel pretty dang puny. Impunity. It means "without punity."


"Phantasm II" Commercial Break #6

"That is just major cool, where he blows away four dwarves with one shot from the four-barreled shotgun. And now we KNOW it's a "Phantasm" movie, cause we've got cremated zombies, we've got the zombie who has to hack his hand off to get away--another EXCELLENT scene that the TNT censors left in--we've got the exploding rat, we've got the old chainsaw to the groin, we've got the golden flying drilling sphere. All this stuff comes out of the mind of Don Coscarelli and he just splashes it up there on the screen, and we never know exactly what it all means, but it looks cool. It's kind of an existentialist sort of thing. Don's a weird guy. He wrote his first movie when he was 17 years old, directed it when he was 18--it was called "Jim the World's Greatest," starring Angus Scrimm. That's where he met The Tall Man. Then he made a comedy about children called "Kenny and Company." But it's "Phantasm" that everyone remembers. It was a low-budget horror flick that came out in 1979, and it became a big hit, made about 12 million bucks, and then he didn't wanna get typecast as just a horror director, so he didn't do the sequel for nine years. And in between "Phantasm" and "Phantasm II," he wrote and directed The Beastmaster, which is, of course, one of the most popular movies we have on TNT. But here's how weird Don is. He doesn't even LIKE "The Beastmaster." He says it's a movie that he lost control of and he doesn't like it. And the woman who wrote the book "The Beastmaster" is based on, she hated the movie so much she asked to have her name taken off the credits. So we've got this hit movie--and nobody that had anything to do with making it wants to take credit for it. Go figure. All right, now it's time for the stunning conclusion to "Phantasm II." We know it's stunning because Don can't do anything EXCEPT stun us--over and over and over again. Roll it.

[fading] Reggie Bannister, the guy with the four-barreled shotgun and the chainsaw--he's a Vietnam veteran AND a former folk singer. Remember the group Stone Country? Neither does Reggie. Only kidding. He LOOKS like he was in Nam. It's the pony-tail. Do guys still wear those? Only weenies in France, I think. Guys who listen to Edith Piaf."


"Phantasm II" Outro

I don't like endings like that. They killed The Tall Man--so what's the point of bringing him back five minutes later? I guess they had to, though, because they had to make Phantasm III, which came out in 1994, and I think it went straight to video. Some people like number three a lot better, but I think "Phantasm II" doesn't get the credit it deserves. It's no Phantasm ONE, which we showed last Halloween, but a pretty decent flick. Filmed in a warehouse in Chatsworth, California.

Tonight's host segments continue with The Fury

As you might have heard by now, Joe Bob is hitching up the trailer and moving on to greener pastures. After nearly five years, we at TNT wish him a fond farewell. Our latenight airwaves will not be the same without him. Joe Bob's new official site can be found at www.joebobbriggs.com. Good luck, JB. May your coozie always be full and may all your movies be drive-in worthy!

Good news! Joe Bob Briggs has reviews of all three Basket Case movies

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