Blu-ray Review: PHANTASM: RAVAGER

PHANTASM: RAVAGER was directed by David Hartman who wrote the screenplay with series creator and producer Don Coscarelli. The film features the entire original cast including Reggie Bannister – a veteran of all five films – A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and Kat Lester. Angus Scrimm takes up his iconic role as the terrifying Tall Man for the fifth and final time.

After battling with the Tall Man in Phantasm: Oblivion, a battered Reggie wanders through the desert in search of his missing friend, Mike. After recovering his 1971 Hemi ‘Cuda, Reggie is targeted by two of the Tall Man’s Sentinel Spheres and destroys them. He awakens suddenly to find himself sitting in a wheelchair pushed by none other than the elusive Mike! Although overjoyed by their reunion, Reggie is in this alternate dimension an aged and weary old patient in a psychiatric ward. And only he remembers their battled and bloodied past with the Tall Man. Reggie must travel between dimensions and discern what is reality in order to confront the mysteries at the heart of a decades-long struggle against evil. He is met with new and familiar faces along the way, and an epic showdown on the Tall Man’s home world awaits!

War-torn Reggie is still searching for his old friend Mike as he continues to scour the region for any signs of hope. There’s also the Tall Man who is still devouring human life and turning them all into his army of the undead. The entire movie focuses on Reggie who is much older now and the viewer gets to see several different versions of the former ice cream man as the movie plays out. There’s “Road Warrior” Reggie who is still active and ready for battle, there’s “Geriatric” Reggie who is much older and appears to be losing his mind, and finally there’s “Apocalyptic” Reggie who is living in a world that has already been taken over by the Tall Man. So what’s real? Well, that’s left up to Reg-Man as the viewer watches his epic journey conclude.

Reggie’s search finally starts reconnecting him to Mike but he doesn’t know if it’s real or not or which dimension or timeline is the right one. So what’s real? It all starts tying itself together (kind of) and Reg-Man and Mike are finally reunited just time to battle it out with the Tall Man one more time. They are joined by some familiar faces as well as a few new ones in the final battle against the mysterious mortician from another dimension. The story was fun but if you’re not paying close enough attention it could get confusing, so pay attention! Hey, it even got confusing for Reggie for a while. There’s still a lot of mystery left so not everything was revealed. Anyway, it was great to see this cast together for one more round in this dimension-hopping finale. There’s a lot of CGI used, so fans of practical effects just be warned. There’s also some old school makeup effects used and it all looked really good. The awesome ‘Cuda even makes its return and there’s even two versions of it!

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Phantasm: Ravager was a fun entry into this long-running franchise but it did have its flaws. Every movie in the franchise was low budget and that’s part of the charm of it all. It took a long time to get this one done because they really didn’t have a budget and shot a lot of it guerilla-style. It was even going to be released as a web series at one point. This was also the first movie that Coscarelli stepped aside and didn’t direct so David Hartman traded in his animation duties for this full-length feature film debut and he did an okay job for the most part. Maybe Coscarelli should have directed it. Nothing against Hartman but maybe Coscarelli should have directed it. There’s a lot to love about this movie, but there’s also a lot to dislike about it. I loved that everyone came back one more time and sadly it was the last time Angus Scrimm would play the Tall Man because we lost him earlier this year. There was a lot of CGI used and some of it looked good but some of it look really bad, or unfinished. We also really didn’t get to see Mike or Reggie take out the Tall Man. Let’s just say there’s no satisfaction there and I’ll just leave it at that. Still, the fans got what we had been wanting for so long, another entry into the franchise, and honestly it left me wanting more. Phantasm: Ravager is now available on Blu-ray from Well Go USA and is worth a watch.

Distributor: Well Go USA

Run Time: 86 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include some audio commentary, a featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes, and trailer.

  • Audio Commentary with Director David Hartman and Writer & Producer Don Coscarelli
  • Behind-the-Scenes featurette
  • Three Deleted Scenes – 1. Giant Dwarf – 2. Escape from Dawn’s Cabin – 3. Cuda vs Sphere
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers & Outtakes
  • Trailer
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