Texas Frightmare 2015: Opening Night PHANTASM Screening Brought A RAVAGER Surprise!
Since Coscarelli's print of the film was, as he put it, in pretty bad shape (honestly, I've seen newer prints in far worse shape than what we were privileged to see on Thursday night), the Phantasm team and the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson, Texas, along with TFW decided to make the event extra special. First it was announced that this would likely be the final 35mm screening of the film in any legitimate venue, an event to cherish, for sure. Then it was announced that the film would be coupled with a live cast and crew commentary from the Phantasm team who were in town for a reunion panel at TFW. This team included Coscarelli, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Kathy Lester, The Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm, and the director of the upcoming Phantasm Ravager, David Hartman (more on that later). As if that weren't enough, this week it was announced that Mondo had prepared the first ever soundtrack release, and on limited edition vinyl with art from Phantom City Creative, and a Mike Saputo TFW exclusive print for the film, each of which were selling like hotcakes at the screening.
All of that was expected by the time we showed up to the screening. What was not expected was the exclusive first look at footage from Phantasm Ravager, the fifth film in the series, and the first to be directed by anyone other than Coscarelli. The footage was more than just a teaser or a trailer, we got what seemed to be about five minutes of action footage featuring Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, and of course, The Ball. While we weren't given much in the way of plot spoilers, I think it's safe to say that Don Coscarelli, who co-wrote this latest outing, and director David Hartman have taken the history and the universe of Phantasm and built upon it in a way that is in line with the mythology thus far.
The footage we were privileged to see was very exciting, and gives me hope that this might actually be as good or better than Phantasm Oblivion. In this extended clip from Ravager, we get to see Reggie Bannister interacting with an effectively creepy Kathy Lester, some cool hints at Ball action, and hundreds, HUNDREDS of Tall Men in what appears to be an apocalyptic epitaph to the Phantasm series (don't hold your breath for that, though, Coscarelli and crew are already thinking about a Part 6). The footage relied pretty heavily on CG, however, the CG looks really good, and the director, David Hartman, has plenty of experience in that area and is putting the finishing touches on the film as we speak. When pressed for a release date by the audience, Coscarelli said 2015 and that they're working with a few interested parties in releasing the film, so that's very encouraging because this is a sizzle reel that definitely did its job. I think every single patron left the Alamo Drafthouse tonight with a burning desire to see what happens in Phantasm Ravager, the footage was that good.
The weekend is far from over for the Phantasm crew at Texas Frightmare Weekend. Along with the expected both appearances of all of the above cast and crew members and the elusive Reggie Bannister from Friday through Sunday, there are even more Phantasm related events planned. On Saturday afternoon there will be a Phantasm reunion panel at the convention, presumably with even more information about the upcoming film, which returns most of the principal cast from the series. There is also a special Phantasm themed karaoke night featuring a performance by Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury, Phantasm themed photo booth, and lots more. Let's just say that you're a Phan, and you aren't at Texas Frightmare Weekend, you're missing out.
Online ticketing has closed, but passes are still available at the event. Friday May 1st though Sunday May 3rd at the Hyatt Regency DFW. Be there!