***Editor’s Note: We are so thrilled to bring back our Terror Tuesday Report feature after a long hiatus.***
This Terror Tuesday treated us to a sequel to a film that I’ve heard is a Terror Tuesday favorite, directed by a horror cinephile’s favorite, Don Cascarelli. Don Cascarelli is a name that ranks high up on the list of favorite genre filmmakers amongst film nerds the world over. He’s been at the helm of every film of the Phantasm franchise, and that feat alone is extremely noteworthy with the way franchises routinely get handed to new directors, usually after one or two films. Don obviously takes great care in the stories that he writes, and it definitely shows with this weeks Terror Tuesday entry, Phantasm II.
The film picks up 9 years after the events of the first film, but luckily the opening does a pretty thorough recap so that it wasn’t impossible to follow along what was happening in the sequel. Mike suddenly realizes he has a psychic link to a girl who has nightmares about the same Tall Man who terrorized Mike’s youth and put him in a mental hospital. He must find this girl, who will lead him to The Tall Man, so he can stop him and rescue Liz. When he’s finally released, he seeks out where The Tall Man will go with the help of his friend Reggie, who’s family has been killed by The Tall Man. Along the way, they encounter a hitchhiker who gives Mike a feeling of imminent danger, but they let her tag along anyways. Mike’s premonitions lead them to a small town where the local mortuary has been overtaken by The Tall Man and his minions of the dead who are inexplicably resurrected as dwarves.
I have not had the fortunate pleasure to have seen Phantasm, and when I saw how excited my colleague Brian Kelley was for this film, I was expecting a film that is entertaining on the ‘fun’ (read: bad) scale. Suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised to see an imaginary and inventive film about death, what happens to us when we die, and who the man is that comes and gets us. The Tall Man represents one of the coolest villains I’ve seen on screen in quite some time. His performance is menacing enough based on his facial tones in addition to his being freakishly tall and thin. He’s also got an intimidating voice, all in all a very scary dude. Reggie Banister stole the show for me here. A middle-aged ghost hunter who in the middle of the film decides he just wants to get laid, consequences be damned, made for a really funny conflict with the mission at hand. That sex scene also got a huge laugh out of the audience (Oh, I’ll get to the audience in a second).
Host Zack Carlson set up the film perfectly, even for those that didn’t see the original film. He detailed the selection process of casting James LeGros by showing us an audition tape of an actor who didn’t get the part. That actor’s name was Brad Pitt, and that audition was fucking terrible. That was a nice bit of trivia and probably the only time that Brad Pitt will ever make an appearance at Terror Tuesday. Overall it was a fantastic experience and a much better film than I had anticipated and at some point I will be sure to check out the rest of this franchise.
This screening made me realize that an enthusiastic crowd does not always a good crowd make. I’m all for a fun crowd with lots of energy, but there’s proper ways it can be handled. There were enjoyable parts yes, and ones that warranted clapping and even some laughter, but there’s a fine line between dignified laughter and enthusiasm and acting like a clapping, barking sea lion while cackling like Tyler Durden in FIGHT CLUB (Brad Pitt, it all comes full circle). I’d like to take this moment to ask Zack that in addition to his always on-point message about why it’s important not to talk during Terror Tuesday, it’s time that we actually start telling these morons that it’s not ok to do the following:
Stomp your feet while laughing. Seriously, why? It’s maybe the most irritating thing that these cretinous morons who pay their hard earned $1 do and there’s no need for it.
Outrageous clapping/laughing. Here’s a new rule, no more than three inches of separation between your hands when clapping. Any further and you just look like this
No words EVER. If something comes crashing through a wall, just scream like a girl like the rest of us sometimes do, don’t audibly say “Oh shit!!!” or “DAMN!!!!”. Please just sit in your chair like you’ve been taught manners and quietly scream to yourself about how stupid you feel that a cat just jumped through a window.
Those are three pretty simple rules that I think will expand upon the broad scope of no talking and no cell phone usage that will make screenings at the Drafthouse go smoother from now on.