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When the surprise news broke earlier this week that a fifth Phantasm movie — called Phantasm: Ravager — was not just in the works but had actually been completed, it raised an awful lot of questions. Who directed the latest entry in the beloved cult horror franchise about the ghoulish, mysterious Tall Man and his lethal flying spheres? Which previous actors from the series (if any) would be making an appearance in the film? And when might we see some footage from the first Phantasm movie in 16 years?
EW can confirm that Phantasm: Ravager is directed by filmmaker and artist David Hartman, whose résumé includes the TV show Transformers Prime and the Rob Zombie videos American Witch and Lords of Salem. Hartman also worked on the films Bubba Ho-Tep and John Dies at the End, both of which were directed by Phantasm overlord Don Coscarelli. Coscarelli himself cowrote Phantasm: Ravager with Hartman and produced it through his Silver Spheres company with executive producer Brad Baruh.
“I felt it was time to let someone else play with my train set,” said Coscarelli in a statement. “David and I go back to my film Bubba Ho-Tep. He did terrific visual effects on that, and more recently created a wild animated sequence and some amazing visual effects in my most recent film, John Dies at the End. Our aesthetics are in sync and he’s quite an experienced director in his own right.”
“Having worked with Don before, and being a huge fan of the entire Phantasm franchise, it was a great honor to do Ravager with him,” said Hartman. “This film is a real turning point in the series. There’s real closure for the core characters that I hope fans will respond to.”
The cast of Phantasm: Ravager includes Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister, who have played, respectively, the Tall Man and luckless ice cream vendor Reggie in each previous film. They are joined by Michael Baldwin, who played the character Mike in each franchise entry except for Phantasm II (in which, aside from some flashback scenes, he was played by James LeGros). “We were fortunate to shoot amazing new sequences with horror icon Angus Scrimm,” said Hartman. “He has terrific scenes with Reggie and Mike that are truly powerful.” Series regulars Bill Thornbury and Kat Lester also appear in the film, whose release date has yet to be announced.
Phantasm: Ravager was shot in and around southern California over the past two years. “The Phantasm films have been a guerrilla operation for decades now, totally outside of the studio system,” Coscarelli said. “We do them for the fans, and I think Ravager will definitely please them. In the past few years several studios have made offers to remake Phantasm with large budgets, but the fans were very vocal that they wanted the original cast to return and finish this iteration of the story with class.”
Very few plot details have been released — but according to Coscarelli, Phantasm: Ravager includes “an extended sequence on the Tall Man’s home world.” Plus? “There are also some surprises thrown in that I promise will astonish long-time fans.”
So, when will you be able to see footage from Phantasm: Ravager? Right now! Below, you will find the first teaser trailer for the fifth Phantasm movie. Take a look at the (at times, somewhat gruesome) clip below.