Friday, October 27, 2017

Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku - DAY 27: Phantasm (1979) [dir. Don Coscarelli]

Greetings, Boils & Ghouls...

...welcome to 'Day Twenty-Seven' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" in which I will suggest my top picks of the fright flicks from the carefully curated catalogue of macabre movies available via the 'Shudder UK' streaming service - any of which can then be streamed to your television using the magic of Roku player - so, let's dim the lights... and prepare for some frights! :-O

If you read my Hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - published on 30th September, then you will know that I plan to post one Hallowe'en / Horror related article every day, throughout the month of October, each featuring one horror movie from the current 'Shudder UK' content library. With recommendations for thirty-one of the best fright flicks I can find, by the end of the month, this means you should have plenty of great choices for your macabre movie viewing as we count down the days to Hallowe'en... as well as ensuring some top-notch cinematic scares come October 31st! ;-)

Beware The Ball, Beware The Tall Man, Beware The Never Dead!
Phantasm (1979) [Movie Still] - PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

For my twenty-seventh instalment in this series of posts I'm going to suggest another independent movie from the United States but, this time, directed by Don Coscarelli and first released in 1979. The film was based on a screenplay which was also written by the director, and the production had a working title of  "Morningside"... which was the name of the mortuary featured in the movie. In the end, the title they decided to use for the original release was "Phantasm" which came from the works of Edgar Allan Poe and, if you're familiar with the author, you will know that it was a term used quite frequently in his writing. Another alias used for the film was "The Never Dead", as movie-goers from Australia and/or India can attest, though it also cropped-up in one of the taglines for the film which can be seen beneath the image of "The Ball", i.e. the metallic sphere shown in the above photograph.

The background story for the film is such that the residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, which leads young 'Mike' (Michael Baldwin) to investigate. Having just lost his own parents, and afraid to lose his brother also, the teenager follows him to a funeral where he sees the town's mortician, aka 'The Tall Man', lifting a coffin on his own. Curious to find out more, he soon discovers that 'The Tall Man' (Angus Scrimm) is shrinking the bodies of the dead down to half their normal size and reanimating them as mis-shapen "zombies" which he then uses as slaves. Mike seeks help from brother 'Jody' (Bill Thornbury) plus local ice cream man 'Reggie' (Reggie Bannister) and, working together, they try to lure out and kill 'The Tall Man'... but, all the while, they must avoid his "zombie" minions as well as a deadly flying silver sphere that he uses for his own protection! :-O

Phantasm (1979) [British Quad Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Past Posters

If you haven't seen the film before, here is a brief taster in the shape of a video trailer for this cult hit horror sci-fi fantasy, courtesy of a  video uploaded by 'Media Graveyard' to their 'YouTube' channel:-

If you'd like to know more... there's a full list of the cast & credits on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing for "Phantasm" (1979), FOUND HERE, which also includes a full storyline / plot summary as well as box office stats, technical specs & much more. For die-hard fans, there's even more info to be had from the Wikipedia Page for Don Coscarelli's film "Phantasm" (1979) which is available VIA THIS LINK, and may help to fuel your appetite for (yet) another screening. Although, if you're as much a fan of this fantasy horror sci-fi film as I am, or enjoy watching vintage horror in general, it probably won't take much persuading for you to watch this seventies cult classic again! ;-)

Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm in "Phantasm" (1979)

Anyway... you probably guessed already but, if not, this film (like the others from this series of posts) is also available via the 'Shudder' streaming service and can be easily viewed on any Roku device via their dedicated channel (app) for these streaming media players. There are no other opportunities for UK Roku users to watch "Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) so, if you don't already subscribe to 'Shudder', now might be a good time to take advantage of their FREE TRIAL offer - although, if you've already done so before, I'd suggest taking a look at some possible free alternatives instead, because (unless they're trying to tempt you back again) these promotions are usually reserved for "new blood" only! And, you never know, there may be some free sources available online that are compatible with Roku and which can be used to stream "Phantasm" (1979). However, as my original idea for this month-long blogathon was to suggest thirty-one great Hallowe'en / Horror themed movies from the fang-tastic 'Shudder UK', I'm recommending you stream it there if possible! ;-) :-)

If you haven't already added it to your channel selection, you will find "Shudder" listed among the "Film & TV" channels in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store. You can easily install it on your Roku by navigating to the built-in 'Channel Store' (accessed via "Streaming Channels" from the home screen on your Roku device) and scrolling through the options until you see the channel icon (pictured above). It's completely FREE-TO-ADD so, once you've located it in the list of channels, just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote to select it and then click "OK" again where it says 'Add channel' to install it on your Roku player(s). Having done that, it's simply a case of launching the channel via the 'Go to channel' option and navigating the on-screen menu to log-in (if you already have an account, but haven't yet done so) or start your free trial (if you are new to the service) and, once you see 'Shudder TV' playing on the screen, just push the "DOWN" arrow on your Roku remote to get to the main menu... from where you can 'Search' for "Phantasm", and then press 'OK' on your remote to select and 'Play' this psychological thriller which, for the record, runs to 1h 28mins.


The good news for Roku users in both the USA and Canada is that the film "Phantasm" (1979) is also available to stream via the 'Shudder' service in both countries. As far as rental options for Roku users in the United States go, the only opportunity you have to do so is through 'Vudu' where the fees are (currently) USD $2.99 (SD) or USD $3.99 (HD) for anyone without a subscription to 'Shudder' that wishes to stream this on Roku. Unfortunately for Canadian streamers, while this fantasy horror sci-fi cult classic can be streamed via 'Shudder' in Canada, there are no other Roku-compatible options to watch this film for Canadians, as there are in the United States. Luckily, there's no need to scour the internet for streaming sources... because the 'Shudder' channel on Roku has it all taken care of! ;-) :-)

Mary Ellen Shaw as the 'Fortuneteller' in "Phantasm" (1979)

Meanwhile, for that full cinema experience, here's a few more film posters & other related images movie-goers in 1979 (and more recently) would have encountered, depending on their location:

"Phantasm" (1979) [USA Poster #1]
PHOTO CREDIT: Decades of Horror

"Phantasm" (1979) [USA Poster #2]
PHOTO CREDIT: Wrong Side of the Art

"Phantasm" (1979) [Theatrical Poster for Remastered Version]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Contemporary Poster]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Special Screening Poster - Raleigh, NC]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Japanese Poster]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Contemporary Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Mulcahey

"Phantasm" (1979) [German Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Movie Poster Shop

"Phantasm" (1979) [French Poster #1]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Brazilian Poster]

"Phantasm" (1979) [BoxOffice Advert]
PHOTO CREDIT: Horrorpedia

"Phantasm" (1979) [Contemporary Poster by David O'Brien]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Contemporary Poster]

"Phantasm" (1979) [Italian Poster]
PHOTO CREDIT: Bloody Pit of Rod

"Phantasm" (1979) [French Poster #2]
PHOTO CREDIT: Festival Gérardmer

"Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) [Lobby Card #1]

"Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) [Lobby Card #2]

"Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) [Lobby Card #3]

"Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) [Lobby Card #4]

"Phantasm" [aka The Never Dead] (1979) [Lobby Card #5]

Finally, to round-off the twenty-seventh instalment in my blogathon on 'Day Twenty-Seven' for this edition of 'Countdown To Halloween', here's more FRIGHTENINGLY FUN FILM FACTS... for example: did you know that the genesis of this story came to Don Coscarelli in a dream? One night, while in his late teens, he dreamed of fleeing down endlessly long marble corridors, pursued by a chrome sphere intent on penetrating his skull with a wicked needle. According to Coscarelli, there was also a quite futuristic "sphere dispenser" out of which the orbs would emerge & begin the chase. As for the idea of the "living" severed finger... Don Coscarelli is said to have come-up with the idea while drinking from a styrofoam cup. Apparently, he punched his finger through the bottom of the cup and started to wiggle it. He loved the visual effect so much, he decided to include it in the story!

Angus Scrimm as 'The Tall Man' in "Phantasm" (1979)

Other interesting tidbits of trivia include the fact Don Coscarelli always rented the filming equipment used to make this movie on Fridays. The idea behind this was so that he could use it all weekend and return it on Mondays, all the while only actually having to pay one day's rental on the equipment... it might explain why he was originally able to shoot enough film footage to produce an original running time for the movie of over three hours! :-O Anyway, he eventually decided that was far too long for it to hold people's attention and made numerous cuts to the film, effectively halving it's length. Not that it went completely to waste, however, because some of the unused footage was subsequently found in the late 1990's and became the framework for "Phantasm IV: Oblivion" (1998). Unfortunately, what happened to the rest of the footage remains a mystery... it is, therefore, believed to have been lost! :-(


Anyhow, that's all I've got time for today... but do remember to come back again tomorrow, for my next macabre movie recommendation from the 'Shudder UK' streaming library, when I will suggest a film for 'Day Twenty-Eight' of "Awesome Horror Streams for Hallowe'en Screams on Roku" right here on this blog. Meanwhile... please be sure to visit the Countdown To Hallowe'en website & show your support for this annual online Hallowe'en extravaganza PLUS don't forget to use the links you find there and check out all the other 'Cryptkeepers' taking part this year. I know they'll appreciate it, if you visit their blogs and share your thoughts on the contribution(s) they've made.


ONE LAST THING, BEFORE I GO: Don't forget that, aside from the Hallowe'en / Horror-themed ghastliness going on around these parts for the next month, you can also keep up with the UK Roku action (as it happens) by following the companion Twitter Feed: @ukrokuchannels where you will find that up-to-the-minute info on all things Roku-related is posted on a daily basis (well, almost).

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

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