Filmmaker Don Coscarelli announced today that Phantasm: Ravager, the long-awaited fifth and final entry in his classic horror Phantasm series, has completed principle photography. The original Phantasm was a worldwide critical and box-office smash, spawning a huge cult of fans around the world and three well received sequels.
For the first time in the franchise’s history, a new director is helming the production, one David Hartman. Hartman is a multiple Emmy-nominated animation director, whose work can be seen in such celebrated shows as Transformers Prime and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers. Serious genre fans have long been familiar with Hartman’s edgier output, including two blood-soaked music videos for Rob Zombie (“American Witch,” and “Lords of Salem“), and his illustrations of Steve Niles’ “Strange Cases” for Image Comics.
“I felt it was time to let someone else play with my train set,” noted Coscarelli, who co-wrote the film with Hartman and produced the film under his Silver Sphere banner along with Executive Producer Brad Baruh. “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,” Coscarelli stated.
“Having worked with Don [Coscarelli] before, and being a huge fan of the entire Phantasm franchise, it was a great honor to do Ravager with him,” says 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. We were fortunate to shoot amazing new sequences with horror icon Angus Scrimm—he has terrific scenes with Reggie (Bannister) and Mike (Michael Baldwin) that are truly powerful.”
Production on Ravager took place 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 notes. “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. And for the first time there’s an extended sequence on the Tall Man’s home world. I know Phantasm fans will be as excited as I am to see it.”
Ravager features Reggie Bannister (a veteran of all five films) in his decades-long pursuit of the malevolent Tall Man, and it finally forces him to confront the mysteries at the heart of the Phantasm saga. The entire original cast is back including Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Kat Lester and Angus Scrimm, along with some great new characters. Coscarelli allows, “There are also some surprises thrown in that I promise will astonish long-time fans.”