A Bloody Good Time: Ten Questions That Phantasm V: Ravager Needs To Answer
Posted by Joseph Lee on 08.28.2014
From the identity of the Tall Man and where he's from to what happened to Jebediah Morningside, the whereabouts of Rocky and Tim and more, 411's Joseph Lee lists ten questions that Phantasm V needs to answer!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Sometimes it's good to be wrong. I said way back in 2008 that if Phantasm V didn't happen then, it wasn't going to happen. I was hopeful with another rumor in 2012 but didn't actually see it going down. Then earlier this year the Silver Sphere team surprised everyone with a poster and teaser trailer for Ravager, which Don Coscarelli has said is the final entry in the series.
Since this is the final entry, they really have to get it right for the Phans. That led me to wonder...what exactly do they have to get right? That leads me to this week's topic, which is a series of questions that I think have to be answered by the conclusion of the film. The Phantasm series has yet to have a bad movie, even if the sequels never quite reach the highs of the original. However, even if this wasn't the final film, there's no way we're going to get a Phantasm VI. Sure, they shot Ravager in total secrecy and sure, they may have shot more footage of Angus for the future. But the man is 88 now and the rest of the cast are also getting up there in years. I believe them when they say this is the end and that's why they have to conclude the story.
So here are what I believe are the ten questions that have to be answered by Phantasm V: Ravager!
#10: Will Reggie find love?
I honestly don't expect this one to be answered but I think out of all the characters in this series, Reggie deserves the happy ending the most. I think it's going to end bad for Mike and Jody's already dead. Reggie has been a true friend through and through and went through some nasty stuff to get this far. Oddly enough, his worst flaw is how unlucky he's been in finding some action. In the last three films someone he was interested in turned out to be a villain or zombie or whatever. Sure, there was Rocky, but that wasn't going to happen.
So could Reg finally get a nice girl to settle down with? I would assume that the answer is no, as we probably don't have time in the final film to deal with relationship issues. But still, it would be nice to see Reggie get his happy ending one way or another after dealing with The Tall Man for most of his adult life. Can't you see him going back to dealing ice cream with his lady riding beside him? His real wife could even cameo!
Speaking of Rocky...
#9: Where are Rocky and Tim?
In my opinion, Tim was the worst part of Phantasm III and he brought the movie down. That's just my opinion, as a lot of people seem to really like him. So it makes it all the more baffling that Oblivion didn't at least touch upon his whereabouts after we saw him pulled through a window at the end of Lord of the Dead. Is Tim dead? Probably, since a death scene was allegedly scripted but not shot. However, the only bits of these movies that are canon are actually in these movies. So mention he's dead briefly or bring him back, but acknowledge that he existed.
Rocky, meanwhile, is the only female character to get out of the Tall Man's clutches unscathed. She drove out of Phantasm III on good terms with Reggie and giving up the zombie business. Gloria Lynne Henry doesn't appear to be working these days, but wouldn't it be neat if Rocky popped up somewhere in Ravager? She could save Reggie again, she could become another victim for Tall Man, whatever. If this film is the last then I want to tie everything together.
#8: Has the world finally caught on to what The Tall Man is doing?
As each Phantasm sequel begins, we learn that more and more of the US, mostly small towns, have succumbed to The Tall Man's plot. The one thing we never see, is how the US is responding. This has always been a thorn in my side for the later films. Eventually someone has to catch on to the fact that entire towns are going abandoned and people are dying left and right, correct? It's always implied that there's an explanation (radiation leak, etc) but you would think that eventually someone in the government would see what's going on and call in the marines.
Of course, in the original Phantasm V script, about 98% of the US was taken over by the Tall Man and there was a special military group being sent in to deal with him. I'm not sure how much of that script will be seen in Ravager (considering it required a higher budget) but at the very least we know Mike has a rocket launcher. Where would he get something like that if the US military hasn't at least attempted to take down the Tall Man?
#7: What are these surprises?
Don Coscarelli said in the official statement for this film that there would be "some surprises thrown in that I promise will astonish long-time fans." That's a bold statement and one that really hypes up this movie for me. Since then the Phantasm Phan community has speculated back and forth on what these surprises could be. Appearances from previous character (like Rocky or Tim)? Shocking story twists? The answers we've been seeking for 35 years?
One option is that there could be a few big names that Coscarelli has worked with in the past. The press release confirms that there are "great new characters". Consider this: Paul Giamatti is a friend of Coscarelli, is a fan of his films (including Phantasm) and has already worked with him for John Dies At The End. Can you imagine if he showed up? What about Bruce Campbell? He was rumored to be the star of the original script...maybe he will at least have a cameo? I get the feeling they wouldn't promise "astonishing" surprises if they couldn't deliver. These movies have been about the fans more so than any other horror franchise out there.
#6: What's the deal with Mike?
Okay, so in the original Phantasm, we assumed that the Tall Man was going after Mike because he just happened to see too much and get too close. As the sequels progressed, we learned that he was going specifically after Mike for some nefarious purpose. But why? Is it because Mike has some latent psychic ability? Is he secretly from the Tall Man's home world? What is it about this one guy that the Tall Man wants so badly that he'll chase him for 35 years? Is it true that he wants Mike to be his protege, as Reggie believes?
Let's forget about motive for a moment. What is going on with Mike anyway? At the end of Phantasm III he's bleeding yellow just like a corpse and discovers he has a silver sphere in his head. He discovers he can move things with his mind in the next film. However, the Tall Man removes that sphere (which may contain his brain) at the end of Oblivion and it seems like Mike is dying. And yet, he's in the trailer brandishing a rocket launcher. We really need to find out some answers about Mike as we finally wrap up his story with the Tall Man.
#5: What exactly happened to Jebediah Morningside?
This also ties into a question I have for later, but I think it deserves an answer. Phantasm IV revealed to us that at least at one point, the Tall Man may have been a man. Or at the very least, he's using the likeness of an actual man now. Jebediah Morningside created the original space gate, the passage between worlds, and decides to test out his own device. As Jody so chillingly states, "Jebediah Morningside never comes back." Moments later, the Tall Man steps through the portal with a sphere and he's the evil alien we all know and love.
That raises some questions. What happened to Jebediah Morningside when he stepped through that dimensional fork? Was he possessed by the evil of the Tall Man? Was he immediately killed and his likeness was assumed by these otherworldly creatures? This is another question I don't expect to be fully answered, but it may be touched upon. Fans can more or less draw their own conclusions and be at least close. What do you think?
#4: Where is the Tall Man from?
This is a question that I'm pretty sure we're going to get answered. Don Coscarelli has already confirmed that we're going to see an "extended sequence on the Tall Man's home world." The only glimpses we've ever seen of his world were in the first two films. It's loud, it's hot, it's red and there's a lot of noise. It's a harsh world and it produced the Tall Man. What kind of world is this? Is it Mars? Is it not even in our reality? I think this is the one that we'll most likely get answers to.
We know some details already. We know the lurkers (the dwarves) are made the way they are to work as slaves in that world, shrunk down to handle the gravity. We know that the Tall Man was moving more bodies into the world for slaves. We know that a normal human could die if they stay there too long, due to a combination of the heat and crushing gravity. That's about all we know, and I'm going to be excited to find out more.
#3: What is the Tall Man's ultimate plan?
We have an idea of what the Tall Man is doing. He is relentlessly pursuing Mike and he's turning corpses into slaves. Does he have a higher motive than that? If so, what is it? If not, then why does he have to use corpses for slaves? What exactly would the Tall Man accomplish by ravaging the world and making us all work for him? Is it just the power? Or is he working for someone? That would be a very interesting twist. This ties more into the question of what he wants Mike for. How does Mike even fit into this grand scheme?
Whatever his plan is, he's definitely taking his sweet time in getting it accomplished. This is a question that I feel should be answered by the at the same time, I don't want it to be. I like that the Tall Man is this evil alien who seemingly has no real motive. He just wants you dead and he wants you working for him after you die. Remember, when you die you don't go to Heaven. You go to him.
#2: What the hell is The Tall Man, anyway?
We know the Tall Man is from another world. We know he can be killed...at least temporarily. And we know that inside his head is a golden sphere, containing what we assume is his brain. We know that whatever he is, the cold harms him. However, that's all we know. Everything else is a mystery. I'm not saying every horror villain has to be explained and I'm not saying that we need every single answer about the Tall Man. That would be too much exposition and it would bog down the story. Just give us some details and let us fill in the gaps.
However there are things about the Tall Man we don't know that I think deserve a mention or two. Mainly I just want to know what he is. Is his race a group of brains inside spheres? Are they all beings in the shape of Jebediah Morningside? How is it that when you kill one, another comes out with all the memories of the one you just killed? I get the feeling that this is another one we'll at least get partially answered, as it's one of the most pressing questions from fans. There should be some memory, but I think at some point our heroes should know exactly what they're up against and why he's seemingly immortal. Which brings me to...
#1: Can the Tall Man be stopped for good?
This is the biggest question that needs to be answered. If none of these other questions get satisfactory answers, this one has to. One way or another, we need a definitive ending on this series. No more cliffhangers, no more making us think it's over just to have the Tall Man tell us it's never over. One way or another this story has to end. You've already said it's the final film and it's pretty obvious we're not getting another unless it's the inevitable remake.
So we need to know if the Tall Man can actually be killed once and for all. Either he dies, or our heroes die trying to stop him. Personally, I hope it's a mixture of the two. We finally get rid of the Tall Man and close the doorway to his world, but at a huge cost. I would assume the huge cost would be Mike, as I still want Reggie to get at least some semblance of a happy ending. Regardless of what the ending actually is, I just want it to be and ending. I've loved the twist and turns of this story. But every good story has a proper ending and Ravager needs to deliver on that.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook. In next week's edition, I look at ten possible recruits for a horror-themed Expendables team! You'll like this one.
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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