I watched Phantasm III because I wanted to see what Coscarelli would do without studio interference on a Phantasm sequel.
Apparently, what he decided to do was add an annoying little kid who kills people (they’re bad people, but they’re people just the same–and it’s never clear he was in any physical danger) and a black kung fu girl then turn his mostly absent from the screen protagonist (A. Michael Baldwin returns to the role after losing it to James Le Gros for the previous sequel) into some sort of Luke Skywalker stand in… right down to the black outfit.
Most of those additions could be forgiven, I suppose, had Coscarelli gotten good actors. The little kid–played by Kevin Connors–is awful. But the girl, played by Gloria Lynne Henry, is worse; so it seems like Connors is giving a better performance. And Baldwin isn’t any great improvement over Le Gros. Phantasm III might be interesting to look at in comparison to the first, in terms of Baldwin’s performance as a kid and as an adult.
I’m not even sure it counts as a horror movie. Without the yellow blood, occasional zombie and the flying spheres, it’s just an action movie. Reggie Bannister makes a hilarious lead for such a film, but it’s clear in a lot of scenes he’s a lot better than the script.
Coscarelli apparently has said he was out of ideas for this film and it shows… his demystifying of the Phantasm lore is particularly unfortunate.
Written, directed and produced by Don Coscarelli; director of photography, Chris Chomyn; edited by Norman Buckley; music by Fred Myrow and Christopher L. Stone; production designer, Ken Aichele; released by Universal Home Entertainment.
Starring Reggie Bannister (Reggie), A. Michael Baldwin (Mike), Bill Thornbury (Jody), Gloria Lynne Henry (Rocky), Kevin Connors (Tim), Cindy Ambuehl (Edna), John Davis Chandler (Henry), Brooks Gardner (Rufus) and Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man).