Don Coscarelli appeared with cast members of the first two installments in the "Phantasm" series at Cinefamily on October 27, 2011. While the original "Phantasm" was much discussed, "Phantasm II" certainly wasn't left out. The sequel came out nine years after the original and saw the series take (as the emcees of the evening said) "a creative leap." The filmmakers had a bigger budget to work with, a notable cast change was made, and the always entertaining Samantha Phillips made her film debut.
Universal Pictures distributed the sequel and gave the filmmakers a mandate on what they could do. The most notable change was replacing Michael Baldwin as Mike Pearson with James LeGros. Apparently Universal wanted to cast someone who was "hunkier." Baldwin would return, however, for parts III and IV.
When asked about the change of tone between the two movies, Coscarelli said "Phantasm II" was more of a "road movie." We also get to see Mike and Reggie (played by Reggie Bannister) become individual Rambos when they arm themselves to the teeth. Whatever you think of the movie, you've got to love Reggie connecting two double-barreled shotguns together for one of the most original kick-ass weapons ever created.
For Angus Scrimm, who played The Tall Man, the difference of nine years basically resulted in him being older, his voice having deepened, and he had already attended so many conventions that he lost track of how many times he said "BOY!!!"
Phillips has very fond memories of making "Phantasm II," even though she tried to talk Coscarelli out of hiring her. Her car broke down on the way to her audition, which forced her to run 4 miles to get to Universal. She described the casting office as being filled with "big-breasted blondes," and it turns out her character Alchemy was described as such in the script. Figuring that she didn't fit Coscarelli's "idea of a hot chick," Phillips ended up telling the director at her call back:
"Why are you torturing yourself? You're not going to hire me!"
But Coscarelli replied:
"Why don't you let me decide that?"
With the sex scene, Phillips said she and Bannister had to rehearse it to come up with the blocking. On the day it was shot, his wife was just outside, which Phillips said added "crazy pressure." Coscarelli loved the scene, but Bannister hated it; his head kept getting smacked over and over again.
However, they had to reshoot Phillips's nude scene in the morgue. She originally was covered with a sheet while lying on the metal slab but was later told that "dead bodies don't have sheets covering them!" With the camera right above her, she started wondering:
"Is that gonna film my p----?"
The camera went up and down from her breasts to her genitalia, but Phillips was told that nothing would be shown. But when the movie premiered (and it was the only of hers that ever had a premiere) and she watched it on the screen, everything was shown. Phillips quickly turned around and said out loud:
"Don! What the hell?!"
This caused everyone in the theater to turn around to see what the commotion was.
There remains rumors of a "Phantasm 5" in the future, but Coscarelli said he wasn't at liberty to discuss it. Still, Phillips was adamant about it becoming a reality and clearly wants to be a part of it. This led Coscarelli to end the evening by saying:
"Who says we haven't shot it already?"
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