Supernatural horror classic Phantasm: Remastered, American cult filmmaker Don Coscarelli's newly restored 1979 mood piece, presents a uniquely disturbing vision of an adolescent's grief. We see its world through the hysterical eyes of Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), a jumpy teen who paradoxically both grapples with and avoids thinking about his parents' unexpected deaths by trying to stop the never-named "Tall Man" (genre icon Angus Scrimm) from abducting a local cemetery's corpses.
Secondary characters, like horndog older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury), may see and be creeped out by the Tall Man, but Mike is the only one obsessed with Scrimm's quiet antagonist. His quest to stop the Tall Man, a superhumanly strong bodysnatcher with a coterie of cloaked little minions, gives voice to his fears of abandonment: If mom and dad can go away, why would Jody choose to stick around? Mike's imagination runs wild, as when he cuts off one of the Tall Man's fingers and the still-twitching digit shape-shifts into a vicious little monster that looks like a cross between a dust bunny and Iron Maiden's Evil Ernie mascot.
This bugfuck weird transformation perfectly exemplifies the unpredictable nature of the Tall Man–centric scenes. Coscarelli (The Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) makes Scrimm look like a force to be reckoned with by shooting the 6'4'' amateur thespian in slow motion, often from a distance. In this way, the Tall Man always seems to be approaching, but never materializes near Mike until he's suddenly on top of him. Like Scrimm's performance, Phantasm: Remastered is still as jarring and vivid as a long-forgotten nightmare.