Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead
Mike (A. Michael Baldwin returning to the role) lays in a hospital bed hooked up to machines, and narrates a quick recap of the first two movies. He tells us his brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) was killed in a car crash that he now believes was arranged by the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). The Tall Man has been hunting Mike and his ice-cream vendor friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) across the country (I thought they were hunting him).
We see some clips from the last movie but Mike is cropped out since he was played by a different actor. At the end of part 2 Reggie was seemingly killed and left for dead as Mike and Liz sped off in a hearse driven by the Tall Man. In this version we see Reggie immediately get back up, it was only a flesh wound. The hearse only drives about 10 seconds down the road before crashing and exploding. Liz is killed, Mike is thrown clear, unconscious. Reggie finds him but is surrounded by the Tall Man and a bunch of dwarf zombies. Tall Man says he wants to take Mike, but Reggie threatens to blow up Mike and himself so the Tall Man retreats. This brings us to Mike in the hospital where the movie began. We also see a scene explaining that in the last movie after the Tall Man was melted with acid a new one came through the portal from another dimension which is how he reappeared at the end.
Mike is in a tunnel headed towards a white light, the afterlife I suppose. He sees his brother Jody who tells him not to go toward the light. The Tall Man is waiting in the light anyway so Mike heads in the other direction and wakes back up in the hospital. He is immediately attacked by a zombified nurse and the action is on again. It's not long before Jody reappears, now a ghost I guess, who transforms into one of the flying silver balls. We also learn that when the Tall Man processes a dead body into one of his zombie dwarves he removes their shrunken brain and inserts it into one of the silver balls. He must have done this to Jody as well. The Tall Man eventually kidnaps Mike leaving Reggie with a charred Jody-ball that barely tells him the name of a town. Reggie heads there in the HemiCuda that he rebuilt since it got totalled in the last flick.
Reggie finds another ghost town, and now we have some hijinks that don't really count toward the plot. He gets locked in his trunk by a trio of crooks who steal his car. They all end up getting offed by a little kid with a self-taught expertise in death traps and lethal weapons. The best is his frisbee lined with razor blades that slashes throats. The kid, Tim (Kevin Connors), rescues Reggie and becomes his sidekick. They head for a nearby mausoleum looking for trouble and hook up with Rocky (Gloria Lynne Henry), a tough-girl packing a mean set of nunchucks. When her friend becomes victim to a silver ball in the forehead, she joins up with the boys.
As they camp outside, Reggie has a dream where Jody leads him to the Tall Man's lair and they rescue Mike. Reggie wakes up at the campsite and Mike appears through a portal. The Tall Man tries to come through but Reggie closes it by touching the tuning fork, cutting off the Tall Man's hands. His hands morph into critters, something like a scorpion-snake.
They make their way to another mortuary with a cryogenics facility. Mike remembers that one time long ago the Tall Man walked by Reggie's ice cream truck and made a face, and he thinks cold will kill him. The heroes get separated by the three crooks who are now zombies. The Tall Man knocks Mike out and straps him to an operating table. The heroes make their way to save him but something has been done to him, his eyes are golden and he bleeds yellow like the Tall Man. He leaves with Jody. Reggie and Rocky push the Tall Man into a cryogenic freezer room. He freezes to death but his face splits open and a giant golden sphere flies out. Reggie catches it with a plunger and dips it in liquid nitrogen, destroying it. He says "it's over" but then he's swarmed by hundreds of silver balls. Another Tall Man shows up and says "it's never over" as Tim is sucked through a window.
This movie was not produced by Universal like the last one, it was made independently but had almost as high a budget. It's totally wacky, full of non-stop craziness. I might have actually liked it better than the first two. Reggie, while providing a lot of comic relief, seems like the most dependable hero of the bunch. He's sort of like Ash from Evil Dead
. We get a bit more advancement on the Tall Man's plot without ever really finding out what his plan is. These are starting to feel like episodes and I really hope the series finale pays off.
This movie is mostly known as a direct-to-video release, but it actually got a limited theatrical run.
Phantasm III trailer