With “Phantasm IV: Oblivious,” writer/director Don Coscarelli didn’t made so much a proper sequel as he did a loose string of weird, dream-like imagery and an anything-but-lucid narrative. This thing makes so little sense that you’ll halfway wish for one of those flying metal spheres to slam into your skull.
Our heroes, Mike and ponytailed ice cream man Reggie (A. Michael Baldwin and Reggie Bannister, respectively), are still running all over the country being pursued by the mysterious Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). You’d think after three previous go-rounds, the fourth and presumably final story would either end the series or take it in a new direction, but “Oblivion” does neither.
While I understand that the “Phantasm” world has no real rules, the anything-can-happen conceit is unfair here. No matter where these guys go, there’s something evil waiting there for them. And pressure like that would just drive people to suicide, so that’s too easy. Thus, Coscarelli has used his vivid imagination in the most unimaginative way possible.
A nine-minute behind-the-scenes featurette sheds no light, but a commentary from Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister is the best way to watch it. This is strictly one for the fans (which I consider myself to be), but even they should be prepared for the least rewarding entry of the series, despite a killer scene in which a woman’s bosoms have been replaced by those menacing metal balls.
Now if only Anchor Bay could get “Phantasm II” out on DVD, the series would be complete. —Rod Lott