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14. Phantasm II (1988)

Director: Don Coscarelli
Stars: James LeGros, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm, Paula Irvine

With 1979’s Phantasm, writer-director Don Coscarelli introduced the masses to one of horror’s great unsung villains: The Tall Man. Played by the gangly and creepy-looking Angus Scrimm, Coscarelli’s bad guy doesn’t belong in the same lane as Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger—he’s more ethereal presence, controlling his dwarf minions and zombie army from the comfort of a mausoleum. And, to great effect, Coscarelli sparingly inserts The Tall Man into Phantasm, keeping him off screen for most of the film.

In the sequel, Phantasm II, Coscarelli decided to fully showcase his secret weapon, and, surprisingly, it’s not a case of “too much of a good thing.” The Tall Man gets plenty more to do, and through the character’s increased presence Coscarelli gives The Tall Man a more human feel—he’s less of an otherworldly being in Phantasm II, and the realism makes him all the more scary.

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