I’m sure everyone out there knows Reggie Bannister, the best and baddest quad-barrel shotgun carrying, dwarf killer, guitar playing, Ice Cream Man around, from the Phantasm series. And if you’ve been lucky enough to meet Reggie at a convention over the last 30 years, then you know just how damn friendly he is. You always walk away from his table thinking you’ve just made a new best friend. Funny thing is that is just how Reggie is.
I first met Reggie at a Chiller show back in ’95, and shortly after that, he came out to my hometown to record an album (never saw that happening in a million years), so through a mutual friend, I got to hang out with him several times when he was here. In all my years of conventions and meeting my movie heroes, I’ve never met someone who is more down to earth and honest than Reggie Bannister. Really. Just the nicest and coolest guy you’d ever want to meet. The planet needs more people like Reggie Bannister.
True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2018. 342 pages.
By Don Coscarelli
Having the chance to see Bubba Ho-Tep in the theater with the director Don Coscarelli in attendance is well worth me traveling into Chicago for it. Even more so if Coscarelli is there promoting his new autobiography as well! Hearing him talk about the book after the screening made me want to dive into it right away. In fact, I started reading this the next day. And two weeks later to the day, I finished it. If you want to get the gist of this review without having to read it all, just go by the book. It is one of the most entertaining biographies I’ve read in a long time. But if you want more details, read on.
I’ve always admired Coscarelli and his work, especially the Phantasm films, and have met the man more than a few times at different conventions over the years. Each and every time I have met him, he has been one of the most genuine and friendly person you could meet. In fact, as me and a friend we’re waiting outside the theater for the book signing, Coscarelli walks up to us and says “Hi, I’m Don. Are you hear for the singing and movie?” Such a class act.
Phans of director Don Coscarelli take note! This true independent filmmaker will be coming to Chicago’s Music Box Theatre to celebrate the release of his autobiography, True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking, as well as a screening of his film Bubba Ho-Tep (2002).
His book gives us story after story of working in the filmmaking industry, but still able to remain independent and not be sucked into the evil world of Hollywood, one thing that I’ve always admired about him. He would continue to turn out very unique and unusual films, always creating entertaining pictures, from his Phantasm series, to the dark and strange comedies Bubba Ho-Tep and John Dies at the End, Coscarelli continues to shine as a truly independent and dedicated craftsman to the industry. And we get to read about all those stories in his book, which we can only imagine how many good ones he has to tell. Such as having his own office on Universal Studios’ lot while he was still in his teens, or where he almost drowns actress Catherine Keener, to setting his face on fire during the making of Phantasm, to even meeting and working with heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio.
Don Coscarelli. The man that created an amazing cinema legacy with his Phantasm series, not to mention a few other incredible cinematic journeys he’s taken us on, and usually outside of the Hollywood system. I can’t even fathom how hard that must be, and to do for it for over 40 years.
But now he is coming out with a book called True Indie: Life and Death in Film Making, being published this October by St. Martin’s Press. The 320 page book will be filled with tons of behind-the-scenes stories from over the years from his different films, such as “like setting his face on fire during the making of Phantasm, hearing Bruce Campbell’s most important question before agreeing to star in Bubba Ho-Tep, and turning Phantasm into a franchise phenomenon.”
While the book will be filled with some crazy stories, it will also “serve as a crash course on the indie film world”, one that Coscarelli is more than experienced in. That is the one of the many things that I’ve always admired about Coscarelli, that he never sold the Phantasm off to some major studio, but decided to keep it so he could have control over it. Lot of kudos to him for that.
So make sure you add this book to your Amazon Wish List, or wherever you get your books, because I’m sure this one is going to be a great read.
This is a first for my little year-end round-ups and kind of surprised I didn’t about this before. With all these new Blu-rays coming out, there are times that seeing a film that we’ve seen countless times before, but now seeing in a restored, cleaned up, or whatever those crazy Blu-ray producers do, sometimes can be like watching the movie for the first time. I had more than a couple of those instances happen this year.
The first one was seeing the new Blu-ray of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm (1979). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this amazing film, from in the theater, at drive-ins, countless times on VHS and even DVD. But when I started watching the new Blu-ray…wow. When the part comes up with Tommy’s funeral, and Michael is watching the Tall Man put his casket in the hearse by himself, I could hear this noise coming from the back speakers. Wait…is that rain? Then I notice the beads of rain running off the casket as the Tall Man picks it up. W-T-F? That is the kind of clarity these guys did on this film. Simply amazing. If you’re going to be one of those that complains because they changed something with the spheres, in a shot that last seconds, then you are missing out on so much more. I’m not one for double-dipping, but this is a must.
Once again, the Skyline Drive-In Theatre in Shelbyville, IN, will be having their annual Super Monster Movie Fest, which is two nights of four classic features. This year’s lineup definitely has a theme to it and looks just amazing, as usual. We’ve been to this event for the last 3 years have had a blast each and every time, and plan on being there again. They have another great list of films that will be awesome to see on the big screen, especially some of the older titles. Here is what they’ve announced:
We all know that most horror fans just love some flying drilling spheres, right? And even though we have the incredible book Phantasm Exhumed by Dustin McNeill, there’s never too many books on the movies we love, especially when their written by scholars like McNeill and Rue Morgue’s John Bowen.
Continuing their publications of books on a variety of subjects, such as the their 200 Alternative Horror Films You Need to See or Horror Movie Heroes, each packed full of useful information for those who wish to learn more about this great genre. They are now tackling the one and only Phantasm, Don Coscarelli’s 1979 classic film of a young boy coming of age and battling terrors from beyond.
With participation of Coscarelli, as well as exclusive interviews with the usual Phan-favorites Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and many more, Mr. Bowen will take us on a journey through this strange world of the Tall Man and his minions, covering the whole series. It will also feature Roger Avary on his Phantasm epic that he wrote but was never able to get made. I’ve heard many of stories about this and can’t wait to hear more from the man who wrote it.
So if you are a Phan, then you damn well you’re going to be picking up a copy. So why wait and just pre-order it now, which you can do by clicking HERE. I know I’ll be adding it to our library, so why don’t you?
In case you had any free weekends left open next month, Flashback Weekend is going to help you fill it. On Saturday October 8th, they will be holding a 12-hour marathon of classic horror films at the Muvico Rosemont Theaters. You’ll get to see six features on the big screen all for the one low price of $20. Here’s what the lineup has in store for you:
12pm – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
2pm – Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
4pm – Fright Night (1985)
6pm – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
8pm – Phantasm: Remastered (1979)
10pm – Phantasm V: Ravager (2016)
Just a reminder, this is the newly remastered print of Phantasm that was supervised by J.J. Abrams. Plus, you’ll get to the lastest installment of Coscarelli’s series with a screening of Phantasm V: Ravager! Of course, getting to see these other classics on the big screen is always a treat, especailly the original Night of the Living Dead. That alone is worth the price of admission. There will be horror vendors, prizes, and more. To get your tickets, head over to http://www.carmike.com
Chicago’s own Music Box Theatre has started to announce some titles for their 12th annual 24-hour marathon which takes place on October 15th, starting at noon and running through to noon on Sunday the 16th. We’ve been to every single one of these marathons and have always had a great time. The Music Box is one of my personal favorite theaters in Chicago and the crowds that come in here for these marathons are die-hard fans and are actually coming into see the films and have a good time….not just to party. Nothing wrong with that mind you, but not in the theater while the movies are screening. So we’re looking for another incredible lineup and a lot of fun. From what they have announced so far, I think I might be spending some of my time in there watching them!
Here are the list of titles that they have announced so far:
Next month, at the annual Flashback Weekend will be taking place at the Crown Plaza, in Rosemont, IL., one of the many guests that will be attending is legendary director Don Coscarelli, the man who gave us the highly memorable film Phantasm. Phans had been hearing that the original film was getting the remastered treatment for an upcoming release, but now you can have the chance to see this new print screened at a theater!