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Will We Ever Get A Phantasm Remake From Don Coscarelli?

Remakes, sequels and reboots are all the rage these days, and no genre is safe from it — least of all horror. From 2018's "Halloween" reboot that only acknowledged the original movie to the upcoming "Scream" reboot/sequel, classic horror franchises are as alive as ever. One exception to this rule, however, seems to be "Phantasm," the cult classic '70s horror film that spawned four sequels. Talks of a remake have persisted for years, but original writer and director Don Coscarelli has offered sparse updates on the status of such a venture.

"Phantasm" was released in 1979, and it was not exactly warmly welcomed by critics at the time. Still, as noted by USA Today, it managed to gross around $20 million at the box office on a budget of only around $300,000, making it a runaway success for everyone involved. This led to the aforementioned sequels and an eventual re-evaluation from modern critics, some of who now consider the original film a masterpiece due to its surrealism (per Time Out London). "Phantasm" focuses on young Mike (Michael Baldwin) as he battles against the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), an evil, supernatural undertaker.

While this outlandish concept seems tailor-made for a modern remake or reboot of some kind, the reality of such an endeavor is not that simple. Efforts to get a "Phantasm" remake off of the ground have stalled many times, and Don Coscarelli believes there are some hurdles that could make the project difficult to complete.

A Phantasm remake is a long shot

At one point, New Line Cinema was set to remake "Phantasm" with Don Coscarelli producing, but nothing ever came of it. Instead, fans were treated to "Phantasm: Ravager" in 2016, which turned out to be the final film involving Angus Scrimm, who passed away shortly after production wrapped on the film. While talks of a full-on remake have continued, Coscarelli revealed back in 2016 that there are "no plans" (via Bloody Disgusting) for one to happen. However, the filmmaker was not outright opposed to the idea of a remake, saying that "nothing is ever off the table." While this contradicts what Coscarelli said in 2012, apparently he has changed his mind on the subject.

The "Phantasm" remake would still have a major "casting hurdle," regardless, according to Coscarelli, and it all comes down to finding the right Tall Man actor. Finding someone with an imposing stature who is both commanding and a good actor is, well, certainly a tall order, but not an impossible one. That aside, there is still the slight possibility that the filmmakers could decide continue the main series and release a sixth "Phantasm" film. How they'd do that without Scrimm is unclear, but stranger things have happened. Of course, there's also the possibility that fans are treated to both a remake and a continuation, similar to what's happened to the "Child's Play" franchise. 

With the lack of updates over the last few years, however, a "Phantasm" remake seems more and more unlikely to happen anytime soon. Perhaps when studios have milked other horror franchises to the point of being dry, they will again turn their attention to "Phantasm."