Tuesday, September 23, 2014

15 Underrated Villains #15: The Tall Man (Phantasm)

My first entry on this list is a bit of a strange case. A lot of people talk about how beloved the Tall Man is, and I agree he is. But while there's been four (soon to be five) Phantasm movies, outside of cult audiences, Tall Man doesn't get a lot of love.

I first heard about the Tall Man when I first got into horror movies in the late 80's. I would religiously buy Fangoria, and to their credit they pushed the hell out of him in their pages. I always saw him as the tier below the big group, along with the Leprechaun, Candyman, and someone else you'll be seeing on this list. There's nothing wrong with being slightly below guys like Leatherface obviously, but if someone wants to expand their horror knowledge, this is the guy to start with.

The Tall Man, to the best of my knowledge (and it does get a bit murky as the films get a bit more convoluted) is an inter-dimensional alien who steals people, makes them Jawa sized, and uses them as slaves. Now what occupation best serves that purpose? No, not carnival worker you asshole, but a mortician. Things seem to be going to plan for ol' Tally until he catches the attention of nosy kid Mike, who catches the Tall Man casually tossing a loaded coffin into a hearse single handed. Of course being a kid Mike has to investigate further, and ends up pissing the big guy off.

I admit I haven't seen part four (Oblivion), but the first and to a lesser extent the second film are really required viewing. It's very disorienting not knowing what's real and what isn't. A big part of what makes the Tall Man work is Angus Scrimm, who is absolutely terrifying in the role.

And now what you guys want to see...video footage of the Tall man. I thought this scene was a perfect example of why I put Tall man on the list. Nothing worse than seeing a giant angry looking alien casually stroll down the street.


  1. Well I can't take any issue with your first pick. Dammit! On a related note, Dustin McNeill's new(ish) book Phantasm Exhumed is a fantastic examination of the entire Phantasm franchise for anyone who's interested in knowing more. Well worth a look. It even features personal journal entries that Angus Scrimm wrote while filming the movies. Can't wait for Ravager!

  2. Awesome choice! The Tall Man deserves the respect (and compressed bodies) of horror fans everywhere. I couldn't imagine a villain list that didn't include him.


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