**Warning: there will obviously be some spoilers here so do NOT read until you’ve had a chance to see Phantasm: Ravager**

I was fortunate to be in the audience for the world premiere screening of Phantasm: Ravager while at Fantastic Fest a few weeks back now, and it was an experience that left me with a big goofy grin on my face once it was finished. As a fan, I thought the way David Hartman managed to tie up some loose ends for the beloved characters of the Phantasm universe was handled incredibly well, and with a lot of love.

*Last Chance Spoiler Warning*






So imagine my surprise upon leaving said screening and seeing several folks who were downright upset over how Ravager concluded, calling Reggie’s death a slap in the face of the entire franchise, negating the events of the preceding films. I was stunned, particularly because the Phantasm films have never been about being ‘definitive,’ it’s always been more about the bigger questions out there surrounding life and death, alternate realities and the universe as a whole, and those aren’t things that can be easily tied up into a neat little bow. To me, I saw Reggie’s death an inevitability because, guess what? – we all die, but that fate was only just one fate of many considering the different parallel universes we saw come into play throughout Phantasm: Ravager.

I decided that during my interview the next day I would break my own professional code of not discussing spoilers by chatting with both Hartman as well as Don Coscarelli about the finale of Phantasm: Ravager and what it really means for these characters, this series and the Phantasm universe. Here are some highlights from our discussion which I think could be an interesting read for fans now that Ravager is finally in theaters this weekend and is currently available on VOD as well.

David Hartman: This ending has two jobs. One, it is a nostalgic, you know. It's also reminding the characters were dealing with old age and stuff. We've got decades with these characters, but like you said,  there's alternate realities going on here. For me, it was a bit of showing these different realities that we've come across through four films. It's almost a reminder to the audience of what's taken place, again dealing with these different realities.

Don Coscarelli: I can clear it up even more, because I can remember early on when Dave was telling me that his intentions involved this idea of confronting old age and bringing in a concept like dementia into this, which is a real-world horror that a certain portion of us are all going to have to possibly deal with. Whereas in the first movie you had a boy who could be just having fantasies and dreams, but then you come toward the end and you've got an old man dealing with, "Am I dealing with dementia, or am I really fighting a battle for the planet?"

I remember that Dave had talked about that we have several of these streams which is one where Reggie's out in the desert, one where he's in the old folk's home, and one where he's in this war zone. In a way, the final question for Reggie is, "Which path does he want?" I interpret it when I see it, I'm not sure if I'm right exactly, but it feels like Reggie was going to die in the old folks home, but what he really wanted to do was to live and continue the fight with his friends, and be –

David Hartman: Like he says in the movie, it’s all about loyalty. Loyalty is a big part of that, and that's always been the brotherhood of these three characters.

Don Coscarelli: Also, the beauty of what Dave's done is that it's not that defined. I think we also knew that if this ends up, as we knew it might, this might very well be the last Phantasm as we're making it, we feel an honor to service the fans to give them a full meal that they can chew on for a number of years to come, because there may not be any more coming, you know?

David Hartman: That's what Phantasm always was for me, and I think I said it in the theater. It's one of those franchises that has more questions than answers, but that's what gets us all talking. For me the movie is that it does spur conversation afterwards. That its job.

Don Coscarelli: One of the other brilliant things Dave did is in the end credits. We went in a lot of different directions while trying to put this film together, and some of them we abandoned because they didn't work. Dave said, “Rather than just throw all this crap away, let's collate it and put it with a red theme over the end titles.” If you watch, you can see a lot of different adventures that weave throughout that whole end title credit sequence. If this was your last Phantasm, you could study that critically, and see all these adventures that could have happened or did happen, or never did happen at all. It felt like it was right in line with the rest of the series and was a perfect note to end on – for me, anyway.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.