What is This Thing?: Phantoms (1998)

Just what is this thing? Chaos, chaos in the flesh.

Phantoms is a 1998 film that is based on the book by Dean Koontz. The story is very creepy, and I was surprised at how well the film was done. I thought it was going to be done in a very stupid, silly way; but it was the essence of creepiness. The only thing I didn’t care for was Liev Schreiber, I felt that he didn’t portray the character very well in the beginning. I wouldn’t have chosen Rose McGowan either, but she did surprisingly well. I loved Ben Affleck as the sexy Sheriff and love interest. I love Ben Affleck though, I mean who doesn’t? They changed the film from the book, as expected, but the changes do not destroy the film, thank goodness. If you’d like to watch the film go here. So the film starts out with Dr. Jennifer Pailey bringing her trouble-making sister Lisa to live with her. They are hoping the change of scenery will help straighten her out as she was involved with gang members in Los Angelas.

I want to go back to LA

When they reach the town, it is empty. Like really empty. There is no one out and about even though they are in a ski town, in the middle of winter with great snow.

Gilmore girls creep

They continue on home. When Jennifer gets there she finds her housekeeper dead. All the life had been sucked out of her and she looks burned.

[Note: Pic from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms not Phantoms

[Note: Pic from The Giant Behemoth not Phantoms]

OMG

The girls are widely freaked and decided to head to the sheriff’s. But there is one problem, their car won’t work.

Oh no!

Oh no!

The girls hurry on to the sheriff’s office where they find a deputy, burned and blackened. He appears to have shot his gun at something, but they don’t find any traces of it, except shells. Dr. Jennifer grabs a gun and the two run off to the bakery, as it is getting dark and they are really freaked out. They head to the baker’s, running quickly as they hear sounds as if someone is following them. When they get there the oven goes off revealing severed heads!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

The girls are completely grossed out and confused when the Sheriff (who ex-FBI) finds them.

Hello Sexy!

Hello Sexy!

With him are his two deputies Steve Shanning (Nicky Katt) and Stuart Wargle (Liev Shreiber) have come to investigate. They decide the best thing to do is go to the sheriff’s department, and just when they do every single horn, siren, whistle, bell, etc. goes off and then suddenly stops. The only lights left on are down on the Candleglow Inn up the street.

What the

They check it out and see that only four guests are registered. The Sheriff and Stu go upstairs, while the girls stay behind with deputy Steve.

While the sheriff is upstairs he goes into a room and starts looking through an opening in a closet. When he does he sees a vision of a young boy with a gun, which disappers. You see when the Sheriff was FBI he accidentally shot a boy, which made him quit and turn to small town life.

Aw! Look at his face. :(

Aw! Look at his face. 😦

Stu goes in the other room and finds a beautiful, dead woman. He sits next to her and puts his hand up her leg…

ew! Gross Yuck

What a perv!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

Then the Sheriff walks in. He lets it go, even though he is severely grossed out as he knows what Stu was doing, but he needs every man he can get as he has no idea what the situation is.

The Sheriff has Stu watch the hall as he continues checking things out. Stu comes on to Lisa who tells him flat out no, she is not digging that.

I don't think so

Dr. Jennifer joins the Sheriff and they discover that a bathroom locked from the inside (that has no other windows or doors) is empty, with something written on the mirror in lipstick. The writing says “Dr. Timothy Flyte–The Ancient Enemy“.

Phantoms Timothy Flyte Ancient Enemy mirror Note

 

The two have no idea who Dr. Flyte is but intend on finding out.  In another empty room they find a bunch of metal objects like jewelry, buttons, watches, gold teeth, a pacemaker, etc.; concluding that this thing, whatever it is strips a person completely of everything, if it chooses.

EW!

EW!

They go back into the lobby to regroup and figure out their next step. But then they suddenly hear a woman crying out “Help me!” and Deputy Steve rushes out to save her. The Sheriff follows him, but when he gets outside all that is left of Steve is his shoes and a gun.

What the

They head back to the Sheriff’s office and put the dead deputy in a body bag. They then call for help–military, Dr. Flyte, anybody, but the line was so bad they don’t know whether or not it went through.

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! [Note: from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Bryce and Stu go through the dept. and pull out all their ammunition getting ready for–whatever the thing is that is trying to attack them. The lights go out and the creature takes on a Alien/The Thing (1982) feel. The next thing you know, Stu is dead.

victim

Too be honest, good riddance. He was a creep and I didn’t like him.

IDon'tTrustHimGreatGatsby

They also put Stu in a body bag and wait out the night.

We then switch to another part of the country- Dr. Flyte. Dr. Flyte (Peter O’Toole) is a tabloid worker in New York City. He used to a professor at Oxford, but they let him go as they felt his writings were “too silly”.

Phantoms Swine Peter O' Toole

 

Two FBI agents ask him to go to the small, winter, town of Snowfield to help solve what the “thing” is.

Back in Snowfield the three survivors are trying to figure out what to do next. Lisa tries to take a nap while the Sheriff tells Dr. Jen about how the monster called up the incident with the young boy. The two are interrupted when Lisa asks the Sherif to walk with her to the bathroom. He checks it and finds it clear. Lisa begins to smoke when she hears a squealing noise coming out of the drain.

Psycho-Shower

She checks out the bathroom stalls (much like Scream) and finds the Deputy Stu there!

im-back

 

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

In the book the “Phantom thing” was more like the Blob from The Blob (1958); although it could take on the shape of other things, or create small phantom pieces of itself. In the film, however, the “Phantom” embodies the form of Stu, which is understandable from a filmmaker point of view. It doesn’t copying The Blob at all, as I mentioned earlier copying The Thing. Just like The Thing, the “phantom” takes on the appearance of something. This wasn’t a horrible decision as I bet it was easier to film. They also did a lot of blackout or limited lighting when the creature was in its true form, which allowed it to remain creepy as your imagination creates it. The director of It (1990)  should have used the same technique, it would have been a better film.

I didn’t really care for Liev Schreiber, and thought he could have been much creepier. Instead he just comes off as a pervert. This film has actually ruined him for me in all other films. When I watch Kate & LeopoldScream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Lee Daniel’s the Butler, or X-Men Origins: Wolverine; I keep expecting him to do something perverted to all the women.

Yes I am

Yes I am

Anyways, back to the story. So the Sheriff goes into the bathroom and can’t find anything. They go down to check the body bags, but both are empty.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile Dr. Flyte is on route to Snowfield with military General Leland Copperfield, some mobile labs, an armored strike van, etc–all ready to take on whatever the “thing” is. They ask Dr. Flyte about “the Ancient Enemy”. Dr. Flyte explains that there were creatures, he calls “Ancient Enemy” who are amoeboid shapeshifters. This Ancient Enemy rarely feeds, but when it does, the effects are devastating and it was theorized that the Enemy either caused or aided in the extinction of the dinosaurs, the destruction of the Mayan civilizationRoanoke disappearance, the missing army of Nanking, China in 1939, etc. And the town appears to have been built on the home of one of these “Ancient Enemies”.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

The group arrives to Snowfield and the three survivors come to meet the army. The next thing you know, “the thing” has taken out almost the whole team using its shape-shifting qualities and the pipes/sewers. Now these scenes are pretty intense. I was watching them and screaming and my roommates were all, are you ok? I highly recommend watching this film.

General Copperfield is last of the military to be killed; as a pair of oily black tentacles seeps up through the pavement, penetrates his hazmat suit, and smothers him.

[Note: From The Mist]

[Note: From The Mist]

This leaves Dr. Flyte, Sheriff Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa as the remaining survivors..

He’s dead but the “Phantom” uses his body as a mouthpiece and begins speaking to the crowd.

 “My Flesh. Study it. Write the gospel. But do not try to leave. Witnesses to the Miracle.”

Phantoms

The body then falls to the ground and an oily black substance comes out along with a gecko, of which the group is supposed to get a sample of. Dr. Flyte begins to analyze the sample, coming to the conclusion it has lived in the depths of the earth for eons, growing to immense size, and absorbing knowledge from its prey. It can separate off parts of Itself to send as drones, warriors, phantoms, etc.–having them assume the shapes of anything or anyone It has absorbed; even of people or monsters from memories and dreams.With these, It has manipulated Bryce, Jenny, and Lisa into bringing Dr. Flyte here, to be Its prophet, and to write Its gospel. For It has begun to think of Itself as God–or the Devil. Indestructible. All-Powerful. Immortal. Unstoppable.

This is bad. Very bad.

This is bad. Very bad.

Dr. Flyte’s analysis reveals that It is similar to oil and if they are able to make the same kind of bacteria that eats away at oil spills, they may just have a chance at stopping it. They create cultures and prepare for the final battle.

Dr. Flyte goes out and calls to the creature.

Fantomy_Phantoms_1998_1266246010-25163.jpg

He tells It that he needs to see all of it in order to write Its “gospel”. He says that the others are creating a weapon against It, that they don’t believe in It like he does. It appears first as a single person, but then becomes all 400 residents of the town, merging and melding into one swirling mass, which resolves Itself into an immense, hideous, upright millipede.

The Sheriff, Jenny and Lisa run and fire the guns loaded with the bacteria culture  into It. This causes It to scream.  Jenny and Lisa run for shelter into the nearby deputy’s office, to reload their guns but are pursued by a drone of Deputy Stu.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you've got some guns, ladies, you wouldn't shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] Deputy Wargle: That's a dumb question.

Deputy Wargle: Oh, you’ve got some guns, ladies, you wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man, would you? [both women cock shotguns and point them at him] That’s a dumb question.

They empty their shotguns into him, knocking him down, and blowing away huge chunks of his legs and arms. Tentacles shoot out of his arm and leg stumps. The girls run away and and he follows, but is killed by Dr. Jen as she shoots him with the last of the culture.

The bigger entity is falling apart and the Sheriff follows the last of It down into the sewer, finding him face to face with the boy that he killed. He hesitates, and while he does so, a tentacle shoots out of the boy’s mouth, and knocks him down. His gun with the culture is stolen by It. It pulls the vials out and starts taunting the Sheriff. In response to It’s mockings the Sheriff pulls out his gun and shoots the vials, causing the bacteria to spread all over.

Hello Sexy!

With one final ear-shattering scream It is gone, and Bryce makes his way back to the others. As a helicopter arrives to rescue them, Dr. Flyte announces to the others that the Entity has won after all: It wanted him to tell the world, and that’s just what he’s going to do. Everything seems to end well, or well enough. Dr. Flyte has his story and will win back his prestige; Sheriff Bryce  is no longer traumatized about killing the boy; Dr. Jen and Sheriff Bryce have found each other; and Lisa and Dr. Jen have bonded. Sounds as perfect an ending you can get for a horror film.

TheEnd_Title_2

Uh, uh uh. Not quite yet!

We switch to a scene in a bar where Dr. Flyte is in TV talking about It and how it may still be out there waiting. One of the guys in the bar turns to his companion and says its a lot of hooey. A strange laugh is heard and at the end of the bar is Deputy Stu Wrangle, showing that It is still alive.

dun-dun-duuuun

So it really was a good film, and I’m telling you the scenes with the creature are super creepy!!! You’ll love them if you love scary movies!

phantoms-

So unlike the other facebook cover pages I have made (and you should have guessed by now that practically every post has one) I made two for this one as the first one wasn’t working out right. Here’s the second one for those of you interested.

1998_phantoms-

Comment below which you think is better!

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

To go to the previous post, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts That Lie Hidden Within

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For more monster movies, go to Let Them Fight

For more films based on books, go tA Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Rose McGowan, go to What’s Your Favorite Scary Movie?

For more on Ben Affleck, go to Pot o’ Gold

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The Hunger Games: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

So the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is based on the beloved children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Thew story is of a young, poor, low-income, starving, boy who is chosen to compete against four other children to not only win enough chocolate and candy for their lifetime, but also a grand, secret prize.  Very Interesting, I know, but you are probably wondering what does that have to do with The Hunger Games? A young girl from a starving district competing to the death against 23 others to win food for her family and community?

This:

1stHungerGames

Now it is not exactly like The Hunger Games, Willy Wonka is a nice guy who really wants to help people, Charlie is the only poor, suffering guy, and you hate everyone else as they are whiny brats. But, there are some similarities. So now presenting the Hunger Games: The Chocolate Factory!

And it's going to be fabulous!

And it’s going to be fabulous!

So what’s different for this version is that we will have one tribute, from only five districts, all competing to survive Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. All who survive win chocolate, the ultimate winner gets the factory themselves, food and money for their families. Let the games begin!!!

District 1

District 1’s industry is making luxury items for the Capitol. It is considered to be the wealthiest district, the only other wealthier area being the Capitol itself.

Now presenting our tribute for district one

verucasalt-cashmere

Veruca Salt

Strengths:

  • Loud voice that causes immense pain
  • Very good at manipulating people and getting what she wants
  • Has people to do hard things for her
  • Doesn’t take no for an answer
  • Can cry on command
  • Isn’t afraid to lie or crush others to get what she wants
  • Questions everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Won’t take no for an answer to the point where she knocks herself out
  • Whines all the time

Can Be Defeated:

  • By a kick in the pants
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Boat Rides
  • Seasickness
  • Geese (Especially those who are golden)

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 3

District 3’s primary industry is general electronics of many types, though it is known for also making various mechanical products such as automobiles and firearms. These tributes are always skilled with electronics.

Now presenting our tribute for district three

MikeTeeveebeetee

Mike Teevee

Strengths:

  • Knows every TV show that has a gun in it (huge pop culture junkie)
  • Can use knowledge gained from TV in real life
  • Can sit still for hours
  • Questions everything
  • Can shoot a fake gun
  • Doesn’t scare or get grossed out easily
  • Willing to try new things
  • Eager volunteer

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Can’t be away from the TV
  • Will try to shoot anything and everything
  • Missing front teeth
  • Can’t read
  • Sometimes overeagerness to try new things leaves him in bad situations
  • Doesn’t listen to rules

Can Be Defeated:

  • Bubble Foam
  • Saying NO! and meaning it
  • Books
  • By shrinking him

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 6

District 6’s industry is transportation

Now presenting our tribute for district six

District_6_Female_VioltB

Violet Beauragarde

Strengths:

  • Chewing gum champ
  • Can chew and talk
  • Rather chew than eat
  • Fast talker
  • Likes to save things
  • Will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means losing friends
  • Bossy
  • Head-strong and Obstinate
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Can wheel and deal like no other
  • Delights in pain of others

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Hard to understand through constant chewing
  • A braggart
  • Doesn’t listen to “no”
  • Does whatever she wants
  • Picks her nose

Can Be Defeated:

  • Blueberries
  • The color blue or purple
  • Throwing away her three-month old gum
  • By rolling her

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 9

District 9’s industry is grain. Little is known about this district, just that there are lots of farmland for grain.

Now presenting our tribute for district nine

AugGloopDistrict_9_Male

Augustus Gloop

Strengths:

  • Can eat ANYTHING
  • Never stops eating
  • Is one huge mass that won’t easily be pushed around
  • Fast runner when it comes to food
  • Likes to be first in everything

Weaknesses:

  • Is a spoiled brat
  • Has no patience
  • No self-control
  • Is always hungry
  • Can’t swim
  • Doesn’t like small spaces
  • Doesn’t listen

Can Be Defeated:

  • By not giving him food and having him starve
  • Drowning in water or chocolate
  • Sticking him in  tight spot, such as a pipe
  • Let him go first so he can face things and die

Chocolate-Sweets-Allsorts-180x940

District 12

District 12’s industry is coal. This district is one of the poorest districts. The district has not had a winner of the Hunger Games emerge from the ranks of its residents for over twenty-four years.

Now presenting our tribute for district twelve

Peeta-Mellark-charliebucket

Charlie Bucket

Strengths:

  • Has a heart of gold
  • Cares for others
  • Would never steal from someone
  • Always tries to help others out
  • Thinks first of others needs
  • Hard worker
  • Knows how to make things last
  • Can get by on little food
  • Trustworthy
  • Listens to directions

Weaknesses:

  • Is an enabler
  • Has a passion for fizzy-lifting drinks
  • Easily lead astray
  • Gulps food too fast

Can Be Defeated:

  • Fans

LET THE GAME BEGIN

artworks-000067269986-isa2tq-original

MAY THE ODDS EVER BE IN YOUR FAVOR!

If you liked this post, check out Sucky Sequels