The Battle For the Ultimate Phantasm! (Epic DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Phantasm is one of the truly great horror movies of the 1970s.  It now has four sequels, all of which have stayed under the creative control of writer/ director Don Coscarelli.  And as I doubt many of you guys need me to tell you, there are presently two dueling Phantasm boxed sets: one from Well Go USA and the other from Arrow in the UK, with different presentations and special features.  Well, we're going to compare those now, along with the individual single layer Well Go blu-rays, the famous Anchor Bay Phantasm sphere DVD set, the US Anchor Bay DVDs, the Scream Factory blu, a German workprint DVD set of Phantasm 2, the Phantasm 5 DVD and even the original, non-anamorphic MGM DVD.  The funeral is about to begin, sir!
2007 Anchor Bay DVD
Phantasm is a fantastic (in all senses of the word), imaginative meditation on youth and death.  It's crazy to see the natural continuation from Kenny & Co. to this, despite Phantasm still being completely wild and unique.  Everything about it just clicks, from the likeable characters to the innovative imagery - how many horror flicks of any decade have matched the spheres?  The Tall Man is one of the great villains, the visuals and story are wildly ambitious while still maintaining a strong atmosphere, especially given its low budget, and few films will have viewers so completely mystified as to what they might see next.  Even in 2017, if you've never seen Phantasm before, you won't be able to predict what's around each corner.  It's even got one of those great, catchy themes, right alongside Halloween and The Exorcist.  It's a true masterpiece of the genre.
2000 MGM DVD on top; 2017 Well Go (50) blu-ray below.
So let's talk changes.  The new blu-rays (from both Well Go and Arrow) are based on brand new 4k scans of the original negatives, as tweaked by J.J. Abrams and his company, Bad Robot.  Awesome!  But, fans should go in aware that they've also taken a few creative liberties.  The infamous yellow bucket has been painted out (we'll come back to that a little later), some of the framing has been adjusted, and some of the special effects have been replaced, as you can see above.  Happily, I can report that the new spheres and other effects do not look like tacky CGI animations painted on the screen and most would probably say they're genuine improvements.  It would've been ideal if at least one of the sets had also included a traditional 4k of the original negatives without the alterations, but this is "Han shot second" scenario.  I would definitely cop one if it ever came out; it does detract a little from the charm of a scrappy indie film when you add high-tech cheats decades later.  But I definitely can't say I'm displeased with what we've got.
2000 MGM DVD
So what Phantasm discs do we have for the comparison today?  I've been preparing for this one, so I don't think you'll be disappointed.  We have the original 2000 DVD debut from MGM, a pretty packed special edition that unfortunately just wasn't anamorphic.  Then we've got the 2005 Anchor Bay UK DVD, from the great epic sphere collection, where the original four films are packed together in a very cool looking sphere.  And yeah, they were all anamorphic.  Next we have the 2007 US DVD, when they finally brought it over to the US.  Now we move into High Definition, starting with the original 2016 solo release from Well Go USA, which was issued on a single layer disc with fewer extras.  Then we have the full dual-layer 2017 Well Go blu, from their boxed set.  And finally we have Arrow's 2017 blu from the UK set.
Top to bottom: MGM, AB UK, AB US, WG 25, WG 50, Arrow.
So let's see, where to even start?  Well, again, the MGM disc is non-anamorphic, whereas all the others are.  And it's interesting to see all the shifts in color timing.  You would think the Anchor Bay US and UK discs would be identical, but nope.  Oh, and if you look carefully, you'll see the first set of shots is the infamous Yellow Bucket scene.  Anchor Bay fans have probably wondered what the fuss has been about all these years, because as you can see, their neat 1.85:1 framings nicely crop it out.  That's probably how it's always supposed to be seen and why the bucket was allowed to be there in the first place.  But MGM's 1.75:1 leaves it quite visible, as do the blu-rays, which all leave the mattes open to 1.78:1.
But as you can see, they stripped away the yellow... but still left the bucket in?  That's odd; I assumed they were going to digitally paint it out, by copying a few floor pixels over it.  Instead they created a ghost bucket.  I guess that's still an improvement, especially as the blus' lowered framing would've made the bucket even more prominent than ever before.  But if you're going to go in and mess about with the footage anyway, why not finish the job?
left to right: MGM, AB UK, AB US, WG 25, WG 50, Arrow.
Well, they all look a little light on grain, particularly for a low budget film from 1979.  Look at the blacks in the shot above; they're completely solid, with no grain.  I suspect Bad Robot may've done a little noise reduction, leaving the films a bit soft.  Still, it's not devoid of grain; this is no Dark Star situation, and there's no reasonable argument you could make where the blus don't handily trump even the best DVD.  As for Arrow vs. Well Go, there's really very little to distinguish between the blus, but the Arrow does seem to have slightly darker darks.

Both blus feature the original mono and fresh 5.1 audio tracks in DTS-HD (except Arrow's mono is equally uncompressed LPCM), with optional English subtitles.  Well go also includes a DTS-HD stereo mix.
As for special features, well, there sure is a lot to get through!  MGM started us off with a significantly packed special edition, including many of the extras still being released today.  In fact, strictly speaking, many of those first appeared on Image's 1996 laserdisc.  But here's what the MGM disc hit us with: audio commentary by Don Coscarelli, plus stars A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury, an introduction to the film by Angus Scrimm, nine deleted scenes, a nearly half hour 1979 television interview with Coscarelli and Scrimm, Fangoria convention footage with Scrimm speaking, a funny Phantasm-themed Fangoria commercial starring Scrimm, a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with Coscarelli and Bannister giving an audio commentary on vintage B-roll footage, audio tracks of the Phantasm disco theme and Thornbury performing "Sittin' Here At Midnight," a kooky Australian TV promo where they basically do a comedy sketch with Angus Scrimm as the tall man, and a bunch of trailers, TV spots and stills galleries.  It also has a nice 8-page booklet with a note to the collector by Coscarelli himself.

Now, it's worth noting that the Anchor Bay DVDs didn't just have discrepancies in their transfers, but also in their special features; they don't all match up.  Most of the meaty stuff, like the commentary, deleted scenes, the collection of Phantasmorgia outtakes (collectively titled Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball on the US DVD) and behind-the-scenes featurettes are on both, but for instance only the UK DVD had the Scrimm introduction.  Both releases have a new (at the time) documentary called Phantasmagoria, but the US version has a much shorter edit (only about 35 minutes) that removes the coverage of the sequels ...which makes sense, as it was sold by itself, as opposed to the UK disc which was in the sphere with all the sequels.
And the blu-rays have even come up with more, new stuff.  The early, individual release from Well Go only had a few features, but for their boxed set, they added a lot.  Now, Well Go has a new, second audio commentary (in addition to, not instead of, the original) by Coscarelli, co-producer Paul Pepperman and visual consultant Roberto Quezada, additional Coscarelli home movies (with no sound) and a television segment called Graveyard Carz about the Phantasm's classic Barracuda.  Arrow adds a "Los Angeles Premiere Experience," which is mostly an audio "commentary" of a live theater audience's reactions, though it does have a little video introduction as well.  More crucially, they add a brand new, almost half-hour documentary, featuring all new with interviews Coscarelli, Baldwin, Bannister, Kathy Lester and David Hartman, who directed the new Phantasm.

So each blu-ray boxed set carries over the old features and still manages to have some noteworthy exclusive extras (which continues all the way through the sequels and particularly the bonus discs).  And both sets also include a new Q&A with the cast and crew from the 2016 premiere of the new remaster.  But only Arrow carried over some of the more obscure older extras, like that funny Australian promo and the easter egg interview clips from the sphere set.  That means, yes, Arrow's set does include even more than in the specs they've been listing online, mostly hidden away as easter eggs; so don't forget to play around with your remote.  And don't get too hung up trying to keep track of which feature is missing from which set now; I'm coming back for a special features 'round up at the end of this post.
2009 Universal DVD
Moving on, Phantasm 2 is a bigger film than the original Phantasm, but far less imaginative.  Most of the wild imagery is just the same stuff repeated, with a bigger effects budget.  The story slightly expands, and adds some new characters and a bit more of an emphasis on action; but it almost feels like 50% remake.  Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm are back, but Bill Thornbury's character is out and A. Michael Baldwin's been replaced by James Le GrosPhantasm's entered the mainstream 80s horror scene, and it's certainly an entertaining thrill ride.  But the spheres having a new trick doesn't have the same impact as seeing the spheres for the first time, and the world's blandest psychic romance kinda drags things down.  Where Phantasm constantly surprised you, this one constantly delivers what you expect.
2004 Marketing Film DVD
So what do we have to look at for Phantasm 2?  Don't worry, you won't be disappointed.  First, we have an interesting 2004 2-disc set from Germany's Marketing Film, which has some unique extras and most tantalizing of all, the complete workprint (though, spoilers: it looks awful).  I believe that was Phantasm 2's debut on DVD, at least outside of Germany.  Then we have the film as part of the 2005 Anchor Bay UK sphere set.  Next, there's the 2009 barebones US release from Universal Studios, which was its debut State-side, at which point we move onto the HD versions, starting with Scream Factory's 2013 special edition blu.  Then, of course, we have Well Go's 2017 boxed set blu... which IS the Scream Factory disc (explained below).  And finally, of course, we have the blu-ray from Arrow's 2017 boxed set.
Top to bottom: MF, MF workprint, AB UK, Uni, SF, WG, Arrow.
If Scream Factory's and Well Go's screenshots look identical, they should.  They are literally the same disc.  They have a different label on them, but the contents are 100%, including opening with the same Scream Factory logos and everything.  But let's go through these bad boys.  Film Market's DVD is slightly open at 1.72:1 and has a very soft, video-tape like transfer.  But it's anamorphic and respectable enough for an old, cheap DVD.  The workprint of course looks like trash, and it's also interlaced with a giant time-code running over it, but it's interesting to see that it's somewhat open-matte (and somewhat horizontally cropped); and of course it's full of shots that aren't in the final film.  Anchor Bay comes around, though, and gives it a more professional look.  Clearer, cleaner and framed at a more rational 1.85:1, though their color-timing is a bit off.  Universal seems to be using the same core transfer, but has nice, bolder colors with just barely noticeably shifted framing.

Blu-wise, again, they're all basically the same.  Well Go and Scream Factory are, as I've kept saying, literally the same, and Arrow is using the same 1.85:1 transfer, too.  It's a different disc this time at least, and fans have been hoping it would be a better encode and eh...  If you do super close-ups, yeah, they're different.  But I can't really pick one out as superior.  If you zoom in super close, one patch of sky might be a little blockier, and another patch a little less, but neither disc appears consistently stronger, and it's so minute.  For all intents and purposes, you can call all the blus equal, and not that much better than some of their DVD counterparts.  They are better, don't get me wrong, but it's an underwhelming upgrade to HD.  This would've been a great opportunity for a new scan, but oh well.  It's fine.

Audio-wise, we get DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1 discs on both discs (except, again, Arrow's 2.0 is LPCM), and both have optional English subtitles.
As for special features, things are a little simpler than with the first film, but there's still tons to sift through.  The Universal DVD disappoints with nothing but the trailer, but the Marketing Film already had a bunch of stuff.  Marketing's 2-disc set basically compiles a bunch of pre-existing footage, most notably including a 2-hour Behind Phantasm II, which is 90 minutes of raw, behind-the-scenes footage by the crew, followed by isolated scenes from the workprint.  They then include the same 10-minute featurette of Scrimm at a 1989 Fangoria convention that most of the other Phantasm 1 discs include.  On the second disc, they also have over an hour of Phantasmania convention footage, and another half-hour of Fangoria convention footage with Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, and then Baldwin and Bannister talk about Phantasm 3.
Then Anchor Bay came through with a lot of goodies like an audio commentary with Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister, that 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria convention appearance, an interview with Greg Nicotero, plus a stills gallery, TV spots and a trailer.  If you're interested in special features not included on the blus, you'll want to hold onto, or track down, that Marketing Film DVD.  And if you want to be super completist, each disc in the Anchor Bay UK sphere set includes an exclusive easter egg, which includes a brief, amusing video clip from their documentary interviews.

Before Well Go and Arrow got to it, Scream Factory released this one on blu, and they came up with a bunch of new extras: a new, 47 minute 'making of' doc called The Ball Is Back, deleted and additional scenes, two nine minute collections of behind the scenes footage (portions of what was on the Marketing Film disc) and an old, 18-minute short educational film where Angus Scrimm plays Abraham Lincoln(!).  Now, remember, the Well Go disc IS the Scream Factory disc; so it has 100% all of these features, no more, no less.  But Arrow has everything from those discs plus another Realising Phantasm 2 doc, this time about 20 minutes, featuring interviews with Coscarelli, Bannister, Baldwin, Hartman, Mark Shostrom and Dean Gates.
2007 Anchor Bay DVD
Phantasm 3: Lord Of the Dead is silly.  It's like Coscarelli wanted to take in the influence of goofy preteen movies of the 90s with cartoon-like characters and campier humor.  But it still finds time to squeeze in the Phantasm, too; and hey, A. Michael Baldwin is back in the lead, and Bill Thornbury returns, too!  But if you're not a phan, you may nto be prepared to take the bad with the good this time around.  There's a strong analogy between Phantasm 3 and its series and Hellraiser 3 and its series.  You have to be a big enough fan to stick around for the second unnecessary sequel, but detached enough to enjoy the fun they're trying to have while tossing the earnestness of the previous works out the window.  There's certainly enough special effects and supernatural fun to be had if you can push all of your expectations and involvement with the previous installments out of your head.  And it does regain one strength from the original: you won't be predicting what's around every corner.
Phantasm 3 hasn't been released quite as many times as its predecessors, but we have four editions for you tonight.  We start with Anchor Bay UK's 2005 sphere edition, and then bounce right over to their 2007 US DVD.  For blu-rays, we of course have the 2017 Well Go boxed set disc and Arrow's 2017 boxed disc.  Not a lot of diversity between these releases.
Top to bottom: AB UK, AB US, WG, Arrow.
Like I said, not a lot of diversity.  The framing between the Anchor Bay DVDs is shifted, even though, again, you'd think they'd be the same.  The US DVD seems to have squeezed the image and uncovered a little more to the left to turn 1.78 to 1.85:1.  It's also way too red.  The older discs have a really soft, poorly compressed feel to them that the blu-rays happily improve upon.  And again, the blu-rays are quite similar to each other, apparently using the same transfers.  Arrow's blu even opens with the Well Go logo.  Encoding-wise, I slightly prefer Arrow's disc; some spots of grain seemed to be compressed away on Well Go's.  But this is something I couldn't even see without comparing zoomed-in screenshots.  For all practical purposes, they're the same.

Again, we get DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1 discs on both discs (except, as always, Arrow's 2.0 is LPCM), and both have optional English subtitles.
We've still got some good special features, but the collection's definitely shrinking for these 90s entries.  Anchor Bay gave us an audio commentary by Baldwin and Scrimm for their UK set, along with a few trailers and galleries.  Then, for the US, they expanded that a bit by adding a 9-minute behind the scenes featurette and a very brief deleted scene.  Well Go carries all of that over, and adds some new material by Red Shirt Pictures, including an all new audio commentary by Coscarelli and editor Norman Buckley, a 48 minute 'making of' doc, a fun featurette about a car stunt from the film, a radio spot and a stills gallery.  Arrow, on the other hand, has none of Well Go's new extras, but instead has the next chapter of their Realising Phantasm 3 docs, running 23 mins featuring Baldwin, Hartman, Shostrom and Gates, a new separate on-camera interview with Shostrom and Gates and they've added all new optional audio commentary for the old, 9-minute behind the scenes by Shostrom and Gates.
2007 Anchor Bay DVD
The good news is that Phantasm found its tone again with Phantasm 4: Oblivion.  The bad news is the budget is so low, it feels like the whole thing takes place on one stretch of abandoned road in the desert.  But the original cast is back again, and this one gets a ton of mileage out of wealth of deleted scenes from the first film.  This is less like a stand-alone film than watching home movies with your old Phantasm family.  And just give up on trying to make sense of the sci-fi if you ever had been; we're awash in supernatural technobabble at this point.  It certainly has its charm, and it's still several steps ahead of a lot of its generic, late 90s horror peers; but I can't imagine watching this film without already being familiar with the series and getting much out of it.
Can't complain about the lack of film grain restored to this shot!
So, the we have roughly the same four Phantasm 4 discs as we had Phantasm 3 discs.  Anchor Bay UK's 2005 sphere edition, and their 2007 US DVD, followed by the 2017 Well Go boxed set blu and Arrow's 2017 boxed blu.  There was actually an older 2000 US DVD from MGM (barebones, with fullscreen and widescreen versions), but I don't have that one.  Yup, sorry, this whole comparison page is no good.  Sorry for wasting your time!  😜
Top to bottom: AB UK, AB US, WG, Arrow.
Okay, I'm officially expecting it when the Anchor Bay UK and US discs don't match and have slightly different framing and distinctly different color timing.  So, ha!  Saw it coming.  Anyway, the DVs were fine, but the blus are a real nice upgrade.  it's interesting to see how the grain is allowed to exist here, as opposed to the first film.  Like compare the night sky above to that shot of Baldwin in bed back in part 1; the blacks there were completely smooth.  Nothing wrong with that in theory; in fact, Coscarelli probably wished the blacks could've been so smooth back in 1978; but like I said, it gives the film a softness that you don't get here.

And I'm just going to copy this next sentence directly from Phantasm 3 up above because it's exactly the same deal: we get DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1 discs on both discs (except, as always, Arrow's 2.0 is LPCM), and both have optional English subtitles.
Of course there's some fun stuff for Phantasm 4, but again not like the first films.  The MGM disc I don't have just had the trailer, but of course Anchor Bay came up with a commentary (this time by Coscarelli, Bannister and Scrimm) for their set, but that's basically it.  For the US disc, they added a nine-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, the trailer and some bonus trailers.  That's still pretty light.  So again, in addition to carrying all of that stuff over, Well Go and Red Shirt teamed up to create a some more goodies including a 48-minute 'making of' doc, a half-hour collection of behind-the-scenes footage, a stills gallery and a narrated gallery of artwork by assistant cameraman Justin Zaharczuk, who created a Phantasm graphic novel.  Again, Arrow doesn't have Well Go's new stuff, but they have the old stuff and the latest chapter in their Realising Phantasm 4 series, talking to Coscarelli, Baldwin, Shostrom, Gates and Hartman.  It's pretty good, but I have to say Well Go really came out ahead in the features on this film.
2016 Well Go DVD
Phantasm 5: Ravager is actually not directed by Don Coscarelli!  It's written and directed by David Hartman, though Don still has co-writing and production credit.  How is it?  Well, I'd say how well you responded to Phantasm 4 will determine how much you like 5.  It's very similar in tone and budget.  It's another Phantasm homecoming with all your favorite cast members, and there's plenty of spheres.  This one's a little more ambitious than part 4, but on the other hand, it's also weighed down by tacky CGI.  This started out as being a possible web-series starring Reggie, so the story shifts focus to him more, and it has more of an episodic quality to it.  But at the end of the day, it holds together and makes about as much sense as any of these movies, maybe even a little bit more.  We may've slipped into watching digital fan films at this point, but hey, it's an impressive one that the original cast all agreed to be in.
Being the new kid on the block, there aren't any old editions to drag into the fray, but I still have multiple editions of Phantasm 5 to compare with you today.  We've got the 2016 Well Go DVD edition, the 2016 Well Go single layer solo blu-ray release, the 2017 Well Go dual layer boxed set release and the 2017 Arrow blu-ray.  So we've still got four versions.  And actually, there's something interesting about that DVD copy...
Top to bottom: WG DVD, WG blu 25, WG blu 50, Arrow.
Holy cow!  An interlaced DVD of a brand new, shot on digital, non-import film in 2016?  How does that even happen?  Did the Sony email hackers switch their sites over to Well Go USA?  Wow, somebody did not give a fuck. Besides that, though, we're talking about the same, new shot-on-digital film across the board, so the framing and everything is exactly the same on all the releases.  ...Or is it?  Actually, the older Well Go blu is a bit brighter than the later two discs, and the Arrow blu is actually zoomed slightly further out, with an extra sliver of information around the sides.

And once again, we get DTS-HD 2.0 and 5.1 discs on both discs (except for Arrow's 2.0 in LPCM), and both have optional English subtitles.
Were you worried that because Phantasm 5 is a new film there wouldn't be many extras?  Well, allow me to reassure you.  We no longer have any older, Anchor Bay stuff to fall back on, but the gang put together a really nice package of stuff for Well Go and Arrow (although it should be pointed out, again, that the early individual Well Go releases had fewer special features than the boxed set). First, what do they have in common? Audio commentary by Coscarelli and Hartman, deleted scenes with optional commentary, outtakes and Phantasm: and You, a silly featurette about gives a little backstory to the series before you start part 5. Well Go then adds the following exclusives: on-camera interviews with Baldwin, Lester and Stephen Jutras, the "Red Credit Sequence" (basically the closing credits footage without the actual credits running over them), a 5 minute making of, and a very brief, jokey "Moment with the Director" featurette with Hartman and his daughter.  There's also a 50-minute 'making of' doc, that only appears on the Arrow blu as an abridged 10-minute feature.
As for Arrow's exclusives?  Well, they did another Los Angeles Premiere track, but more interestingly, they also included the fifth part of their Realising Phantasm 5 series, running over 35 minutes interviewing Michael Baldwin, Bannister, Kathy Lester, Daniel Schweiger and David Hartman.  They also have a rotating series of director introductions, so every time you choose to play the film, you get a random introduction out of five total.  And they have over half an hour of footage from the Texas premiere Q&A panel.

So wow, holy cow, that sure was a lot of discs.  I'm totally exhausted.  Thank goodness there aren't any mo-oh my god!  Bonus discs, books, and exotic packaging!  Real goddam spheres!  Come on everybody, there's still so much more to cover!
The Anchor Bay Phantasm sphere is still an awesome site to behold, and quite possibly the coolest DVD case of all time.  It's a two piece sphere that actually houses the DVDs inside it.  It has attachable blades and a clear plastic stand.  It comes in a cool box, pictured above, and includes an 8-page booklet, which covers each of the films and even describes the unfilmed Phantasm 1999.  This bonus disc includes the aforementioned Phantasmagoria documentary, the Greg Nicotero interview for Part 2, Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour a fun visit to some original shooting locations by Reggie Bannister, Phantasm: Genesis a featurette on stunts in the film series, Phandom, a little featurette about the fans and footage of Angus Scrimm's 1993 appearance at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors Convention.
Well Go's 6-disc boxed set comes with a big-ass 2-sided poster, a thick box, a full-color 120-page book, written by Ben Wan, with lots of interviews and an introduction by Coscarelli himself.  All five cases (the bonus disc is in the Ravager case) include reversible cover art, with original, uniform artwork on one side, and the original posters on the other.  Their bonus disc has Phantasmogoria, plus it includes several more recordings of convention appearances, Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour, Phantasm: Genesis and Phandom.
Arrow's 6-disc box, meanwhile, has a lift-able lid which unveils its own smaller (but scaled to the ones in the film) sphere, that the discs don't actually fit inside.  They lay underneath in their own cardboard sleeves, which themselves sit on top of its own full-color 152-page book with writing by Kim Newman and Bill Ackerman, and archive writings by Marc Shapiro and Angus Scrimm himself, with a diary of the Phantasm 4 shoot he wrote for Fangoria.  Arrow's bonus disc has most of the same featurettes as the Well Go set, but instead of those convention appearances, it has some new, original featurettes: Tall Tales, previously unreleased interview footage of Scrimm talking about playing the tall man character and Dear Angus, a tribute to Scrimm by Kristen Deem.  Arrow also has to be given credit for remastering some of the old special features that Well Go just left as-is, interlaced etc.  For instance, here's a screenshot comparison of Phantasmogoria from both sets' bonus discs:
Well Go bonus disc on top; Arrow bonus disc underneath.
So who wins?  Well, obviously it's one of the two, new blu-ray sets.  And it's a very close call that basically comes down to personal preference.  If you're not region free, I'd say just buy whichever set is local to you and not worry about it.  The transfers and everything are practically identical, and each set has so many special features, it'll be a real endeavor to go through it all.  If you're a die-hard phan, though, both sets have enough quality exclusives that you'll need both.  And maybe the Marketing Film DVD for their extras.  But casual fans, you definitely don't need that stuff if you've got either of these new sets.

And all of that said, picking a winner for picking a winner's sake?  I'd say Arrow.  Both have their advantages, and Well Go beats Arrow for Phantasm 4 specifically.  But overall, Arrow preserves more of that great vintage material and their own, new material.  I prefer their exclusive bonus disc content to Well Go's, and I know some people have been talking smack about gimmicky packaging online, and I don't want to let that actually tip the scales, but honestly, the sphere's pretty cool.  So if I had to choose, I'd choose Arrow.  But they're both winners, with Well Go stepping up to the plate far ahead of most peoples' expectations.  This is a great time to be a Phantasm fan.

And now, The Super Helpful Phantasm DVD/ BD Special Features Chart:
(All bolded features are exclusive to that set particular set.)
Phantasm - MGM
  • Audio commentary with Coscarelli, Baldwin, Scrimm and Thornbury
  • Introduction by Angus Scrimm
  • 1979 TV interview
  • 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria Appearance
  • Deleted scenes
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Australian TV promo
  • Phantasm disco theme
  • "Sittin' Here At Midnight"
  • Fangoria TV commercial
  • Still galleries
  • Theatrical trailer, radio and TV spots
Phantasm - Anchor Bay US
  • Audio commentary with Coscarelli, Baldwin, Scrimm and Thornbury
  • Phantasmagoria (35 min cut)
  • Behind the Scenes featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball
  • 1979 TV interview
  • Fangoria TV Commercial
  • 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria Appearance
  • Theatrical trailer, radio and TV spots
Phantasm 2 - Universal
  • Theatrical trailer
Phantasm 3 - Anchor Bay
  • Audio commentary with Baldwin and Scrimm
  • Phantasm 3: Behind the scenes
  • Deleted scene
  • Theatrical trailer
Phantasm 4 - Anchor Bay
  • Audio commentary with Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 4: Behind the scenes
  • Promotional trailer
Phantasm 1-5 - Well Go set
(blue = also Phantasm 2 Scream Factory)
  • Phantasm 1 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Baldwin, Scrimm and Thornbury
  • Phantasm 1 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Pepperman, and Quezada
  • Phantasm 2 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 3 audio commentary with Baldwin and Scrimm
  • Phantasm 3 audio commentary with Coscarelli and Buckley
  • Phantasm 4 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 5 audio commentary with Coscarelli and David Hartman
  • Introduction by Angus Scrimm
  • Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Additional home movies
  • Graveyard Carz*
    (*also technically on the Well Go solo blu)
  • 1979 TV Interview
  • 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria Appearance
  • Fangoria Commercial
  • Deleted scenes
  • The Ball is Back
  • Phantasm 2 deleted and workprint scenes
  • Behind the Scenes: Makeup & Effects
  • Behind the Scenes: On the Set
  • Greg Nicotero interview
  • Abraham Lincoln short
  • The Making of Phantasm 3
  • Bob Ivy's Stunt featurette
  • Behind the Scenes compilation
  • Phantasm 3 Behind-the-scenes
  • Phantasm 3 deleted scene
  • The Making of Phantasm 4
  • Behind the Scenes compilation
  • Phantasm 4: Behind-the-scenes
  • Phantasm artwork narrated gallery
  • Phantasm 5 'making of'/ Behind-the-scenes (full 50 mins)
  • A. Michael Baldwin interview
  • Kat Lester interview
  • Stephen Jutras interview
  • Red Credit Sequence
  • A Moment with the Director
  • Phantasm 5 Behind-the-scenes (5 mins)*
    (*also technically on the Well Go solo blu)
  • Phantasm 5 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Phantasm and You
  • Phantasm 2008 Flashback Weekend Chicago Convention Panel Discussion
  • Phantasm 2014 Flashback Weekend Chicago Convention Cast Panel
  • Phantasm Flashback Weekend concert performance by Kat Lester
  • 2016 Fantastic Fest Premiere and Q&A
  • Phantasmagoria full documentary
  • Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour
  • Phantasm Genesis
  • Phandom
  • Still Galleries
  • Trailers, TV spots and radio spots
Phantasm 1-4 - Anchor Bay UK sphere set
  • Phantasm 1 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Baldwin, Scrimm and Thornbury
  • Phantasm 2 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 3 audio commentary with Baldwin and Scrimm
  • Phantasm 4 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister
  • Introduction by Angus Scrimm
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria Appearance
  • Phantasmagoria full documentary
  • Greg Nicotero interview
  • Phantasm: Genesis
  • Reggie's Phantastic Tour
  • Phandom
  • Scrimm and Coscarelli at Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in 1993
  • Lavender Tales
  • All Grown Up!
  • Dwarves vs. Jawas
  • Sittin' Here At Midnight (video clip, not the MGM audio)
  • Still galleries
  • Trailers and TV spots
Phantasm 2 - Marketing Film
  • Behind Phantasm 2 documentary
  • 1989 Angus Scrimm Fangoria Appearance
  • Fangoria Convention footage
  • Phantasmania Convention footage
  • Still galleries
  • Theatrical trailer and TV spots
Phantasm 4 - MGM
  • Theatrical trailer
Phantasm 5 - Well Go individual release
  • Audio commentary with Coscarelli and David Hartman
  • Behind the scenes featurette (5 mins)
  • Deleted scenes
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Trailer
Phantasm 1-5 -Arrow set
  • Phantasm 1 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Baldwin, Scrimm and Thornbury
  • Phantasm 1 Los Angeles Premiere Experience audience audio track
  • Phantasm 2 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 3 audio commentary with Baldwin and Scrimm
  • Phantasm 4 audio commentary with Coscarelli, Scrimm and Bannister
  • Phantasm 5 audio commentary with Coscarelli and David Hartman
  • Phantasm 5 Los Angeles Premiere Experience audience audio track
  • Introduction by Angus Scrimm
  • Realising Phantasm
  • 2016 Fantastic Fest Premiere and Q&A
  • 1979 TV Interview
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Phantasm: Actors Having a Ball
  • Deleted scenes
  • Australian TV promo
  • Realising Phantasm 2
  • The Ball is Back
  • Greg Nicotero interview
  • Phantasm 2 deleted and workprint scenes
  • Behind the Scenes: Makeup & Effects
  • Behind the Scenes: On the Set
  • Angus Scrimm Fangoria Convention Appearance
  • Angus Scrimm Fangoria TV Spot
  • Realising Phantasm 3
  • Interview with Shostrom and Gates
  • Behind-the-scenes footage w/ optional audio commentary
  • Phantasm 3 deleted scene
  • Realising Phantasm 4
  • Phantasm 4 Behind-the-scenes
  • Phantasm 5 director Introductions
  • Realising Phantasm 5
  • Phantasm 5 Los Angeles Premiere Experience video clip
  • 2016 Austin Premiere Q&A panel
  • Phantasm 5 'making of'/ Behind-the-scenes featurette (10 mins)
  • Phantasm effects featurette
  • Phantasm 5 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary
  • Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Phantasm and You
  • Phantasmagoria
  • Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour
  • Tall Tales
  • Dear Angus
  • Phantasm: Genesis
  • Phandom
  • Still Galleries
  • Trailers, TV spots and radio spots

5 comments:

  1. Also like to point out, the Scream Factory Collector's Edition was also released on DVD.

    Still, a wonderful article. :)

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  2. Good god, John. You went ape on this one. You're nothing if not hard working.

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  3. Disagree. Most of the old Angus footage can be found online anyways. Plus Well Go just has better stuff overall.

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  4. Completely agree, both are great sets by Arrow wins by a nose, especially for cleaning up Phantasmagoria.

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  5. John, thanks for the great coverage on all the Phantasm releases! It was fun doing interviews for the new Well Go and Arrow sets. Phantasm III was one of the highlights of my makeup effects days. It's nice to know folks are enjoying something you did 25 years ago.

    ReplyDelete