This is the first episode of as twelve-hour Christmas horror marathon hosted by Joe Bob Briggs for Shudder, and like the majority of the series’ episodes, the inimitable host is the undeniable highlight, even when showing some of horror’s most beloved classics. Although his brand of off-the-cuff rambling does have a tendency to, well, ramble, for the most part he’s a charming horror trivia encyclopedia come to life and it’s so much fun to watch famous horror flicks “with” him this way. As a matter of fact, the communal aspect of horror movie binging is one of the most touching and compelling aspects of the marathon format, not to mention the real-time social media back-and-forths that are discussed with regularity during the interludes that give the experience an unexpected sense of intimacy. For this marathon, which consists of 4 out the 5 “Phantasm” movies, Joe Bob is in bright spirits and seems somehow both baffled and entertained by the original 1979 entry, which is shown here in stunning restoration that simultaneously manages to look ultra-modern and grindhouse-grimy, which is perfect for this psychedelic nightmare-come-to-life of a movie that benefits from a truly unsettling score by Fred Myrow.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)