Of all the horror franchises out there, Phantasm might be the most unique and bizarre. Often operating on dream logic, the series was anchored by an iconic villain known as The Tall Man played by Angus Scrimm. Scrimm passed away last night at the age of 89.
Predating more popular horror icons like Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, The Tall Man was an imposing and mysterious figure that carried across four enjoyable film installments. A fifth film, Phantasm: Ravager, is slated for release later this year. It will be Scrimm’s final film performance.
Phantasm has been an influential picture for many filmmakers including J.J. Abrams, director of the recent smash hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fan favorite character Captain Phasma was actually named after Phantasm‘s iconic flying spheres, the main weapon used by The Tall Man. Abrams is such a fan of the film that he and his Bad Robot production team recently helped facilitate a 4K restoration of the original film.
Before he broke out into the acting world, Scrimm went by his birth name of Lawrence Rory Guy and worked as a journalist writing and editing such publications as TV Guide. He had a tough time breaking into acting, so he ended up working at Capitol Records writing liner notes for such high profile acts as Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. He was nominated for a Grammy multiple times and eventually won in 1975. It would only be a four years later that he would terrorize audiences as The Tall Man.
Scrimm was always a delightful presence at horror conventions and never failed to let fans know how appreciative he was of their support and enthusiasm. With the horror genre producing less and less memorable stars like Vincent Price and Christopher Lee, Scrimm’s passing is an enormous loss for the horror community. If you haven’t seen Phantasm, there’s never been a better time to discover this oddball gem of a film and to hear Angus Scrimm’s inimitable bellowing of the word, “Boy!”