Phantasm (1979)

This one is a long time coming…

Welcome to this week’s B-Movie Enema. I’ve long wanted to do something with the Phantasm series. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t at least like a lot of the visuals and atmosphere of this first film from 1979. However, where the real analytical gold is in the Phantasm hills come in the sequels. In order to get there, I need to start from the beginning.

This series is the brainchild of filmmaker Don Coscarelli. Coscarelli made this on a small budget that was locally raised. The movie would star mostly local acting amateurs at the time – with some exceptions. Due to the low budget and limited availabilities of the cast and crew, Coscarelli spent almost a year filming on long days on weekends. The finished product would be an instant cult classic.

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Beyond Atlantis (1973)

Welcome back to B-Movie Enema. How do you follow up a titty movie starring Daleks? No, not the Cinema Snob. I already did that last month. No, you do a family movie.

Because of course that’s what you do.

This week, I’m looking at the 1973 Filipino-American sci-fi/horror(?) flick Beyond Atlantis. Yeah… This is apparently a family-oriented sorta-horror movie. Considering it’s made in 1973 and the poster has a mostly naked woman riding a giant seashell and being carried around by bug-eyed black dudes… I have concerns. For one, I saw a trailer that has one of the bug-eyed guys (who was not a black dude, but a white dude in body paint – uh oh) slapping the barely covered blonde chick shouting that she WILL MATE. Then Sid Haig is shooting people left and right. There’s murder action happening.

This is what a family movie was in 1973.

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Mean Johnny Barrows (1976)

Welcome to this week’s B-Movie Enema. This week, we’re following the exploits of Mean Johnny Barrows as he tries to bring himself up out of the gutter and get back at the Man for always standing in the way of him and his prosperity.

Now, you may look at that opening salvo for this article and think, “Sweet! This is Fred Williamson in a blaxploitation classic!” I don’t blame you for thinking that. I thought that too. However, it’s not. It’s not listed as a notable blaxploitation flick. It’s more of a crime drama than an exploitation movie. Yes, it is directed by Williamson himself and he likely got that opportunity because of the 70s black cinema coming into prominence. Yet, this seems to transcend the blaxploitation moniker.

I’m sure there will be elements here. I mean he’s dishonorably discharged from the military. He’s busted for being drunk. He’s homeless. He’s not able to be with the woman he loves. He blames these things on the Man, and there’s probably fair reason to. So, yeah, the mistake thinking this is part of the blaxploitation subgenre that was running through black cinema of the time is acceptable and understandable.

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