On July 8, 1988, Phantasm II rolled into theaters to terrify audiences everywhere. This week, the horror sequel celebrates its 30th anniversary. Effects artist Mark Shostrom, affectionately known as the Julia Child of makeup, is sharing some rarely seen behind-the-scenes photos from the movie. And they're pretty spectacular. Especially if your a horror aficionado who loves this particular franchise. Shostrom kicks off his Tweet storm of images with this message.
"In honor of the 30th anniversary of #PhantasmII's release, I'm posting a bunch of shots from my files, a few never before seen."
Most of the Phantasm sequels have been low budget affairs. And the majority have gone straight to video. But in 1987, director Don Coscarelli was handed three million dollars by Universal Pictures to put together a sequel that would hopefully kick off a successful horror franchise. And Phantasm II was a big screen affair.
Now, 30 years later, Mark Shostrom is looking back to tell some stories about what happened on set, showing off how this beloved entry in the Phantasm series came to be. The man is also known for his work on movies such as From Beyond, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, and Evil Dead II, all classics in their own right. The makeup auteur kicks things off with a couple of photos that feature star Angus Scrimm being doused in plaster. Shostrom offers this.
"I thought it best to start Angus off easy, doing his hands. Once he saw how the process worked, I went full-on gallons of alginate on his head. In the last photo, Angus is holding a screaming expression for 5+ minutes."
Next, Shostrom shows off an early dwarf sketch he did before his first meeting with director Don Coscarelli. In the same Tweet he shows off a sculpt by Bob Kurtzman that features the dwarf with angry expression. The next image in the series shows off the Ed Gale canister dwarf sculpture. This is followed by a look at the foam latex/mechanical head of Angus Scrimm, aka The Tall Man, getting a hair trim before film rolls. Then we see the mechanical head in action. Shostrom offers this.
"James Le Gros performs with the mechanical head. The insect (also mechanized) slid up through a plexiglass tube. Dave Barton did all the animatronics, even Angus's tongue. John Blake did the great hair punching. @JamesLe_Gros I remember how much you loved this process (not)."
Next we get to see Angus melting, which is a mix of foam latex and chicken skin. Shostrom also shows off a sphere's drilling test. About the next image in the collection, the make-up artist says this.
Filming Paul Irvine's back creature. L-R: Everett Burrell shines up the mechanical creature with KY. Everett & I adjust Paula's hair & cloak. Finally, Paula is released and we shoot the creature's dialogue. @DonCoscarelli - If I recall correctly, this scene took 44 takes."
We also get to see Shostrom sculpting the insect head, and his press-out sculpture for the eye-pop. Next to that we get to see some more of the exceptional effects used in the sequel. About the next set of photos, Shostrom offers this insight.
"Sam Phillips - ending filmed but not in final cut. Angus was to peel off Kemy's face. No time to enlarge her face to fit *over* Angus's, so it never was 100%. Two weeks more would have done it but we were fighting release. @TheSingleLife Sam, not your best look!"
Mark Shostrom ends his look back at Phantasm II on its 30th Anniversary with a cool story about how horror cult icon Angus Scrimm gave him his everlasting nickname. Mark says this.
"Angus gave me my favorite nickname during the P2 makeup sessions. As I applied gelatin, yellow milk, yogurt & chicken skin to add to the verisimilitude of the makeup, he asked what each item was. Finally he said, "Mark, you're like the Julia Child of Makeup." I miss the man."
You can check out Mark Shostrom's awesome collection of Phantasm II images here. And then you can visit Mark Shostrom on Twitter. Now, go dust off that old VHS and celebrate Phantasm II the right way, by watching this horror delight on an old tube television in the dark, hidden under a blanket.