If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, perhaps continuation is the ultimate form of flattery.
Fan films were once seen as pointless exercises in fandom, but several progressions have been made in recent times: the critically acclaimed film Son Of Rambow (dramatizing two neighborhood kids making their own Rambo fan film) and the increasing co-operation of original cast and crew members in various Star Trek fan films/series. The distinction between pro and fan has blurred. Fan films are driven by passion and many times get people to pick up a camera and shoot something who might normally not. Making a fanfilm also offers a pressure-free project that could lead to embarking on original creative endevours.
Dennis John had the honor of creating the first Phantasm fan film, a sequel short, which he did back in the very early 80’s, not long after the original Phantasm was unleashed to the public. This was long before the digital revolution, editing tools and YouTube instant distribution of today so should be commended for the effort. I tracked down Dennis and asked him for the skinny on what looks to have been a project with heart:
On the short:
“I made it when I was in high school, I’m 44 now, so this was a sequel to the original before there was a real part 2. It was filmed on super 8mm silent film, only about 5 min long. I filmed and did the make-up fx, and had friends play the characters. I had a set up movie theater in my basement, and showed it on my projector, playing music through a tape recorder.”
On the story:
“Basically the story continues right from where the original ends, Mike gets pulled into the mirror, we then show Tall Man laugh (a friend with bald head and wig), then Mike is trying to crawl from under his bed, arms are trying to pull him back. I guess my thinking then was he was transfered from beyond the mirror to under his bed. Tall Man tries to pick him up, Mike knees Tall Man in the nuts. Mike runs out of his room. The story continues… chase… spheres… etc. The cast was, Tall Man, Mike, Dwarf, Zombie.”
Interestingly, Dennis had titled his 25+ year-old fan film Phantasmagoria at the time. Dennis tells me he’d like to show it online someday, somehow. For now though, we’ll just have to picture it through the innocent camera lens of our imaginations.