R.I.P. Angus Scrimm

Angus Scrimm

Angus Scrimm, Phantasm‘s indelible Tall Man, has passed away at the age of 89.

Phantasm was a huge part of my horror-loving history. I can still remember the first time I saw it, which was on TV, probably in 1980 or ’81. I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. We caught Phantasm by accident late at night on some random channel and stayed up to watch the whole thing. Then we stayed up even longer because we were too scared to go to sleep! (Memory tells me we took the edge off with a rerun of Adam 12.)

Since then, I’ve probably seen Phantasm a dozen more times. (The sequels, one time each and then forgotten.) It’s a great movie, a thoughtful allegory about death and the feelings of abandonment that come when loved ones die, wrapped in a nightmare filled with stunning imagery. But it’s lifted even higher by Angus Scrimm, who so fully inhabits the role of the Tall Man, the film’s menacing, otherworldly villain, that I was surprised to see he had other roles that weren’t in horror films, including roles on TV shows like Quincy, M.E. and Alias.

There’s talk of a Phantasm V coming soon (there’s been talk about it for years, with nothing appearing so far), and though I don’t think any of the sequels have matched the intensity or the iconic set pieces of the original, I’ll definitely see it anyway, if only to watch Angus Scrimm play the Tall Man one last time.

2 responses to “R.I.P. Angus Scrimm”

  1. Conrad Zero says:

    I remember seeing Phantasm at WAY too young an age (along with Jaws and John Carpenter’s The Thing) No doubt part of what pushed me into a life of dark fiction writing.

    Is it just me, or does he look like he could be Christopher Walken’s father?

    With Bowie, Lemmy and The Tall Man in the afterlife, it should make for an interesting card game…


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