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Flesh and Blood: “PHANTASM II”

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As any fright fan knows, the horror genre has a particularly salacious relationship with sexually explicit content. And while nudity so often goes side by side with decapitated heads and brutal bloodletting, there are also horror filmmakers throughout the years who made an art form out of the human body with an appreciation of our most lurid and lucid desires. And it’s with that macabre mentality in mind that FANGORIA is proud to announce our partnership with Mr. Skin for a brand new NSFW column that looks to provoke our minds as well as our more physical impulses, FLESH AND BLOOD!

When one thinks of the sexier horror franchises throughout the genre’s history, the PHANTASM series isn’t quite the first one to come to mind. Considering the first film is almost like a more nightmarish and visceral kids flick and the series gets weirder with every entry, there haven’t been an excess of gratuitous nudity found in the PHANTASM films. However, when PHANTASM took a turn for the erotic in its first sequel, the series introduced a wild woman that young fright fans growing up in the era would not soon forget: Alchemy, played by the sultry Samantha Phillips.

While Liz Reynolds introduced the psychic-girl-next-door ying to Mike’s tormented-guy-next-door yang, Alchemy was the nitroglycerin to Reggie’s guitar solo, offering a seductive and reckless spirit that matched Reggie’s go-for-broke attitude all too well. Yet something was off about Alchemy from the very beginning, whether it was her similarities to a nude corpse that Mike had questionably seen, or perhaps her willingness to partake in Mike, Liz and Reggie’s suicidal adventure. Or it could be that the effortlessly sexy character would find herself enamored with Reggie, whose particular band of badassness comes with a heaping helping of goofiness.

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In any case, Alchemy’s consummation with Reggie, while one of the more awkward scenes in the franchise, is likely a sequence burned into the conscience of the teenagers who had seen it. It wasn’t just Samantha Phillips near immaculate physique that wound men up, however; it was her salacious attitude. If Alchemy is to be a part of the Tall Man’s plan, the character went above and beyond her commands with an almost-too-aggressive nature. And while Reggie’s reactions are priceless and so unique to his performance, there’s no denying that when a woman like Alchemy wants to kick your ass, an ass-kicking you will take. On those terms, Phillips owns the role and her sexuality in a tremendous fashion, and even blends some hilarious physical comedy into her nude appearance.

Is it a traditionally sexy sequence? No, nor is it really supposed to be; in fact, the sequence feels like studio notes for more fright fan-friendly nudity in a follow-up to an exceptionally tame film. Is it creepier when Alchemy is later revealed to be a re-animated corpse? Sure, but hindsight is 20/20. Samantha Phillips may not have become scream queen royalty, but to young men who stumbled upon PHANTASM II at the right age, Alchemy is a bookmark in horror history that horror hounds will never forget.

For full clips, pictures and more from PHANTASM II, visit the Mr. Skin link below and sign up today with an exclusive discounted membership rate for FANGORIA fans only!

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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