With the re-release of Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge, we break down the film to see if it’s a “watch it and forget it” film or worth becoming a yearly tradition!
Movie: Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989)
Plot: A former high school gymnast stalks the new mall where his house was burned to the ground due to arson, killing security guards and any anyone else who looks at his ex-girlfriend, Melody, funny. Will a newspaper photographer and Pauly Shore help Melody figure out the truth about the phantom of the mall? Probably.
Killer: Eric Matthews: disfigured by arson and presumed dead, enjoys work-out and martial arts training montages, watching mall security footage of his ex-girlfriend while listening to their song, and killing people.
Critique: With horror franchises pushing the envelope by sending their horror icons into space in the 80s and 90s, re-imaging The Phantom of the Opera taking place in a mall for Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge could be considered high-brow. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you love cheesy horror movies, this was not the case.
As far as the story goes, Phantom of the Mall does a good job of sticking to its plot and mixing action, horror and even a little bit of political conspiracy as themes. Is it a little too much mixing? Maybe, but if it didn’t incorporate all of these elements in 80s fashion, we probably would have been left with a basic slasher film that would have easily been forgotten with a script that would never have pulled in the cast talent that it did.
Scene of Awesomeness: The scene where Volker is chasing Peter through the mall is both awesome and ridiculous at the same time. It’s the little things, like Volker knocking over a baby carriage that probably had a baby in it and growling while on top of the elevator. If nothing else, Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge shines during corny chase sequences.
Scene of Ridiculousness: They built an entire mall in a year? Even with a corrupt mayor pulling the strings with building codes, inspections, and union-busting, I find it hard to believe a mall could be built in a year even in the late ’80s.
But if we need a specific scene, seeing Eric push a box-crusher open is pretty ridiculous. He may have been working out and training for a year in the sewers after being a gymnast, but it’s a little ridiculous that he’s stronger than hydraulic pistons.
Body Count: 9 in the film version, 6 in the tv version
1 gut stabbing
1 face pushed into a ventilation fan
1 forklift push into a electrical panel, complete with eye-pop into the frozen yogurt mix ( Awesomely Overkill Award )
1 cobra bite from out of the toilet
1 escalator strangulation
1 head crushed by an industrial box-crusher
1 toss out a window onto a memorial spire
1 flamethrower burning (because every good sporting goods store has a flamethrower for sale)
1 death by burning and falling
1 pair of breasts (film version only)
Actors/Actresses of Note: The biggest names in this cast are actually the supporting characters. Pauly Shore plays weird friend of everyone Buzz in his final supporting role before starting his conveyor belt of comedies with Encino Man. Newpaper photographer Peter is played by Rob Estes, who later went on to star in the series Silk Stalkings and have a supporting role in the series Melrose Place. Mayor Wilton is played by Morgan Fairchild, known for soap operas and being… Morgan Fairchild. Mall tycoon Harv Posner is played by Jonathan Goldsmith, recently known for being the Dos Equis guy. Posner’s son is played by Tom Fridley, best known for his RV driving in Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives and being scummy in Summer Camp Nightmare. Arsonist Christopher Volker is played by Gregory Scott Cummins, most recently known for being Mac’s dad in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Security guard Acardi is played by Ken Foree, best known for his role in the original Dawn of the Dead. And at the end of it all, film star and mall phantom Eric is played by Derek Rydall, who had a role in Popcorn.
Quote: “Hey girls, you wanna pull my chain?” – Security Guard
Watchability: 3.5 out of 5. Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge deserves at least one viewing of both the film and “made for tv” versions because they each have a different feel to them. Both are incredibly cheesy but, with a “I know them from so-and-so” cast and 80s horror and action film cliches galore, the film can very well become regular late night riffing for you and your friends.