For Phantasm II, writer/director Don Coscarelli piles on more gore, more tongue-in-cheek humor, and more elaborate set pieces in an attempt to enliven what turns out to be little more than a big-budget rehash of his 1979 cult hit. Seven years after the first film’s events, Mike (now played by a young James LeGros) is released from a psychiatric hospital and, with friend and former ice cream truck driver Reggie (Reggie Bannister), goes in search of the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), who’s traveling cross-country harvesting the dead for his otherworldly slave trade. Outfitted with a flamethrower and a quadruple-barreled shotgun, respectively, Mike and Reggie hit the road in search of both their gaunt grave-robbing nemesis and a young girl named Liz (Paula Irvine) who shares a psychic connection with Mike, traveling through one burnt-out apocalyptic town after another while searching for an undead creature they illogically hope to kill. Substituting the original’s disquieting otherworldly vibe with an aggressive, action-tinged bluntness, Coscarelli’s sequel is louder, flashier and duller, its gratuitous bloodshed wholly unimaginative and its attempts at Evil Dead-style cartoonishness (replete with a subtle nod to Sam Raimi) decidedly flat. And without an unsettling atmosphere to make up for the story’s brainlessness or the series’ plagiarism of Star Wars – via both the Tall Man’s Jawa-like demon dwarfs and his lethal orbs, which too closely resemble Darth Vader’s torture droid – there’s little to enjoy about this second outing save for Scrimm’s deliciously menacing specter of death.