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Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge

Arrow Video // R // November 23, 2021
List Price: $49.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted December 2, 2021 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:

Made in 1989, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, which was directed by Richard Friedman, tells you everything you need to know about the story right there in the title, but for those who need a little more than that, it follows a young man named Eric Matthews (Derek Rydall) whose ex-girlfriend, Melody Austin (Kari Whitman), along with her friend, Susie (Kimber Sissons), gets a job at a store in the new Midwood Mall just before it is set to open to the public. Eric watches Melody from the shadows, steals himself a few duds and a crossbow and basically stalks her around the place. See, a year or so ago, Eric and Melody were very much in love but a fire ravaged his family home and supposedly killed him. Obviously it didn't, but it left physical and clearly emotional scars and this new mall? It's been built on the land where Eric's home once stood.

As things get moving, Eric kills off anyone who does wrong to Melody, be that an elevator repair man, a mugger or even the owner's son Justin Posner (Tim Fridley). He scurries his way through the air ducts undetected exacting his revenge quite effectively. Things change when a reporter named Peter Baldwin (Rob Estes) takes an interest in Melody and all of the strange things that seem to be happening where she works. With some help from her, as well as Susie and their pal Buzz (Pauly Shore), they try to figure out who is behind all of this and what's really going on here, before the mall opens for business to the general public, eventually uncovering a conspiracy involving the owner, Harv Posner (Johnathan Goldsmith) and the town's Mayor, Karel Wilton (Morgan Fairchild).

As predictable as it is goofy as it is genuinely entertaining, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge doesn't hold a lot of legitimate surprises in its running time but it is a fun watch. There are a couple of decent kill scenes here and while the splatter never goes quite as over the top as gorehounds will wish it had, the delivers enough to work. It isn't the most stylish film ever made and some of the camerawork is just plain flat looking, but it does prove to be an amusingly garish time capsule of eighties mall culture and all the good and bad that this entailed. Lots of questionable fashion choices, bright prints and patterns and big hair is on display throughout the movie, and for those of us who either lived through it or have a puzzling and inexplicable fondness for it, the movie definitely provides a pretty serious nostalgia rush.

None of the performances in the movie are great but most of them are at least entertaining. It's fun to see Pauly Shore show up here in his feature film debut as a mall employee and Ken Foree, immortalized in the original Dawn Of The Dead, has a bit part in the picture as well. Morgan Fairlchild is actually well-cast as the mayor, bringing an appropriate sense of smugness to the part that works in the movie's favor. Derek Rydall chews a fair bit of scenery as the ‘Phantom' but you kind of want that in a movie like this, so we won't hold that against him even if he fails to be either all that scary or particularly convincing in the film's few dramatic moments. Kari Whitman and Kimber Sissons' don't play their characters with a lot of depth, but they are at least likeable here.

The score is repetitive and not particularly memorable but the movie is decent in its pacing and, to its credit, delivers pretty much what you'd want out of a movie called Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge.

The Video:

Arrow Video debuts Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge on Blu-ray framed in 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition source from ‘original film elements' and while it looks a little rough in the opening few minutes and features scenes that just seem to have been poorly lit, this does, overall, look quite good. The film never had a legitimate DVD release domestically, the last home video release being an old VHS tape and obviously this look far better than that format possibly could have. Detail is pretty strong here, and colors look quite nice. Again, the scenes that were shot dark are still dark, not much that can be done about that, but given that, the picture is nice. There are no issues with any noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression problems and it always looks properly film-like.

The Audio:

LPCM 2.0 Mono audio is offered up in English only, with removable subtitles provided in English as well. Quality of the track is fine, it's clean, clear and properly balanced and there aren't any issues with any hiss or any distortion to note.

The Extras:

Extra are spread across the two discs in this set as follows:

Disc One:

In addition to the theatrical cut, the first disc also offers a brand new audio commentary with director Richard Friedman, moderated by filmmaker Michael Felsher. Lots of good info here about his early career and how some of his first projects wound up getting him tagged as a horror director, securing the mall location where the movie was shot, some things that went right and also horribly wrong on the set, casting the picture, effects work and lots more. A second audio commentary with disc producer Ewan Cant and film historian/author Amanda Reyes is also included. It's also worth a listen, as it goes over the film's connections to the made for TV movie world, some of the themes that it explores and where they relate to the place that society was in when the movie was made, similarities and differences to The Phantom Of The Opera and quite a bit about the film's overall production history as well. A third track includes audio interviews that Felsher did with composer Stacy Widelitz and associate producer Robert J. Koster. Widelitz's segments cover his background in music, how he got into the business professionally, early gigs in TV and film, his work on this picture and his thoughts on the project, some of his creative process and how he wound up shifting gears and working in the completely different arena of country music! Koster also covers how he got into the business and some of the challenges that arose on the way, some of the early highlights of his career in film and television, what he was involved with and how he came to work on the feature and more details about the mall location.

Shop Til' You Drop!: The Making Of Phantom of the Mall is a new making-of documentary featuring interviews with director Richard Friedman, screenwriters Scott J. Schneid and Tony Michelman, actors Derek Rydall and Gregory Scott Cummins, filmmaker Tony Kayden and special make-up effects creator Matthew Mungle. Here, over a span of forty-two minutes, we learn where the original idea for the film came from, some of the films that inspired it, the obvious importance of the mall location to the film, how Tany Kayden was originally slated to direct, ongoing budgetary issues and how they had a negative effect on the finished product, Friedman's coming onboard to direct, what it was like working on the picture in front of the camera, thoughts on some of the characters that populate the picture, the special effects featured in the picture and lots more. This is very well done and quite interesting. A second featurette, The Vandals Go To The Mall, talks for thirteen minutes with The Vandals' Joe Escalante, who talks about the band's brush with fame after not making it into Suburbia, writing the theme song for The Phantom Of The Mall and how he got out of the music business as a full time job and took up a law career in its place.

Also included on the first disc are a seven minute selection of alternate and deleted Scenes from the TV Cut , domestic and International trailers for the feature, an image gallery, menus and chapter selection.

Disc Two:

The second disc holds a brand new 2K restoration of the TV Cut with standard definition inserts for the footage unique to this version, which runs eighty-nine minutes. This version of the film includes a different first glimpse at Eric that differs from the theatrical cut as well as some more footage of Buzz and Suzie and a different ending in addition to a few minor extensions here and there. Additionally, the composite Phan Cut, which combines footage from both the original theatrical cut and the TV cut to create a unique ninety-six minute alternate version of the movie. The Phan Cut is interesting to see but feels quite disjointed compared to the two legitimate cuts of the film also included. Note that this disc is exclusive to the first pressing of this release.

As far as the packaging goes, we get some nice reversible cover sleeve art, a full color sixty-page insert booklet containing an essay on the film by Brand Henderson as well as credits for the feature and the Blu-ray release, a double-sided folded poster and a set of six lobby card reproductions, all of which fits nicely inside a side-loading hardbox.


Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge is a pretty ridiculous film. There isn't much suspense here at all (the title kind of gives everything away), the script is goofy and the performances aren't really very good. Still, it's got a lot of heart and a lot of charm and fans of low budget slashers from the eighties boom years will appreciate some of the over the top acting and a lot of the fun murder set pieces. Arrow's Blu-ray release goes above and beyond, presenting three cuts of the film and a host of other extras to compliment a strong presentation for the feature itself. Recommended for fans of eighties B-horror pictures.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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