‘Phantasm’ Makes No Sense - and That’s Why it’s Great

More than 40 years on, the low-budget horror flick is still capturing our imaginations with its dreamlike logic — and confusing us beyond compare.

From its first scene, 1979's Phantasm is eager to immerse us in its world -- and open questions that won't be answered. Under the weight of a droning score, in a foggy graveyard, we watch as a couple has a tryst. Suddenly, she's stabbing him, blonde hair blowing in a wind that only seems to exist in her orbit. Her features flicker, transforming into the face of a strange old man. And then, like a fantasy, it's suddenly over. A blue morning sky crests over the iron cemetery gate, and we're dropped right into the heart of one of the strangest -- and most inscrutable -- indie horror movies ever made. If you've never seen it before, spoiler alert: Her (or his) ability to transform is never fully explained. Rather, like so many other things in the film , the Lady in Lavender ( Kathy Lester ) is allowed to be absurd. In other words, Phantasm is in no hurry to explain itself. Instead, like a nightmare, we drift through its imagery, experiencing rather than examining -- interpreting rather than understanding. Phantasm behaves more like a dream than a movie -- and more than 40 years after its release, this is what keeps us coming back.

What is 'Phantasm' About?

Though the plot of Phantasm can at times feel as flexible as its premise, it does follow certain story beats. The man killed in the beginning has friends -- tall, handsome Jody ( Bill Thornbury ) and 70s-pontytail-wearing ice cream man Reggie ( Reggie Bannister ) -- and so we open with his funeral. But this familiar scene soon morphs into a stroll through the cemetery's sterile marble mausoleum. Alone, Jody hears strange scrabbling noises from within its walls. Quick camera cuts add to the sense of anxiety as we anticipate his every noisy footfall. Finally, we see what Jody's been looking for: the nameplate of his dead parents -- his own name reflected in gold. Jody's a legal guardian now, and his ward, younger brother Michael ( A. Michael Baldwin ) is already up to no good. Spying on the burial, he watches as a tall, intimidating mortician ( Angus Scrimm ) lifts the coffin up with ease and puts it back into his hearse. Clearly, there's something wrong going on in this cemetery.

As the film unfolds, we follow Michael's increasingly disturbing findings about both the mortician (called the Tall Man) and his embalming practices. The atmosphere begins to break away from any sense of reality, becoming saturated with dramatic lighting and strange, empty rooms. And as we journey further and further into the mortician's designs, we become less and less sure about what is real -- and what is safe.

'Phantasm' Had a Tiny Budget and an Indie Spirit

One thing that is certain about Phantasm, however, is its surprising success. Made on a budget of about $300,000, the production included costumes made by director Don Coscarelli 's mother and the cast was made up of aspiring actors. In fact, the shoot went on for years due to budgetary constraints and other creative issues. But it's precisely this lower-budget quality that lends itself to the air of dreamlike uncertainty throughout the film. (Re-using the mausoleum hallway in order to create the illusion of a larger set piece, for example, creates a hazy sense of déjà vu.) The movie managed to make $22 million at the box office, cementing its status as a classic -- and proving that something in Phantasm's misty logic connected with audiences. In fact, Coscarelli has said that the Phantasm team shot five different endings -- a testament to the fluidity of its story, both on and off set. There are, however, some widely-accepted explanations for its high strangeness -- such as that of grief.

RELATED: 'Phantasm and You' Comedy Short Recaps the Classic Horror Franchise

All About Grief

One of the more widely-accepted -- and unsurprising, if you consider all the coffins -- theories about the meaning of Phantasm is that of grief. Horror critic John Kenneth Muir has posited that the Tall Man represents death itself -- a figment that Mike's grieving mind has created in order to beat. (Like this article, Muir is evaluating the film on a standalone basis instead of as part of a franchise .) Jody and Mike have lost their parents, and by the end of the film we realize that -- spoiler -- Jody is also dead. In effect, Micheal has lost his whole family, and has come up with the story of Phantasm -- and the titular Phantasm itself -- to lend meaning to a meaningless tragedy.

But there are, of course, elements of the film that can't be explained through this lens. The Lady in Lavender's drive to kill, for example (though Muir does note he sees her as representing the intersection of sex and death) -- as well as the flying silver orbs that guard the mausoleum -- seem to stick out from this fabric like forgotten bones. These orbs, later identified as the Sentinels, are one of the film's best remembered and least-explained elements. They whiz through the air and attach themselves to the heads of perceived intruders, boring bloody holes straight through their skulls. One of them nearly gets Mike, and he watches on in horror as it spits out the blood of the mortician's helper in spurts, coating white marble with gore. These elements do relate to death, but can't exactly be slotted in with the notion of grief. Perhaps they are best explained by seeing Phantasm as a nightmare: Grief, sexual desire, and pure imagery twisting and combining into a tidal wave of feeling we can watch again and again.

Yes, by the end of Phantasm, Jody is dead. He was the whole time, or so it seems -- and Michael is in the care of Reggie, who has survived the film's climax. Yes, it was all a dream, the film assures us as Michael wakes up on a leopard-print pillow. He was dreaming along with us. Still, he tells Reggie that he's worried the Tall Man will come back -- that the rocks he and his brother toppled onto the monster in his dream won't hold him. "Hey, you had a dream ," Reggie says. "Just a nightmare. Mike, that Tall Man of yours did not take Jody away." But this is Phantasm -- and a bad dream doesn't always stay that way. "Seemed so real," Michael says -- and we're left to wonder: which part?

Bloody Disgusting!

‘Phantasm Forever’ – Stephen Romano Details Unmade Comic Books and the Movie They Almost Spawned [Phantom Limbs]

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For this entry of Phantom Limbs , we’ll be taking another trip into the Tall Man’s dimension to dig up details on the unproduced follow-up issues to XMachina’s Phantasm: Overminds , an ambitious comic book based on Don Coscarelli ’s iconic horror film series that sadly never made it beyond its debut issue.

On hand to discuss this essential but nigh forgotten extension to the film franchise is writer Stephen Romano of Eibon Press fame, who reveals the comic’s origins, the story it was meant to tell over the course of its intended four issues, and why it never made it past its inaugural outing. In addition, Romano reveals details behind Phantasm Forever , the planned fifth Phantasm film whose story was rooted in that original comic book tale.

“What happened with me, like with most people, is that I saw Phantasm at a relatively early age,” Mr. Romano begins. “It was one of those movies that really knocked me on my ass. You know, you’ll hear a lot of creative professionals, especially in the horror business, telling you that. Or even that a movie like [Coscarelli’s] Beastmaster was heavily influencing on them, or heavily formative on them. We all just loved that movie. So I was a fan carrying that around with me for years.”

phantasm no its not

Phantasm’s silver sphere attacks

At the beginning stages of his professional career, Romano found himself organizing events for the Alamo Drafthouse alongside founder Tim League. Among those events was a Phantasm film festival, which was originally intended to feature franchise star Reggie Bannister . However, Bannister would boost the event’s visibility considerably when he invited along another key creative from the film series. “I knew Reggie Bannister,” Romano explains. “We invited Reggie to come and be a part of our Phantasm film festival. He called up Don Coscarelli and said, ‘Hey, you should talk to this Romano guy. He’s really crazy, and he’s got a lot of cool ideas. Let’s do this film festival.’ So I had Don as my guest for a long weekend, when we showed all four Phantasm films. They were all 35 millimeter release prints, which Don brought and let us use.”

Once the festival concluded, Romano approached the filmmaker with three television scripts based on the Phantasm films. “I had heard that Don might want to do a TV show, and I knew he owned the rights. So while I was organizing the festival, I wrote these crazy scripts … and I put those in front of Don. At first, he didn’t want to read them because he’s wary of anything fan-generated, just like anybody should be in this world. But he was really nice. I finally got him to read them when I said, ‘Look, if you don’t wanna make it as a TV show or, or even a movie, why don’t we do it as a comic book?’ I did the entire program guide for the Phantasm film festival in a comic book format, like a mini-comic of the first Phantasm movie. Don really liked all that.

“So that’s what I did. I gave those to him and he took ’em away and he really liked them. He called me back and said, ‘Okay, what would it take to do this comic book series?’ And I said, ‘Well, this is what it would take, this is how much money we would need to print them.’ He wanted to do it himself. He didn’t want to go through anybody else, he wanted to own it all and have complete control over how it was going to be sold.”

As Coscarelli went off to film Bubba Ho-Tep , Romano got to work on the Phantasm comic book, pulling ideas from his original television scripts while boosting the original story’s scope . “It was a comic book, and suddenly it was an unlimited budget. We could do whatever we wanted. I thought, ‘Well, let’s just go crazy and do something really insane and set it in some post-apocalyptic future with a lot of really crazy new ideas.’”

phantasm no its not

Angus Scrimm as The Tall Man in ‘Phantasm’ (1979)

Romano notes that he was more drawn to the film series’ bizarre dream logic, and attempted to tap into that aspect rather than attempt to merely explain away The Tall Man’s origins in a more linear fashion. “ So I put together this crazy, freewheeling, badass four issue outline inspired by but not completely adhering to what I’d written in those TV scripts. Don really liked the outline for the four issues. It was going to be a complete story, interlocking through the four issues. ”

Romano spent a year on the comic with artist Michael Broom , the length of time owing to the fact that the artists weren’t being paid. “We were just kind of doing the punk rock thing,” Romano explains. “It was not a Marvel Comics thing. It was not even an IDW thing. We were just putting together a low budget [project], kind of like Don was doing at the same time with Bubba Ho-Tep . We just threw it together by hook or by crook. We got it colored and we sent it off to press. We got it back, and I will never forget the day the final books arrived at Don’s house. He called me up and he said, ‘Stephen, you’re a genius!’ [laughs]. Which is exactly the sort of thing you want to hear from one of those guys whose movies you grew up watching. It was really an honor.”

So what story did the Phantasm comic tell, and where was the story meant to go in the unpublished follow-up issues? According to Romano, he was interested in shifting the films’ POV back in the direction of the original film: “I have always been fascinated by the deeper implications of all this stuff. I thought that it would be very interesting if we went back to it being Mike’s story for one thing, because I thought that the first movie was about Mike, right? So it’s gotta come back to him eventually.

phantasm no its not

A page from ‘Phantasm Overminds’ (via Dread Central)

“Not that I don’t let like Reggie as a character or anything,” Romano points out, “but I just felt like it was time to get back to Mike. So we put him in the center of things because I wanted to have him wake up many, many years later and ‘Guess what, kid? It was all a dream!’ Just like at the end of the first movie. He’s in this really high-tech hospital run by a guy named Don Quezada. In case you don’t know, that’s a reference to the producer of Phantasm II , Roberto A. Quezada.”

The comic begins several hundred years in the future, with Mike having been kept on ice in a high-tech compound for ages. It’s revealed that our young hero has the power to manifest different versions of reality through his dreams, and he’s not the only one capable of this feat. In fact, he’s far from it. “There are a lot of other people that have fallen victim to this coma that he was in, and inside this coma they dream new realities. Doctor Quezada is fascinated by this and he’s trying to study it, he’s trying to harness it, he’s trying to control it. And one of the other people who is in this facility happens to be Rocky, who is someone that Michael dreamt about in one of his many adventures (in Phantasm III to be exact). She remembers him too, but they apparently never really went through any of that stuff. So it’s all very metaphysical and strange and weird.”

phantasm no its not

Mike and Rocky battle The Tall Man in ‘Phantasm Overminds’ (via Dread Central)

As our heroes are trying to get their bearings, Quezada turns into the Tall Man, intoning a familiar line: “Ah, boy, it’s been a good game…” Mike fights the Tall Man’s silver sentinel spheres alongside a katana-wielding Rocky, before a massive monster bursts up through the floor, yelling the Tall Man’s iconic “BOOOOOOY!!!”

And so ended the first issue of Phantasm: Overminds . Sadly, the people who managed to track down an issue back in the day would never be able to read beyond the comic’s cliffhanger ending. So what would have happened next?!

“They faced the Tall Man in this weird nightmare zone,” Romano reveals. “Michael summons his inner strength so that he is not afraid of this thing, and it sort of dissipates in front of him. Then the lights come on and you realize it was all Quezada, pulling a mindfuck on him.

“It was a part of a weird dream simulation machine that he was running, and he goes, ‘Oh, you’re doing great. You’re learning to control your fear. This is wonderful. Soon, you’ll be strong enough to go against the real deal.’ So what ends up happening is, because he’s being so elliptical and pulling this weird shit on them, Rocky and Mike turn on him and start torturing him. [laughs] It’s this horrible scene where they start yanking at his teeth and stuff to tell them what the fuck is going on. ‘Clearly, you know something we don’t.’”

phantasm no its not

An ad for ‘Phantasm Overminds’ issue 2, featuring Reggie

Quezada eventually reveals to the pair that they’re in an underground bunker several miles under the Earth’s surface, which has been destroyed by nuclear holocaust and alien warfare. “The gravers have totally taken over everything,” Romano says, referencing the Tall Man’s zombie slaves. “Reggie, by the way, is out there too, wandering around, trying to find Mike, which sort of ties into [ Phantasm IV: Oblivion ]. But he hasn’t been able to find him. There’s this whole sequence in the second issue where you see Reggie going through these adventures and blowing away gravers, and he’s saved this kid who has a sphere in his head. So the idea is that Mike is trapped way down below in this nightmare hospital, and Reggie’s up top trying to find him.

“So [Mike and Rocky] torture the doc to get the secrets, they figure out what’s kind of going on, and then they decide to blow the place. So they plant all these bombs in the underground facility, and then they battle with the Tall Man. They barely escape. They blow the whole hospital and get the hell out of there. That was the end of the second issue.”

Beyond the second book, the next two issues would have found Mike and Reggie fighting to get to each other, all while trying to survive the wasteland and “unravel the mysteries of what’s in Mike’s head in terms of this ability alter reality with his dreams. Then Reggie and Mike would have their adventures. Rocky is with them, of course, battling monsters and everything. The end of it was the final reunion between Reggie and Mike. That would’ve set up another series, which would’ve been fun, too.”

Romano also reveals that the third issue was intended to debut Kid Dead , a bizarre new character of his own creation. “Kid Dead is this crazy 16 year old zombie kid. He’s looking for a fight, he’s got nothing to lose, don’t fuck with him or you’ll be just as dead as he is . [laughs] He wears a trench coat, has a cricket bat with the words ‘Eat Me’ carved into it. He’s got long hair, and he gets around on roller skates.”

Because the character never appeared in a published Phantasm comic, and Romano never signed over the rights to the character, he was able to repurpose Kid Dead for two other projects years later. “I ended up reclaiming it first for my book Shock Festival ,” Romano says, referencing his 2008 book which chronicled the histories of numerous imaginary grindhouse films. “That was a career milestone for me. When I was developing that book over a two year period of time, almost entirely by myself … I was just pulling every idea outta my ass that I possibly could, finding things I had come up with when I was 17 years old. And I saw Kid Dead lying around and I went, ‘Oh, well, let’s put him in there. Let’s make him into an imaginary movie.’”

phantasm no its not

Kid Dead from Stephen Romano’s ‘Shock Festival’ (2008)

While Kid Dead was initially meant to be a character that our heroes meet in the wasteland in the Phantasm comics, he wound up playing an even more integral role in Romano’s comic book series Wasteland 1989 , which “similarly takes place in a shattered wasteland. He’s a suicidal zombie who can’t die. That’s the hook of what I recreated him as. He wants to die, and yet no matter how many times he tries suicide, it won’t work. And so he’s tormented, and he goes around wearing a dynamite vest as a symbol of his wanting to die. But he ends up using it a lot on other people. [laughs] He gets in big battles, and he’s the bad guy in the first issue of Wasteland . Then ultimately he teams up with [comic heroine] Janet in issue number 3, and they have these crazy adventures.”

phantasm no its not

Kid Dead’s comic book debut in ‘Wasteland 1989’ (courtesy of Stephen Romano)

Ultimately, Romano notes that his four color take on Phantasm dealt “with levels of reality, alternate dimensions, versions of yourself that exist in parallel worlds. And that was what Don seized on.” Indeed, while the comic book never made it beyond its first issue due to rights issues which prevented further editions, Romano’s core story would be developed further into another medium…

Phantasm Forever . Some Phans may have heard that title bandied about alongside other unmade sequels like New Line’s reboot trilogy and the Roger Avary-penned Phantasm 1999 , but what exactly was this particular project? “ Don and I eventually developed those TV scripts into a thing called Phantasm Forever ,” Romano explains. “ Which was going to be the original Phantasm V . It’s not exactly like my comic book . My comic book was darker and more complex, I think. And, of course, a thousand times more action. [laughs]

“ Forever had its own trajectories, because it was more of a sequel to the movies that could be done inexpensively. There was no way you’d ever be able to shoot anything in my comic books on the kind of budgets that the Phantasm movies have ever had. I mean, that was all just nuts. But Phantasm Forever started with Mike waking up in the hospital, and everybody’s telling him ‘It was all a dream. It was a dream!’ Then it progresses from there as Michael figures out that there are these different realities and quantum physics, all of that wonderful stuff.”

Romano also says that Forever would have been focused more on the characters than the sci-fi/horror spectacle of it all. “I wanted to build Jody and Reggie and Michael as fully developed and dimensional characters,” he says, noting that this approach would have harkened back to the original film. “I think the first movie’s a symphony, in the way that it manages to develop those two kids and make you really feel for them. It’s all very beautifully drawn very quickly in the first movie, and I wanted to kind of get back to that. The comic books have far less of that in there, because it’s more concerned with visuals and story and everything. But had it continued for the full four issues, we would’ve gotten to do more of that.”

phantasm no its not

Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury and A. Michael Baldwin at the ‘Phantasm Forever’ read-through (via Dread Central)

Phantasm Forever even got as far as a table read, Romano reveals. In addition to mainstays Angus Scrimm , A. Michael Baldwin , Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury , the read-through also included Phantasm III ’s Gloria Lynne Henry reprising her role of Rocky, with Hellraiser alum Ashley Laurence tackling a brand new character. “It was all shot with green screens and everything, and Don has a whole version of that in his computer somewhere. I’ve never even seen it. I’m thankful for all of it, because that was an experience like most fanboys will never have. I mean, I wrote this script, it had all the original Phantasm people in it, plus we cast Ashley Lawrence as a new face. We all got together one day and they read through it a bunch of times in front of cameras. What could be finer? It was just completely cool. And even though the movie didn’t happen after that, who cares? I mean, I will have that memory forever.”

phantasm no its not

Gloria Lynne Henry as Rocky in ‘Phantasm III’ (1994)

As with Phantasm 1999 , this writer wonders if Phantasm Forever was possibly meant to be a franchise capper, much as the eventual Phantasm V: Ravager appears to be. “Most people who saw Ravager took it for what it was, kind of a goodbye kiss,” Romano says. “But there was also a post-credit sequence in it, in which you saw sort of the inkling of maybe what could be. They had that new character in there, and they had him hook up with Rocky at the end. Our thing was somewhat similar to that. Yeah, it was sort of a franchise capper, but there was a nifty thing at the end, too, where it could go on. You know, you never wanna just completely, definitively end these things. You always want to have some inkling that maybe it could go on, because who knows? It could be successful. And who knows, we might just wanna do it. Why not? So we didn’t keep it wide open, but we definitely set the stage for another film, or series of films, in Forever .”

phantasm no its not

Angus Scrimm and A. Michael Baldwin prepare to read ‘Phantasm Forever’ (via Dread Central)

So why is it that the film never came to pass? “ Unfortunately, there were a number of reasons why it didn’t happen . It was tragic, but that’s how these things work. You know, you work on something, you hope it’s gonna happen, and if you’re working on spec you better be ready for it not to happen, because it won’t! I’m just here to tell you! [laughs] Movies require a lot of things. They require money, they require luck, they require very dedicated people who are willing to suffer – years , sometimes – to get it made. And sometimes all of those disparate elements don’t come together. Sometimes there’s maybe one or two or three elements that don’t fall in line.”

In advance of this article going up, Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli was kind enough to provide some thoughts on Phantasm Forever as well. “Stephen Romano wrote a wonderful screenplay,” Coscarelli says. “The staged reading was shot with the entire Phantasm cast. The cast was terrific and included Hellraiser ‘s Ashley Laurence who came out to help us with an interesting new character. Angus Scrimm did some truly phenomenal work that day.”

Coscarelli also recognizes that his fanbase is clamoring for more Phantasm , especially something as tantalizing as a completely new story realized by the franchise’s core cast. “ Phantasm fans have hounded me for years about putting it out, and one day I hope to share it with them.”

In closing out our talk, Romano sums up his time working within the Phantasm franchise. “I got a lot out of that, that association and my business inside the Phantasm world, and it was really all because of the Phantasm comic. That was the first thing that I set forward to do with Don, where I took a lot of those ideas from the TV scripts and then I made them into this comic series. Even though the comic book didn’t go on, my career sure as hell did, and Don was my first mentor in the film business.

“My final thoughts would be of that of gratitude. It was a time in my life where I needed someone to believe in me, and Don Coscarelli believed in me. He let me play in his backyard and do those comic books. He wrote a glowing afterward for the first issue that talked about how great and wonderful it all was. And, you know, that eventually led to us working together on Masters of Horror , which was incredible. I’ll always be thankful for those projects, and all those great adventures we had.

“I have no regrets. It all led to the career I have now. It was all leading somewhere. I’m glad it did.”

Very special thanks to Stephen Romano for his time and insights.

phantasm no its not

The cover of ‘Phantasm Overminds’ 1

This has been Phantom Limbs , a recurring feature which takes a look at intended yet unproduced horror sequels and remakes – extensions to genre films we love, appendages to horror franchises that we adore – that were sadly lopped off before making it beyond the planning stages. Here, we chat with the creators of these unmade extremities to gain their unique insight into these follow-ups that never were, with the discussions standing as hopefully illuminating but undoubtedly painful reminders of what might have been.

Select images sourced from:

Romano, Stephen (2015, November) Stephen Romano’s Kingdom: PHANTASM FOREVER Part 3. Retrieved May 31st, 2022 from Dread Central website: https://www.dreadcentral.com/news/135205/stephen-romanos-kingdom-phantasm-forever-part-3/

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‘The Babadook’ Gave Rise to a New Wave of Introspective Horror Ten Years Ago

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Warning: The following contains major spoilers for The Babadook .

The first time I watched The Babadook , I nearly had a nervous breakdown. It was March of 2015. My husband, a CPA, was deep in the throes of tax season, leaving me alone for long stretches of time with our one-year-old son and three-year-old daughter who was going through a screaming phase. Needless to say, the story of a mother pushed to the edge of sanity resonated with me deeply. One scene in particular, monstrous clothing reigning down as the frightened heroine crawls across the floor, was so affecting that I paused the movie and cried for a good ten minutes. Despite the extremity of my reaction, I would wager that I’m not alone. In the ten years since The Babadook premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Jennifer Kent’s debut feature has become known for its ability to blend horror with mental health and bring to life the complex emotions of motherhood that often go unspoken. 

This stylish Australian indie follows Amelia ( Essie Davis ), a single mother struggling to raise her young son Samuel ( Noah Wiseman ) while suffering from severe mental illness. The film opens with an ill-fated drive to the hospital as Amelia’s husband Oskar ( Ben Winspear ) dies in a car crash on the same day she gives birth to their son. Six years later, she’s struggling to cope with this unplanned reality and the painful memories that resurface every time Samuel’s birthday rolls around. Complicating matters, her energetic boy demonstrates serious behavior problems that keep Amelia from accessing reliable childcare. The untenable situation spirals out of control when a mysterious children’s book called Mister Babadook unleashes a dangerous presence in the house. As the horrifying illustrations come to life, Amelia learns that the story’s warning is true: “you can’t get rid of the Babadook.” 

Part of the film’s success can undoubtedly be laid at the feet of Kent’s fantastic creature design. Essentially colorless, this sinister gentleman appears dressed in a long, black cape and crumpled top-hat with spindly, black spikes emerging from his sleeves in the place of fingers. Spiky black hair frames a pale face with wide, bulging eyes and a perpetually screaming mouth lined with dirty teeth. Inspired by Lon Chaney’s unnerving Man in the Beaver Hat from Tod Browning’s 1927 silent film London After Midnight , Kent collaborated with artist Alex Juhasz to design this nightmarish book. Describing his creation, Jahusz explained, “Mister Babadook is a monster playing at being human. Along with his costume, he wears a mask with a fixed expression, a misguided approximation of what it thinks a man is.” Viewer response was so great that Juhasz collaborated with paper engineer Simon Arizpe on a limited release of Mister Babadook , an expanded version of the fascinating prop. 

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Though unsettling on the page, Mister Babadook is arguably more frightening in human form. This inky, black phantom invades Amelia’s home with the jerky and cartoonish movements of a pop-up book. His guttural growls sound more like an ancient jaw unhinging itself as a malevolent entity tries to approximate human speech. Kent studied the work of French actor, director, and magician Georges Méliès to design the in-camera effects that bring this eerie world to life. The Babadook and its old-fashioned monster have a distinctly low-fi feel that proves to be a feature rather than a bug. Seeming to emerge from the shadows themselves, this startling creature lurks in the background whenever Amelia tries to ask for help further isolating her from the world and driving her ever deeper into the clutches of the beast.

In addition to this unique bogeyman, Kent masterfully uses color and shadow to illustrate the pervasive nature of Amelia’s depression. The walls of the home she shares with Samuel are all colored a dark blue or institutional gray. With closed windows and a narrow front yard, the house seems more like a confining bubble of darkness and despair than the vibrant home of a growing child. Shadows flit across unmoving frames showing the incessant passage of time in a hopeless environment where nothing ever changes. As a caregiver at an assisted living facility, Amelia frequently wears the light pink smock of a nurse’s uniform. Kent styles her in similar passive colors throughout the film, highlighting the fact that Amelia’s life revolves around taking care of everyone but herself. 

As the Babadook’s hold over Amelia grows stronger, she begins to turn her pain outward. The dreadful book reappears this time with images of a familiar-looking mother strangling her dog and her son then slicing her own throat with a large kitchen knife. Amelia begins to detach from reality and fantasizes about seeing Oskar in the basement. At first a welcome sight, this vision takes an unsettling turn when he promises that they can be together again if Amelia will just bring him “the boy.” Kent uses imagery from Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath to hint at Amelia’s crumbling psyche. The ghoulish face of a woman rising from her deathbed rushes towards her as the TV she’s watching abruptly changes to news coverage of a mother who murdered her son on his birthday. Watching in horror, Amelia spies a hideous version of herself grinning from the window of the crime scene, her face transformed into that of Bava’s undead medium. As the frightening footage washes over us we realize that Amelia has become the monster haunting her own home. 

Babadook Disappointing

Though The Babadook functions as a straightforward horror story, many have interpreted it as a metaphor for grief and depression. In this reading, Mister Babadook becomes a manifestation of Amelia’s repressed trauma and inability to face the death of her husband. To make others more comfortable, she’s tried to “move on” by putting this tragic event out of her mind. She doesn’t talk about him and has locked all of Oskar’s possessions away in the basement. But as the anniversary of his death approaches, her mental distress starts to break through. Not only does Samual trigger agonizing memories but he has an understandable curiosity about the father he will never know. Unable to cope, Amelia goes to increasingly dangerous lengths to vanquish her sorrow no matter the cost. 

Unfortunately this only makes the Babadook grow stronger. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice several scenes in which Amelia’s hands bear the tell-tale smudges of ink and charcoal. As a former author of children’s books, it’s a clear indication that a part of her subconscious has created this book in a desperate attempt to release the trauma she’s kept buried deep inside. She also spies the ghoul lurking in the home of her neighbor Mrs. Roach ( Barbara West ), a kindly old woman who remembers Oskar fondly and the only person to offer non-judgmental support. Disguised as an inescapable monster, Amelia’s mental illness tries to isolate her from the world and convince her that fighting back is futile. This repression only feeds the creature’s power, proving the book’s warnings to be true: the more Amelia tries to ignore the Babadook living in her own mind, the more dangerous it – and she – becomes. 

The story climaxes with Amelia begging to know what the entity wants. As if in answer, Oskar emerges from the darkness in a recreation of the crash that killed him. It’s only by confronting the worst moment of her life – by looking directly at the pain she’s been trying to bury – that Amelia is finally able to unlock her sorrow. Kent sacrifices logic to evoke cathartic emotion and we watch as the Babadook screams at mother and child then races down the stairs to the basement. Fast-forwarding a couple of days, we see that Amelia has been visiting this captive creature every day to feed it bowls of worms. The monster emerges from the darkness and roars at Amelia, nearly knocking her down. But she claws her way back to reality and walks into the sunlight. It’s a poignant reminder that her grief will never truly go away. The only way to survive mental illness is to face the pain a little bit at a time and – with support from those we love – slowly work to take away its power.

phantasm no its not

Mental health metaphors have always been a part of horror, stemming back to foundations of the genre. Frankenstein may have been inspired by Mary Shelley’s traumatic history of pregnancy loss and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” has been interpreted as a metaphor for postpartum depression. More modern fare like Psycho (1960), Don’t Look Now (1973), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), and The Descent (2005) all tackle themes of emotional disorder and distress, but The Babadook seems to have kicked off a wave of introspective horror. In the past ten years, we’ve seen a wealth of filmmakers use tangible monsters to tackle the terrors lurking within our own minds. Films like Hereditary (2018), Saint Maud (2019), Swallow (2019), Daniel Isn’t Real (2019), The Night House (2020), and Mike Flanagan’s extensive work for Netflix all use genre tropes to show the horrific experience of living with various neuroses and psychological maladies that appear invisible to the outside world. The recent success of films like Smile (2022) and M3GAN (2022) – stories that wear their mental health metaphors on their sleeves – prove that this trend may still be gaining steam. 

Many have tried to match the power of Kent’s moving film, but few have been able to capture the careful balance of visceral horror and poignant metaphor. The Babadook works on multiple levels, scaring us with the harrowing tale of a haunted house and tugging at our heartstrings with a relatable story of mother and child trying to find each other in emotional darkness. Some view the ending as too symbolic; it’s illogical metaphor too on the nose. Others appreciate the compassionate depiction of a flawed woman struggling to parent through the cloud of mental illness. I happen to fall into the second category. I feel seen by Davis’s compassionate depiction of Amelia and tear up every time I watch Samuel vow that no matter what happens, no matter how strong the Babadook’s pull, he will never leave her. Ten years later, I still cry when I watch The Babadook . But the tears feel good. They feel like healing.

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Angus Scrimm in Phantasm (1979)

A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber, known only as the Tall Man, who employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons. A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber, known only as the Tall Man, who employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons. A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber, known only as the Tall Man, who employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons.

  • Don Coscarelli
  • A. Michael Baldwin
  • Bill Thornbury
  • Reggie Bannister
  • 386 User reviews
  • 243 Critic reviews
  • 72 Metascore
  • 2 wins & 2 nominations


  • (as Michael Baldwin)

Bill Thornbury

  • Lady in Lavender
  • Fortuneteller's Granddaughter

Kenneth V. Jones

  • (as Ken Jones)

Lynn Eastman-Rossi

  • (as Lynn Eastman)
  • Double Lavender
  • Fortuneteller

Angus Scrimm

  • The Tall Man
  • Funeral Guest
  • (uncredited)
  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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Phantasm II

Did you know

  • Trivia Don Coscarelli rented all of the filming equipment used to make this movie, always on Fridays so he could use it all weekend and return it on Mondays, all the while only actually having to pay one day's rental on the equipment.
  • Goofs When The Tall Man breaks down the door of Mike's house, at the bottom of the door, a crew person's feet are visible running and pushing the door.

The Tall Man : Boooy!

  • Crazy credits The remastered version begins with the Bad Robot logo appearing in one of the Tall Man's spheres.
  • Alternate versions New Line/Image Collector's Edition laserdisc features a separate section with one deleted scene (struck from a what appears to be a work print as there is no music and sound is limited to dialogue only). The scene has Mike telling big brother Jody about weird goings-on he has witnessed at the cemetery. Jody then gets Mike drunk and takes him to Reggie's ice cream parlor, where they start a food fight. Then it cuts to a scene the next day where Jody stops by the bank where he works and visits his girlfriend.
  • Connections Featured in Sneak Previews: Boulevard Nights, Phantasm, Last Embrace, Voices, Get Mean, The Great Bank Hoax (1979)
  • Soundtracks Sittin' Here At Midnight by Bill Thornbury Thornbury Music

User reviews 386

  • Jun 17, 1999
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  • March 28, 1979 (United States)
  • United States
  • Official site
  • Morningside
  • Dunsmuir House & Gardens - 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, California, USA (Morningside cemetery)
  • New Breed Productions Inc.
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $300,000 (estimated)
  • $11,988,469

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  • Runtime 1 hour 29 minutes

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Film / Phantasm

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"Where he came from, nobody knows. His evil spread like a plague, destroying towns, maiming and killing. We called him The Tall Man; at first we thought he was just an undertaker. His hordes pillaged graveyards, rooted up the bodies, and spirited off the dead to a place worse than Hell." — Reggie , Phantasm: Oblivion

Phantasm is a series of horror films written and directed by Don Coscarelli ( The Beastmaster , Bubba Ho Tep , John Dies at the End ).

An evil supernatural being known as the Tall Man travels from small town to small town, leaving devastation in his wake. Posing as an undertaker, he steals dead bodies and transforms them into dwarf-like zombie slaves , nicknamed 'lurkers'. Pursuing him are the only ones who might stop him: a troubled young man named Mike, an aging, balding ice cream vendor named Reggie, and the few allies they find along the way.

To date, five films have been made, the most popular being the 1979 original, which remains a Cult Classic admired for its atmosphere and originality. With Phantasm II in 1988, the series shifted away from quiet, creepy horror, giving the heroes some cool weapons and upping the excitement. 1994's Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead is more of the same with added comedy, while 1998's Phantasm IV: Oblivion is a lot more subdued, and takes time to explore (if not explain) things hitherto unexplored in the series, such as the possible origins of the Tall Man.

It is fair to say that the rules of cool and scary are the guiding principles of the series. Going for Surreal Horror and the feeling of a nightmare, the films are brimming with such memorable horrors as the ex-human lurkers, the brain-drilling flying spheres, and Angus Scrimm playing the magnificently frightening Tall Man himself.

Indie game developer End Transmission Games released a free tabletop RPG set in the Phantasm universe in 2010. The game is meant to invoke grindhouse horror , and also allows groups to include elements from other horror movies like Hellraiser , and From Dusk Till Dawn .

The series features examples of:

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  • Action Survivor : Reggie. He spends most of the films being the one with no clue of what to do or any special skills or abilities.
  • Alien Blood : Both the Tall Man and his minions bleed yellow.
  • Alien Sky : The Tall Man's world has a strange, red sky.
  • Awesome, but Impractical : Reggie's quadruple-barrel shotgun is more cumbersome and slower to load than an ordinary shotgun.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit : The Tall Man is not your average undertaker, but he always dresses the part.
  • Badass Normal : Reggie in particular has this in spades.
  • Bifurcated Weapon : Reggie's quadruple barreled Sawed-Off Shotgun .
  • Cool Car : In the first film Jody's 1971 'Cuda with a 440 6-pack, which, if built as one, would mean it was one of 237 built. From the second film on it's a '71 Hemi 'Cuda, it would be one of 107 built if a original semi. By the final film, it's been upgraded to a Weaponized Car packing dual miniguns .
  • Cool Gate : The gates that the Tall Man uses for transportation.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death : How the Spheres deal with their victims, by impaling themselves into the forehead and then drilling between the eyes, the blood spurting out from the Sphere's other side.
  • Cut Short : The four issue comic miniseries by Xmachina. Only one issue was released.
  • Diabolus ex Machina : The ending of the first three movies.
  • Dirty Old Man : Reggie. By the last film, when he's actually living on a geriatric hospital, he still manages to be a Kavorka Man .
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him : Reggie is an inversion of the trope. No matter what, the Regman repeatedly survives what happens to him .
  • Early-Installment Weirdness : Reggie is much more humble and down to earth in the first film compared to the sequels where he’s seen hitting on every woman he meets along his travels.
  • Eldritch Abomination : The true form of the Tall Man is implicated as being some kind of being that is anchored in another dimension.
  • Elite Mook : The Gold Spheres initially seem like these. Subverted when they turn out to be more important than mooks, seeing as how The Tall Man and later, Mike, are gold spheres .
  • Failure Is the Only Option : There is no way to stop the Tall Man. There is no way to get away from the Tall Man. The series itself pretty much ends on " And the Adventure Continues ", edging on Bolivian Army Ending .
  • Gender Bender : In the first movie and possibly the second, the Tall Man seems able to transform himself into a gorgeous woman , doing so to lure people in for to be killed. And it was poor Reggie in both films!
  • Ghost Town : Any town that The Tall Man has visited ends up like this.
  • Heavyworlder : The lurkers get squashed as they are being made so that their bodies can withstand the gravity of The Tall Man's world.
  • Hand Sliding Down the Glass : When Liz and Mike are locked in the hearse, a beaten and bloodied Reggie slams into one of the windows, smearing two bloody handprints down the glass as he collapses.
  • Humanoid Abomination : The Tall Man, since he is impersonating a human who ventured into his world .
  • Human Resources : The Tall Man uses stolen corpses for two purposes; the bodies are compressed and reanimated as Lurkers; the brains are compressed and reanimated as operators of the Spheres.
  • Iconic Item : The Tall Man has his Sentinel Spheres. Reggie (from the second movie onwards) has his four-barreled shotgun.
  • Idiot Ball : The spheres have a tendency to accidentally kill the Tall Man's minions when they're supposed to be targeting the heroes.
  • Even more so with the gold spheres, which have "positron lasers", 3 blades that look like serrated can-opener blades, and dual circular saws.
  • Reggie's quadruple-barreled shotgun counts as this. It consists of two double-barreled shotguns connected together via their mechanisms to create a four barreled masterpiece.
  • Invincible Boogeymen : The Tall Man is an Eldritch Abomination inhabiting the human corpse of an old man who journeyed into his dimension one day. He's super-strong, impervious to almost anything, can send deadly flying spheres against his targets, and even completely disintegrating him just means an identical Tall Man emerges from the portal.
  • Invincible Villain : The Tall Man who simply can't be stopped. Destroy him completely and another identical one will step out of the portal and finish where he left off. This is a common complaint of the series, as there is little point in hoping for the heroes to win. He has tens of thousands of copies of himself, all of which would need to be killed in order to defeat him, and considering how hard it is to kill just one, such a feat would be nigh impossible. It's possible that he would be killed if his true form in his home dimension could be reached and destroyed, but the place is infested with his minions and his powers are even greater there.
  • Kill It with Ice : Cold is one of the few forces proven to incapacitate the Tall Man, if only temporarily.
  • Large and in Charge : Angus Scrimm (who stood 6 feet 4 inches) deliberately wore a suit that was too small, and lifts in his shoes, to emphasize that he's the Tall Man, damn it! In one scene, playing opposite an actor who was almost as tall, Scrimm had to be filmed standing on a box to loom over him menacingly.
  • Mind Screw : How much of it is deliberate and how much is Coscarelli making it up as he goes along is unclear.
  • The Tall Man. Though, to be fair, the extent of his powers is never made clear.
  • Most noticeably, the Jody Sphere is able to shift into Jody's form, while the other spheres have to be embedded in a body to pass as human.
  • There's also Mike, where he first seemed to have a psychic link with Liz and the Tall Man in the second film before in the fourth film having Tall Man-like powers.
  • Ominous Walk : The Tall Man apparently carries marble floor with him just so he can use this trope.
  • Once per Episode : Someone must have decided that since the original film ends with Mike being pulled through a mirror by lurkers , each sequel should end with something similar befalling a character or characters, whether or not it makes sense . Only the fourth film breaks with this tradition.
  • Our Zombies Are Different : The Lurkers are zombies reanimated with Clarketech-made "embalming fluid", compressed into the size of a dwarf (to make them useful in Heavy Worlder environments) and their brains are removed (to be used as the cores of the Sentinel Spheres ). They bleed yellow because of the fluid and can die if you hit them hard enough (like, say, with all four barrels of a shotgun...)
  • It doesn't help that all events in the series up to and including the first 10-15 minutes of the second film were All Just a Dream . It is uncertain how much - if any - of the first film actually happened, and beyond a few broad hints what the real events unfolded like. Then when the fourth film starts flashing back to footage from the original that wasn't actually included in the film...yep, the Phantasm series is a little screwy .
  • We can be fairly certain that none of the reveals of the third film, including the spheres holding the brains of dead people, and Mike being from the Tall Man's world were things Coscarelli had in mind while starting the series.
  • Rule of Cool : One of the things the series is based entirely around. In fact, a major strike against the sequels for many fans is that they attempt to make sense of the Tall Man and his world, which some see as an exercise in futility.
  • Rule of Scary : The other thing the series is based entirely around. The fact that the movies make little logical sense and you're never quite sure what's happening only adds to the surreal horror.
  • Save Scumming : A rare Film example. It's how The Tall Man keeps coming back. Subverted in the fourth film when Jody teaches Mike how to do it... but he isn't nearly as good at it as The Tall Man is.
  • Sequel Escalation : Particularly with the iconic spheres. The first film featured a single silver one. The second film had more, and introduced the golden spheres with more advanced abilities. By the fourth film you have entire swarms of the things flying around, and the fifth had a giant sphere the size of a house.
  • Spirit Advisor : Jody to Mike and Reggie in the third and fourth films.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels : with the fourth installment Phantasm: Oblivion , although the "IV" in the subtitle is highlighted. Same goes for RaVager .
  • Super-Strength : The Tall Man, who despite his frail (yet imposing) frame, has demonstrated strength of the Neck Lift , Barrier-Busting Blow , and Hoist Hero over Head varieties. As a matter of fact, one of the first clues that there was something odd about the Creepy Mortician skulking around the local cemetery was Mike witnessing him heave a loaded casket into the back of a hearse . With one arm .
  • Surreal Horror : The original Phantasm in particular runs off this, but the whole series has strains of it.
  • This Is a Drill : The silver spheres kill by drilling into the brain and spitting the blood out the end.
  • Was Once a Man : Both the lurkers and, seemingly, the spheres and the Tall Man, himself .
  • White Void Room : The portal rooms to The Tall Man's world.
  • Zombie Mooks : Lurkers, reanimated and shortened zombie creatures ready to do The Tall Man's bidding.

     Phantasm (1979) 

"You play a good game boy, but the game is finished. Now you die." — The Tall Man

  • All Just a Dream : The film at least teases this, with Mike suddenly waking up and being told by a still-living Reggie that it was all a dream, but the Tall Man is real and still after him .
  • Arbitrary Skepticism : Jody believes Mike when he tells him about a magic flying drill and two jawas chasing him down a hallway, then sees the Tall Man's animated finger in a pool of yellow blood, but when Mike says that the Tall Man lifted a coffin all by himself, Jody exclaims, "You're crazy!"
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety : In spite of being established as savvy on gun safety, Jody shoots at the lurker on his back by holding his gun perpendicular to his arm and firing over his head with an extended arm, using his thumb to pull the trigger, all while wildly jostling the lurker. He could have just as easily shot himself in the head.
  • Call-Back : Reggie is shown using a tuning fork on his guitar. In the climax, he recalls the tuning fork and puts his hands on the alien device to silence it.
  • Cat Scare : After Reggie returns with the shrunken Tommy in his truck, the camera follows him as he walks down the hallway, where he's started by Myrtle as she steps in and asks what's going on.
  • Creepy Mortician : The Tall Man, since he's true nature is yet to be discovered, poses as an odd mortician of the Morningside cemetery.
  • Downer Ending : The Tall Man is trapped in an abandoned mine shaft! Woo-hoo, yay! Then our hero wakes up, the adventure seemingly being All Just a Dream . Also, his brother was Dead All Along . However, as he's processing this, the Tall Man suddenly shows up, and drags his nemesis into a closet. Luckily, there were sequels.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto : The Tall Man's hearse and his goons' vehicles tear themselves to pieces and explode after being hit with a shotgun enough times.
  • Evil Plan : The Tall Man is collecting bodies from the Morningside Cemetery to make into his extradimensional slaves.
  • Fake Shemp : The first scene of the movie has two Shemps: the actress who played the Lady in Lavender wasn't comfortable with mimicking a sex scene with the actor who played Tommy, so Bill Thornbury filled in for him. Also, she didn't want her own breasts on film, so the movie cuts to a shot of a different actress' breasts - in the credits, she's billed as "Double Lavender".
  • Fingore : The Tall Man's hand gets caught by a slammed door, then gets its fingers cut off when Mike realizes the trapped hand is there, and still moving. So were the amputated fingers. At least until one turned into an evil alien bug .
  • Hand in the Hole : In a likely Shout-Out to Dune , Mike is instructed by the daughter of the local blind witch to put his hand in a black box which inflicts pain on him, thus teaching him that fear is the mind killer. Mike utilizes this knowledge at the end of the film, trying not to fear The Tall Man.
  • Hand Wave : When Jody confronts his car that has stopped in front of him with no driver, he waits for several long, tense moments calling out and asking if Mike is in the car. Then, Mike suddenly appears and opens the door. The justification for why Mike waited to so long to reveal himself is his line, "Damn door latch!" Sure, let's go with that.
  • Light Is Not Good : The room containing the portal to the Tall Man's planet is noticeably brighter than the rest of the funeral home.
  • MacGyvering : After being locked in his room by Jody, Mike tapes a shotgun shell on a hammer which he uses to make a hole in his door and let himself out.
  • Mirror Scare : The film ends with Mike closing a closet door with a mirror on it, revealing that The Tall Man is in his room. He is then grabbed by the lurkers through the the mirror .
  • No Dead Body Poops : Averted with the caretaker, who voids his bladder after being fatally drilled by a sentinel sphere.
  • One-Word Title : For this first movie, at least.
  • Out with a Bang : The film opens with Tommy, a friend of Jody and Reggie, getting stabbed by a blonde that he just had sex with.
  • Product Placement : Jody is shown to be an aficionado of Dos Equis beer.
  • Undignified Death : Happens to the caretaker. Not only is he the first Sphere kill in the films but he then urinates all over the floor when he hits the ground.
  • The Scream : Heard distantly when Terrie Kalbus visits the mausoleum.
  • The fortune-telling old lady with her ominous black box that contains pain is a clear reference to Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear is also clearly referenced in that scene.
  • The bar where Jody tries to hook up also carries Dune in its name.
  • The sentinel spheres are a reference to the hunter-seeker assassination weapons in Dune, and even suffer from the poor field of vision that the weapons in Dune are stated to struggle with. Another point of similarity is that Dune's hunter-seekers are supposed to operate by burrowing into a victim's body to destroy vital organs (though the hunter-seekers are small enough to completely enter the victim's body when they do so).
  • In the funeral home infiltration scene, Jody decides to carry his Colt 1911 with a round chambered but the hammer in the down position. When a lurker drops onto his back, he has to manually cock the hammer to start shooting at it, which is how a 1911 works in real life.
  • Further work-showing in the scene with Mike giving Jody the shotgun: "Don't point a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. Don't shoot at a man unless you intend to kill him. And no warning shots. Warning shots are bullshit. You shoot to kill, or you don't shoot at all." All 100% in line with the Rules of Gun Safety .
  • Viewers Are Goldfish : Mike spies on the funeral and watches the Tall Man single-handedly toss a coffin into a hearse. About three minutes of screen time later, he tells the fortune-teller about it, and we get a flashback to that entire sequence.
  • Wham Shot : At the end of the film... Mike is in his room - he closes the closet door to reveal the Not Quite Dead Tall Man standing behind him.
  • With Catlike Tread : Subverted. Mike carefully sneaks up to the funeral home in the middle of the night, and then noisily smashes a basement window to get in.

     Phantasm II (1988) 

"You think that when you die, you go to Heaven? You come to us!" — The Tall Man

  • Actionized Sequel : Since Mike and Reggie are already (mostly) on the know about The Tall Man and his machinations, they arm themselves with a laundry list of weapons and get plenty of use from them throughout the film.
  • All Just a Dream : Mike actually tries to summon this Trope to keep Liz calm.... "No, it's not!"
  • Body Horror : The Liz Creature that The Tall man has left as a grisly "calling card" to Mike and Reggie in one of the towns that he has entirely emptied of bodies.
  • Call-Back : When Liz is about to check a mysterious coffin in her hometown funeral parlor, The Tall Man grabs her shoulder and tells her that "gravesite service's about to begin", which is a similar to a scene from the previous film where he grabs Jody who is investigating strange noises.
  • Chainsaw Good : Our heroes pick up a chainsaw when they raid a hardware store for their battle against The Tall Man. Later on, Reggie has a chainsaw duel with a graver .
  • Cruel and Unusual Death : The death of one of the assistant morticians. The Gold Sphere hits him right in the back and proceeds to drill right into his body, the mortician writing in agony, until it tries to leaves through his mouth but gets jammed in his jaws.
  • Cynicism Catalyst : Reggie's unseen family gets blown up so that he'll be motivated to go after The Tall Man together with Mike .
  • Dangerous Windows : The Tall Man kidnaps Liz by grabbing her through a window.
  • Death of a Child : Reggie's family, including his young daughter, are killed after the Tall Man blows up their house .
  • Ear Ache : A silver sphere flies past Father Meyers, removing his left ear before lodging itself on his forehead and draining him of his blood.
  • Fake Shemp : Mike's face isn't shown in the first part of the film, as he was clearly played by a different child actor.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon : Mike creates a makeshift flamethrower.
  • Gas Mask Mooks : The gravers, who are in charge of exhuming graves and delivering their inhabitants to The Tall Man.
  • Groin Attack : Reggie finishes his chainsaw duel with a graver by raising his saw to the guy's groin.
  • Hell Is That Noise : The sound the first Gold Sphere in Phantasm II makes sounds like a girl constantly screaming.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard : Subverted when Mike uses one of the Tall Man's own flying spheres against him. It only makes him spurt yellow blood, and he crushes the sphere with his bare hand before throwing it away.
  • Homemade Flamethrower : While rigging up weapons in a hardware store, Mike builds a flamethrower out of several propane bottles and a blowtorch head. Somewhat realistically, it only has a range of a few feet and he wears a welding mask while using it to protect his eyes.
  • I'm Melting! : After being stabbed with a embalming needle, The Tall Man starts melting since Reggie added hydrochloric acid into the embalming fluid earlier.
  • Immediate Sequel : The film opens on Liz telling the audience about her visions of the future, and one of these visions is shown to be the ending of the previous film , and what happened immediately afterwards.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision : A mortician mook gets his hand Pinned to the Wall by a silver sphere which was aiming for Mike and Liz. When he sees a golden one headed his way as well, he resorts to cutting the pinned hand off with an axe to avoid an even worse fate.
  • Murder by Cremation : Liz escapes from being cremated alive, and hands that fate for one of The Tall Man's mortician mooks instead.
  • No-Sell : Mike manages to hit the Tall Man with one of his own spheres, and for a moment it seems to work as it sticks and begins pumping out yellow fluid instead of blood. Then he pulls the sphere off and crushes it in his hand like an aluminium can.
  • Numbered Sequels : Naturally, and the only sequel not to have a sub-title to go with it.
  • Oddball in the Series : The only Phantasm film to not feature Mike’s older brother Jody and lacks the Mind Screw dreamlike atmosphere that both the original and latter sequels have.
  • Right Through His Pants : The sex scene between Reggie and Alchemy involves the former fully clothed and the second just keeping her black panties.
  • A mortician mook is seen filling a bag labeled "Mr. Sam Raimi " with ashes. This may also be a Stealth Pun on Ash from Raimi's Evil Dead films.
  • There's a grave marked Alex Murphy. An obvious reference to RoboCop .
  • Super Window Jump : After saving young Mike from the lurkers, Reggie grabs him and jumps out of a second story window just before the entire house explodes.
  • This Is a Drill : Reggie has a power drill among his arsenal, which he uses against a graver who has lifted him against a wall to get free.
  • Unflinching Walk : At the beginning of the film, Reggie turns off the pilot lights on the gas stove in an effort to incinerate the Tall Man's minions. After a harrowing escape with Mike in tow, they leap out a window just in time to get clear of the massive explosion. The Tall Man merely glances backwards at the flaming building, then continues after the pair.
  • Wham Line : At the end of the film, courtesy of the Tall Man once again. Mike: Listen to me, none of this is real. We'll wake up! It's just a dream, it's just a dream— The Tall Man : No, it's not!]]

     Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) 

"It’s never over!" — The Tall Man

  • Action Girl : Rocky and Tanesha. Mostly Rocky, since Tanesha dies soon after she is introduced.
  • Asshole Victim : The looter trio, who solely exist to act like dicks and get killed. Even after death .
  • Badass Adorable : Tim. A cute boy who's absolutely deadly.
  • Black Dude Dies First : Tanesha, Rocky's friend, is the first to die of the main group.
  • Bloody Hilarious : The gore throughout the film is mostly played for laughs.
  • Credits Gag : The end credits have a warning that states how "unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability, criminal prosecutions, and the wrath of The Tall Man."
  • Death of a Child : The film ends with Tim being taken and killed by one of The Tall Man's lurkers, if his absence in the next film is anything to go by.
  • Decapitation Presentation : Liz doesn't survive the hearse crash at the beginning, and the Tall Man's standoff with Reggie ends with a dwarf handing the Tall Man her severed head as a trophy.
  • Denser and Wackier : There's a greater element of comedy in this sequel, in the vein of Evil Dead 2 .
  • Designated Girl Fight : Rocky vs the female zombie Edna.
  • Go into the Light : Mike is somewhat discouraged from doing so in the third film when he sees the Tall Man waiting for him there.
  • Immediate Sequel : After the events of the previous films are recounted , it is shown what happened immediately after the second film ended.
  • Kavorka Man : Tthroughout all of the movies, but particularly here when he keeps hitting on Rocky.
  • Kill It with Ice : Our protagonists attempt to defeat The Tall Man by stabbing him with a cryogenics-dipped spear and the locking him up in a freezer. This incarnation of The Tall man then retaliates by unleashing the golden sentinel within his body .
  • Neck Snap : Not shown onscreen, but when Tim finds his mother's corpse, its head is clearly twisted around.
  • Nocturnal Mooks : According to Tim, the lurkers, The Tall Man's dwarfish minions, only come out at night.
  • Numbered Sequels : With an instance of Title of the Dead as a subtitle.
  • Off with His Head! : Jody-sphere latches itself onto Rufus's head, and starts spinning around, removing it .
  • Portal Cut : The Tall Man is reaching through one of his dimensional gates when Reggie shuts it off, slicing them off where they then mutate into alien scorpion-like creatures that attack the protagonists .
  • Slashed Throat : Tim kills Rufus of the looters by throwing a frisbee adorned with razors, which then proceeds to cut his throat.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome : Liz is shown dying from a car crash after the film starts proper with the Tall Man carrying her head not too long after.
  • Super Window Jump : After finding out that his mother is dead, Tim crashes out of the back-window of the hearse he's on.
  • Symploce : The little verbal exchange between the Tall Man and Reggie has it: Reggie: It's all over. The Tall Man: It's never over.
  • That Came Out Wrong : Done by Jody when his spirit interrupts Reggie amidst an erotic dream of his. Jody: Yeah Reg, I kinda need you to get behind me— I-I mean I need you get behind what I'm saying.
  • Wham Line : As usual, one comes from The Tall Man at the end of the film: Reggie: (to Tim) Run kid, get out of here! It's over! The Tall Man: It's never over.

     Phantasm: Oblivion (1998) 

"Where do you think you're going boy? Death is no escape from me." — The Tall Man

  • 11th-Hour Costume Change : Reggie changes his clothes and dresses like an ice cream vendor just before the climax.
  • Blatant Lies : In a dream, the Tall Man is caught by a noose and he begs the young Mike to cut him down. The Tall Man: Cut me down! Michael: No! The Tall Man: I won't hurt you. Michael: You're killing the world! The Tall Man: I'll go away... and I won't ever come back. [gives mischievous grin] Michael: You will? The Tall Man: Yes.
  • Blipvert : The very beginning of the movie.
  • Body Horror : The living, twisted body in the trunk .
  • Bond One-Liner : Reggie, after witnessing the definitive demise of the zombie cop: "Wow, some cops can be real assholes!"
  • Chekhov's Gun : With his new powers, Mike contructs a sentinel sphere of his own, which is powered by his car's engine. This turns up in the climax where he uses it to lure The Tall Man into an exploding trap, which fails to kill him since another version of him appears right afterwards .
  • Credits Gag : Like the previous film, the end credits have a warning that states how "unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability, criminal prosecutions, and the wrath of The Tall Man."
  • Darker and Edgier : May be the most grim entry in the franchise, lacking in much of the campy humor of the third, and Mike and Reggie are completely on their own for much of the movie.
  • Downer Ending : The film ends with Mike dying and Reggie going off into parts unknown to follow the Tall Man.
  • Drop The Hammer : Reggie has a sledge hammer with him, which he uses to kill Jennifer after she turns out to be one of The Tall Man's minions .
  • Every Car Is a Pinto : It is even lampshaded , with the implication that Reality Is Unrealistic . Reggie: We better move away from the car before the gasoline blows. Jennifer: Wait! I thought cars only blew up like that in the movies! Car explodes in a huge fireball Reggie: Yeah, me too.
  • For Want Of A Nail : A particularly heartbreaking example. Mike meets Jebediah Morningside, the original owner of the Morningside Funeral Home, who the Tall Man is now using as a "skinsack". Morningside pleads with him to tell him about his experience with the Dimension Fork, but Mike is too terrified. If he'd just told him about what awaits him on the other side, he could have stopped the Tall Man from stealing his body, and from taking over the world .
  • Gothic Horror : This installment in the series is particularly abundant in this though some occasional gothic elements do spring up across the whole franchise. So, the movie features: a man lost in the Death Valley, chilling in a funeral car during the nighttime, writing a letter in the light of a candelabra. There is also a tophat sporting man called Jebediah who is an enigmatic unorthodox inventor, he lives almost all by himself in the middle of nowhere in a Victorian manor and performs outworldly experiments. He has an old fashion steampunk looking mechanism that could be easily placed in a Frankenstein movie and no one would tell the difference. Plenty of deserted and derelict scenery - a lone withered tree in the middle of a desert, a cemetery, a mortuary. So on and so forth.
  • Grandparent Clause : Reggie puts on a milkman's uniform just because that's what he wore in the first movie. Just a recognizable homage to the past, iconic for this character.
  • Immediate Sequel : The film starts with Mike driving away from Boulton after learning the truth about himself, and The Tall Man sparing Reggie's life from what seemed like his certain doom.
  • Mood Whiplash : The fourth film is split between Mike's somber explorations of the Tall Man's origins, and Reggie's wacky adventures trying to find him.
  • Pinned to the Wall : Reggie manages to stop a sentinel sphere with his hand, but it then proceeds to pin him to a wall. He has to use his tuning fork to stop it.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude : There is a scene in the movie where Mike kind of chills in the funeral car, writing a letter, making up a plan and pondering over different stuff in the light of candles. The funeral car is not a church, sure, but still it has some spiritual and religious connotations as the burial process and everything connected with it are parts of a ritual.
  • Shout-Out : Mike walking around a canyon while being stalked by lurkers is similarly to a scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope , where R2D2 is being followed by Jawas.
  • Staggered Zoom : When Mike attempts to hang himself, a zoom like this shows The Tall man watching him in the distance.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome : Liz and Tim.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom : By creating his dimensional gate, Jebediah Morningside inadvertently ended up giving the interdimensional being that would become the Tall Man a "skinsack" and a way to access our world, leading to the events of the series.
  • Wham Line : Delivered after the sweet old man Jebediah Morningside walks into his prototype dimensional gate. Mike : *as Jebediah Morningside steps through the prototype dimensional gate* When's he coming back? Jody : Jebediah Morningside never does come back. *The Tall Man steps back through the gate, Sentinel in hand.*

     Phantasm: Ravager (2016) 

"You’re not even real. You’re MY bad dream!" — The Tall Man

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us : In the "main" reality, the Tall Man issued a full on invasion and took over much of the world.
  • Ambiguous Situation : The movie plays around with the idea that the entire series is Reggie's delusions as he grows older and gets Senile Dementia.
  • Asshole Victim : The guy who stole the Cuda gets murdered by a sphere.
  • Batman Gambit : Reggie tricks a car's driver into going for a gun, then pulls the gun out of its actual hiding place, revealing that the car was in fact Reggie's.
  • Big Damn Heroes : Jody shows up at a crucial moment, driving the weaponized Cuda.
  • Bittersweet Ending : Reggie finally finds Mike and Jody, but they're all still stuck in a battle against the Tall Man, who for all intents and purposes is unstoppable .
  • The Bus Came Back : Rocky turns up in The Stinger .
  • Credits Gag : The threat in the end credits is escalated to "the eternal wrath of the Tall Man."
  • Defiant to the End : Reggie expresses his wish to go out this way "On my own two feet, shoving four barrels and hell down their fucking throats".
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good : The Tall Man can't understand the concept of Loyalty .
  • Kavorka Man : Reggie. Or at least it's strongly implied that Dawn would have invited him into her bed, if she hadn't come back downstairs and found him already asleep.
  • Left Hanging : The series ends without a proper conclusion, as the Tall Man is still undefeated and the questions of what exactly he is or what his obsession with Mike stemmed from are left unanswered.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles : None of Demeter's dialogue is translated.
  • Sequel Escalation : Gigantic versions of the spheres appear, especially in the reality where The Tall Man has taken over the world.
  • The Stinger : The action continues after the credits start rolling, including a scene where a very battered but still living Chunk comes crawling out of a portal in the desert and meets up with Rocky.
  • Unexplained Recovery : Mike returns in this movie, still alive and powers intact.
  • The Virus : How the Tall Man took over the world.
  • Word Sequel

Alternative Title(s): Phantasm II , Phantasm III Lord Of The Dead , Phantasm IV Oblivion , Phantasm V Ravager

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[Suggestions]QoL (Quality of Life) Ideas [Merged]


By Requiest.3628 October 7, 2017 in Guild Wars 2 Discussion

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Home Instance Nodes and Improved Economy Regulation ( This section has been edited as of 2019-07-07 .)

Adding Home Instance gathering nodes to the Gem Store, so they can be purchased individually, has been a huge QoL improvement, yet there are still two such nodes that have been inexplicably excluded from the list: the Advanced Cloth Rack and the Advanced Leather Rack .

Likewise, adding the Black Lion Statuette item (and its corresponding merchant) to the game was an excellent QoL improvement. Due to hyper-inflated Trading Post prices for certain items, giving players the option to purchase certain items directly from the Gem Store on a regular basis, or from Black Lion Statuette vendors, would be consistent with the ostensible purpose for the Black Lion Statuette vendors. These items include, but are not limited to:

  • These Permanent Contracts: Permanent Black Lion Merchant Contract ; Permanent Hair Stylist Contract ; Permanent Bank Access Contract ; Permanent Trading Post Express Contract ; Endless Repair Contract ; and Endless Upgrade Extractor Contract .

For long-time players with huge amounts of consumable versions, as well as a Permanent / Endless version of one or more of these items, a brilliant QoL improvement would be the ability to exchange consumable versions of these items for a reasonable quantity of Black Lion Statuettes per consumable (e.g., an Upgrade Extractor could be sold to the Black Lion Statuette merchant for 5 Black Lion Statuettes, etc., etc.).

Purchasable Shared Gathering Slots (Account-Level)

I would like to be able to purchase from the Gem Store shared gathering tool slots for my characters. Ideally, one would be able to make this purchase once for his entire account.

In other words, I hope I would not have to—individually, one-at-a-time—purchase shared gathering slots for each gathering tool type, for each character. (This kind of implementation would dramatically reduce my interest in this feature.) Ideally, the purchase would be made once, and would unlock the shared gathering tool slot for every character on my account. I could see making each tool type slot a separate purchase, if ArenaNet really has to do that in order to justify the cost of implementing this Quality of Life improvement.

So, for example, for 400 Gems, one could unlock a Shared Logging Tool Slot for all of his characters, place his Reap-r-Tron, or whatever, in the slot, and then use the Reap-r-Tron on every character without having to individually equip the unlimited gathering tool each time he switches characters. Then, for another 400 Gems, he could unlock a Shared Mining Tool Slot, which would work the same way; and for another 400 Gems, he could unlock a Shared Foraging Tool Slot, which would work the same way.

Having to move unlimited gathering tools from one character to another is an annoying, frustrating inconvenience. Players specifically buy unlimited gathering tools to avoid the inconvenience of having to purchase the standard, limited-use gathering tools. This Quality of Life feature, therefore, would add value to an existing feature and further enhance QoL for players.

Ancillary Feature: Locked Shared Gathering Tool Slots

For players who like to use different unlimited gathering tool sets, depending on which character they’re playing, it would be nice to have the ability to “lock” a purchased Shared Gathering Tool Slot for a given character. Locking a Shared Gathering Tool Slot prior to equipping a gathering tool in that slot would prevent the any account-wide changes being made to the locked character or to any other character as a result of equipping a gathering tool in the locked slot.

Pin Character to Beginning of Character Menu

This is a feature suggestion. I would like for the development team to add the ability to pin a character to the beginning of the character list on the character selection screen. This would be a Quality of Life improvement that I imagine would be very easy to implement, yet would have broad appeal. Of course, being able to manually order your characters on the Character Select screen (and lock that ordering) would be ideal, but even being able to pin a single character to the beginning of the list would be a marginal improvement.

Right now, the last character I played is the first one that shows up in the character selection list. I would prefer to be able to pin one character to the beginning of the list, and have the rest of my characters show up in the order most recently played. Honestly, I’m surprised this idea hasn’t already been considered and implemented.

Meaningful Guild Hall Changes

  • While your mileage may vary, most Guild Halls have become ghost towns, populated only by NPCs, and the random player making their way to the tavern to refresh or change their guild bonus from +sPvP to +WvW or +Gathering or whatever. Adding to Guild Halls entrances or a portal to dungeons, fractals, and raids might make them seem marginally more relevant and desirable as gathering places for players who spend a lot of time waiting around to engage with content.
  • Adding a Mystic Forge to Guild Halls would be nice. The tired, old, unpersuasive argument that it discourages players from gathering in cities seems largely undermined by the many and various Gem Store items that permit players to use Mystic Forges in locations that are not accessible to all players--only those who buy the Gem Store items. I would agree with the decision to make this one of the final available upgrades to a Guild Hall, but it should be an option.
  • Training Dummies, such as those in the Heart of the Mists, would also be a welcome addition to Guild Halls.

Meaningful Incentives to Level a New Guild

Sadly, the "market," if you want to call it that, for guild members is dominated by high-level guilds that can offer convenient perks to their members without having to do very much, after they hit the level cap. Yes, it takes a lot of work and a huge amount of resources to get big, but a guild should be about more than just having a lot of members and getting convenient perks. Guilds should be about community. Therefore, it is important to motivate even large guilds to continue to create and maintain high-quality communities for their members. Competition, including competition with smaller guilds, is a necessary part of that motivation.

To make up the power imbalance between a level-capped guild, and a lower-level guild, I recommend adding more powerful incentives for leveling-up guilds, or a "guild tax" for level-capped guilds, that ensures they don't just hit the cap, and then stay there, doing nothing, and just adding members who want to lazily enjoy the benefits of the guild, without really engaging with any kind of community.

I know of at least one Level 69 guild that was "led," if you can call it that, by a player who was M.I.A. for over a year. The account recently started logging in, again, but doesn't chat in guild chat, and doesn't ever respond to guild members when they message the account. He's the Guild Leader! I strongly suspect he sold his account. The guild is pretty much dead. Without an active leader, nothing can really change. The only reason to be a member of the guild is for Guild Hall perks. It's sad.

Giving players Guild Commendations for repping a guild for a certain length of time (kind-of like participation in WvW, where you get rewards on a timer, just for playing in that game mode for a given amount of time) would be really great. In case you think I'm hating on level-capped guilds, which I'm not, notice this would be especially beneficial for level-capped guilds that have little incentive to continue to do guild missions.


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September 12, 2017

Home Instance Nodes and Improved Economy Regulation(This section has been edited as of 2019-07-07.) Adding Home Instance gathering nodes to the Gem Store, so they can be purchased individually, has be


May 3, 2021

Be able to save dye configurations.


May 10, 2022

I think increasing the max bank slots an account can obtain from 17 to 32 would help a lot of people. Most of the people I know who indulge in account upgrade sales can't actually partake cause they a



I really like the idea of pinning a character. With Deadeye on the horizon, my thief has risen all the way from obscurity to "main" status and I'd love to manually keep him at the front, instead of him being shuffled out of sight when I decide I need to dig through every other character's inventory.

A QOL feature I've had on my mind for a while is "even more granular inventory grouping." I want to be able to highlight a number of connected inventory slots- any number, but for my needs I'd probably use a 10x1 strip- and assign them as not being able to interact with vendors, not part of inventory compacting, and not even able to be moved out of that slot until the slot is unassigned. Invisible bags address this problem partially, but I'd rather not commit all 20 slots of an invisible bag, or even have to wait and buy one in the first place, to be able to do some inventory management in the style of a keyring or a pseudo-actionbar. I use the shared inventory slots for items that all my characters benefit from accessing, but this would scratch the itch of "this is my character that's good at farming, so I want all these shovels, keys, machetes, and crowbars in one place." Then I could hop on my WvW character and lock up a different grid of slots that are dedicated to my siege tools.

Endless Soul.5178

Endless Soul.5178

Regarding the home instance nodes, the Iron Ore Node doesn't even exist. There's none on the Trading Post. It's as if it's been entirely removed as a drop from the game (I'm not sure if that's actually the case).

I would buy one from the gem store if it was made available there.



I thought the plan was that these would be migrated in an out of the BLTC over time. I think I would prefer to see the old ones remain as is. Maybe instead offer the player the random style nodes that we have in the guild halls and in WvW. That way existing nodes retain value but players still have new options. Note at time of this post I am not trading in these on the TP but have in the past before they removed from the chests. Its good to have items of value in the chests.



Shared gathering tool slots would be great. Putting a different tool in a character's tool slot could then override the shared slot.

My requests:

A crafting queue! With sub-recipes and sub-sub-sub-recipes being automatically added to the queue if you don't have all the required components in your inventory/bank/material storage. Cooking and especially scribing may require a lot of steps and backtracking, and it gets really fiddlesome. And sometimes after a long day of playing I'd really like my character to process all those logs/ores/cloth scraps/leather sections in one go. Let me queue the orders, go do something else and come back five minutes later instead of having to wait-click-wait-click-wait-click for every task.

A better search function for players and guilds .

A watch list/wish list for the gemstore. Between hoping for a sale and waiting for items to return to the store at all, a lot of people would find this very helpful I wager.

An open all/consume all/salvage all option for ALL containers, consumables and other relevant items! This would really speed up inventory management, and reduce wear and tear on both player hands and computer mice. Also very helpful when boosting a new character to 80.

Allow item and dye preview in the makeover menu. Maybe also allow clicking on dyes in our dye panel to preview them in the preview mode?



Anyone with enough alts definitely needs an improved character select screen.

  • More characters visible per page (or all of them visible, like in a MOBA)
  • Smaller character image so it fits on the screen
  • List of the day's daily quests (would be helpful, but now that Daily Class Winner isn't in PvP, not heavily necessary)
  • Sorting functions (Recently played, Least played, Crafting levels, Race, Profession, etc.)



More armor choices that don't have capes, robes, or butt skirts would greatly improve my play experience.



Add a new item “Ultra Converter,” (or some clever punny name) available at Laurel Vendors for like 25 Laurels. This item consolidates all of the converters (material and currency) into a single item. All converters share limits with this new service (I imagine it would be easier if you made it a definitive, uniform number per day, rather than random each day).Either upon unlock/grant of the converter, or upon trade-in of the converter (at a new tab with all things Converter, probably at a Laurel Vendor) (the former is better, in case people deleted things), you will unlock access to the trades. Categories and unlocks are listed as below.Tabs: Trades with daily limits

! Pile of Bloodstone Dust (50) -> Gift from Mawdrey II [max 3-6 daily]! Unlock item: Mawdrey II and/or a crafting Mawdrey achievement ! Dragonite Ore (50) -> Gunk-Covered Pellet [max 3-6 daily]! Unlock item: Princess and/or Lion’s Arch Exterminator achievement ! Empyreal Fragment (50) -> Generosity’s Reward [max 3-6 daily]! Unlock item: Star of Gratitude and/or Warming Grawnk’s Heart achievement ! Pile of Bloodstone Dust (250) -> Glowing Stone [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Herta and/or Where Exalted Dare achievement ! Dragonite Ore (25) + Empyreal Fragments (25) -> 1 Fluctuating Mass [max 6 daily]! Unlock item: Sentient Abberation or Gleam of Sentience ! Dragonite Ore (25) + Piles of Bloodstone Dust (25) -> 1 Fluctuating Mass [max 6 daily]! Unlock item: Sentient Anomaly or Gleam of Sentience ! Piles of Bloodstone Dust (25) + Empyreal Fragments (25) -> 1 Fluctuating Mass [max 6 daily]! Unlock item: Sentient Oddity or Gleam of Sentience ! Unbound Magic (150) -> 1 Fluctuating Mass [max 6 daily]! Unlock item: Sentient Singularity or Gleam of Sentience ! Shards of Glory (50) -> Timeless Bag of Items [max 6 daily]! Unlock item: Shards of Glory Converter and/or a Shards of Glory Converter acquisition achievement ! Memories of Battle (50) -> Timeless Bag of Items [max 5 daily]! Unlock item: Memory Gobbler ! (any daily-limited buffs could be shared here, if they are ever added) Ley Energy Matter Converter (Key) ! Free -> 1 of 4 HoT keys [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Ley-Energy Matter Converter and/or Mouth of Mordremoth Master achievement Ley Energy Matter Converter (Airship Parts) ! Airship Part (25) -> 1 of 4 random daily choices [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Airship Essence Ley Energy Matter Converter (Lumps of Aurillium) ! Lump of Aurillium (25) -> 1 of 4 random daily choices [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Aurillium Essence Ley Energy Matter Converter (Ley Line Crystals) ! Ley Line Crystal (25) -> 1 of 4 random daily choices [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Ley-Line Crystal Essence Fractal Reliquary ! Fractal Relic (25) -> 1 of 4 random daily choices [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Fractal Reliquary and/or Ascended Recycling achievement Karmic Converter ! Karma (4998) -> 1 of 3 daily choices [max 1 daily]! Unlock item: Karmic Converter and/or Exotic Hunter achievement Buffs ! Piece of Candy Corn (3) -> Random Boon(s) [no max]! Unlock item: Candy Corn Gobbler and/or a Candy Corn Gobbler acquisition achievement Ecto Gambling ! All trades available at Ecto Gambler vendors! Unlock item: Tarrktun Personal Delivery Portal and/or Legendary Tarrktun Supporter achievement Sell ! (I wouldn’t entirely be opposed to adding General merchant tab to list, but the reason I do this only because it’s included in Tarrktun item, and if there were the trade-in requirement, the sell feature should not be lost; and then it would just be considerate to include the Personal Merchant Express as an alternative method to unlock this, but that doesn’t inherently bring everything from the express into the equation.)! Unlock item: Tarrktun Personal Delivery Portal and/or Legendary Tarrktun Supporter achievement or Personal Merchant Express acquisition achievement Buyback ! Unlock item: Tarrktun Personal Delivery Portal and/or Legendary Tarrktun Supporter achievement or Personal Merchant Express acquisition achievement

As a New-Forum QOL, can we extend the log-in time? The former one was roughly 24 hours, but I think the new one is only an hour or so.

Bank preview screen

! On the top icons, up with Hero tab, WvW, settings, PvP, etc. I would like to see a bank button. From here, you can preview all of the stuff in your Bank, Material Storage, and Wardrobe. If you happen to have a Personal Bank Access Express on your character or in your bank, you can also directly deposit/withdraw from this interface.! I’ve always found it annoying how hard it is to see what you have while you are not at a banker/crafting station. You can see materials by opening your crafting window and finding a recipe that uses the item, thereby seeing how many you have, but it’s so convoluted. And I think providing this preview may encourage more people to want/buy the Personal Express contract, as well as the single-use items, because they will know if what they want is there when they need it.

Black Lion Salvage Charges to replace kits

! I have so many Black Lion Salvage Kits that have accumulated over time just from Achievement Chests and Chest of Black Lion Goods. I would prefer to not have to store them in a bank or even a mule character.! I would like for them to be replaced with Black Lion Salvage Charges. These would be a Currency. You could convert any salvage kits that you already have into charges, equal to how many charges the kit still has (could be done as a right-click option, or through a vendor with all of the possible trades, perhaps at the Black Lion Trader (Armorsmith), or make it so each use removes a charge on the kit and grants one charge currency).! So, instead of getting the Salvage Kits, any method through which you could currently get them would be replaced with the charge currency, or a consumable item to gain the charges, like with the Transmutation charges. You could buy the charges in the Gem Store for 1/15gems, 10/140gems, 25/300gems. There would be a new Black Lion Salvage-o-matic, which operates much like the Copper- or Silver-fed Salvage-o-matics, but it consumes the Black Lion Salvage Charges instead of the coin. These kits can be infinitely bought in the store for 0 gems (and, while Exotic quality, should be easy to delete), so that you can have remote access to the feature whenever you want.! This could also give you a bit more control over how many charges different sources give, if you wanted to re-balance them, but that may get a bit of backlash.! * Basically, this is just a QoL change, but I would really appreciate the extra space.

Character Select Screen This is similar to what was said in the OP already, but just copying from old Forum's QoL thread.

! Lock Positions ! I would love if we could have the ability to lock the position of characters in place on the login screen, starting from the first position on the far left and going right. Basically, locked ones could have like a gold or silver outline to indicate that it’s locked, and then any that aren’t locked will, like now, be ordered based on which was last logged in. Also, it would be nice if we could click and drag locked players to move to/in between other locked players (basically like how the achievement tracking works), so you don’t have to do it perfectly the first time.! I have a few mule/farming alts; I would prefer that they be located after my main capped characters. I may even want to lock those characters, but after my mains.! This isn’t necessary really, but if you were able to, you could also make a second section that you could bind the locked characters to, which would be the right side, going left, which would be located after the left-locked characters, and the most-recent characters.!! Scrolling Support ! It would be nice if we could scroll on the character screen (down to go right, up to go left).!! Choice of how many character icons to display at once ! Currently you can only see up to 7 character icons at the bottom of the screen at a time. It would be nice if we could see as many as we want, as there is probably room for ~15-20 (for me). This would be dependent on the size of the screen, if you wanted to build-in a maximum based on what you can detect the size is, that’s fine, but otherwise, as long as it’s easy to change quickly, I don’t think you need to worry too much about it going off of the screen or anything. Alternatively, you could let it go up to like 40 and just have the icons scale down in size the more there are (although I do see the issue with that), but whatever. The current cap of 7 just requires a lot of scrolling for me since I have a lot of characters.! Some things to help with inventory management, especially in regard to level 80 meta zones ! Make the only rewards you get from these zones reduced to this list: ! junk items . eh, it’s a trade-off thing. i dont like them, but so be it. would be nice to have an auto-delete functon of these items worth less than a set amount, but say, 10s each (maybe unlocked after you complete Trash Collector achievement).! currencies . map currency, karma, coin.! zone chest keys . such as Bandit Chest Key, Pact Crowbar, etc.! lesser bag . these are primarily from solo or quick events. contains crafting materials, coin, and unidentified items (fine and masterwork).! greater bag . these are primarily from group, boss, or long events. they have masterwork and/or rare salvage items. contains crafting materials, coin, and unidentified items (masterwork and rare).! chest bag . gotten from looting a zone’s loot boxes around the terrain.! unidentified equipment items . explained later on. replaces all direct equipment drops (from mobs and chest bags).! crafting materials . these can be based on the mob type, or zone based, or whatever.! miscellaneous zone consumable items . such as Pile of Sand, which comes from some mobs, events, boxes, and so on. the point is though, that it’s all one item, relatively easy to build-up and manage.! achievement drops . these are likely going to be specific to the mob type you kill, but these achievement items will drop directly off of mobs, and not be included in the bag loot, because that is not particular to! note that the chest bags may need to have their direct loot hard-coded to be scaled to level 76-80, if that is an economic balance issue for crafting materials, because currently, you would only get level 76-80 loot from the initial drops, which are not currently in a loot-scaling bag.! all boxes would be reduced to the following drops: 1x chest bag , and whatever currency you would get from those boxes. so basically, copy the loot table for the boxes as they are now, and for the actual box, make it only currencies and the chest bag, and for chest bag, make it all that the box currently is except for the currencies.! Make equipment drops much more simplified: ! “Unidentified Common/Fine/Masterwork/Rare Item” item. item properties explained below. replaces all non-set equipment drops! “Unidentified Fine/Masterwork/Rare Item” item. item properties explained below. replaces all set equipment drops (such as Reclaimed weapon set). if the set is specifically for weapons or armor, then it will replace the word “Item” with “Weapon” or “Armor”, respectively.! These Unidentified item acts as both a container and a salvage item. If you salvage it, it will give you the loot of an item of the container’s quality, the specific item type of which is selected while being salvaged (giving the different types of common crafting materials); you will not get any rune/sigil if you directly salvage the container. If you open it, you will identify one piece of equipment, the quality determined based on the quality of the unidentified item. The reason for letting people open this gear is, well, people do actually use some of it, especially rare, and they may want to use it; or, so that they can mystic forge it.! Salvaging an Unidentified Rare Item will have no confirmation box, to streamline it even more. This shouldn’t really be an issue anyways, since people would ordinarily only want to save Rares of any type if they knew what was in/on it and wanted to use it.! Exotic items stay as they are now, they would not be granted in an unidentified form.! All bag and mob equipment drops that currently drop are replaced with these items (7 total in most zones).! Unidentified Items with no associated equipment set could be opened at any level to scale the loot.! These unidentified items would only drop for level 80 zones/mobs. Below that, loot isn’t as much of an issue to manage, so these wouldn’t exist.! Ideally, add a few gameplay options to help inventory management:** * ! mastery that lets you toggle on/off auto-deposit of mob-looted crafting materials (and preferably additional options for chest-looted, bag-looted, salvage-looted, and any other methods)! * mastery or achievement-granted unlock that allows you to automatically delete trash items worth less than an indicated amount (dropdown value selection, starting at 1s, 5s, 10s, 30s).! Really though, one of the only/best things out of this would be to make all 76-80 equipment items consolidated into unidentified items, as that is definitely the most tedious and frustrating part of inventory management, and the fact that you can now ignore runes/sigils with this would be wonderful. Recipes may be another slight issue if you do only this change for equipment, but it would still be pretty manageable.

A bunch of random, smaller suggestions

! For crafting window, would be nice if all sections were minimized by default (or by optional choice), and if we could favorite recipes and they would then also be shown in a Favorites section on the top of the crafting recipe list.! Maybe also re-organize some of the recipes to make them more logical. Maybe add sections within sections (so all types of weapons inside a Weapons section).! Add account-shared inventory tabs (like the Currency Wallet) for: Boosters (and Account-Bound/Gem Stone Consumables), Toys, Keys, maybe some other stuff. I really want the Gem Store Consumables to be accessible by all so that I can actually use them when I need/want to. Not worth putting in Shared Slots (which are themselves a Premium service), but I want to be able to make use of them and not just keep them lying around. Would potentially make them sell more if people had free-access to these things. If it’s expected that these items are bought, I think it would be nice if they gave us this kind of built-in convenience with them. ! Add three right-click salvage options for Salvage Items: “Salvage Basic Salvage Items”, “Salvage Rare Salvage Items”, and “Salvage Exotic Salvage Items”. Perhaps this would best go along with three accompanying ones for explicitly equipment: “Salvage Fine and Below Equipment”, “Salvage Masterwork and Below Equipment”, “Salvage Rare Equipment” (and maybe a “Salvage Rare and Below Equipment”, and “Salvage Rare and Below Items”). Keep the “Salvage All…” options as now. I know this is cluttered, but I like the options. ! I bet this is already in the works, but “Open All” right-click option for containers, stopping when inventory is full, like Salvaging does.! Put Boss Trophies somewhere. Either in a Trophy Wallet, or Material Storage, a new Trophy Storage bank tab, or something. No need for people to have to carry/store a bunch of these items (even if you can deposit them into a guild).! Map Potions (currently only 3 HoT maps) could go into the keyring inventory tab and be consumed directly from there. Would be a nice way to store them, and again, a very similar issue as with keys, where you may not have access to them when you want to use them. Could also include Experimental Mordrem Extraction Devices and Silverwastes Shovels.! When capped on Luck, if you consume more, it will save how much over you have used, and you can extract that extra later if you want (for Guild upgrades or whatever), and if the cap is raised, it will automatically apply that excess. It’s just easier to keep on consuming it rather than holding onto it.! When you add a note to friends, make it so you can still see their id.####. Currently, I think the note will replace this completely.! A lore journal, or a collection/bank tab for completed physical books. This or, once a book is completed, make it an infinitely-retrievable “Unlocked Rewards” (in the achievement panel).! I would love an account-shared harvest tool slot (only fitting Infinite-use/Laurel-bought tools), or add unlocked/purchased harvest tools to the “Unlocked Rewards” so you can make as many as you want for all characters.! To echo other people, “Consume All” option for Pile of Silky Sand, Reward Potions (WvW/PvP), XP Scrolls/Tomes, Scroll of Knowledges (Spirit Shard ones; some still exist and are obtainable, not in bulk, but still, might as well add the option here).! Add “Sell Minor Sigils/Runes” and “Sell Major Sigils/Runes” buttons to vendors (maybe with shorter names).! Add right-click options to Permanent Merchant Contract: Sell Junk, Sell Minor Runes/Sigils, Sell Major Rune/Sigils.! Either by default, or by an option, display ALL relevant currencies and/or keys to do with a zone. For Verdant Brink, that would mean: Coin, Karma, Airship Parts, Pact Crowbars, Potion of Verdant Attunment (maybe). Cities would show: Coin, Karma, Gems. If they don’t all fit for a player, just cut off any that overflow (cutting off to the left).! Would be awesome if the game could detect if you had a Total Makeover Kit/Self-Style Hair Kit, and give you the option to make use of it in character creation as well (being consumed when fully created, and which one being used being based on what things you chose).! I know that all of these combined makes the Bank much less needed. But that’s QoL for ya. As far as I’m concerned, it makes it so you actually have enough room to store everything that isn’t included in this stuff (equipment, normal consumables, runes/sigils, some festival stuff, crafting components). Sounds glorious to me, not having to make mule alts for all the stuff.

Boogiepop Void.6473

Boogiepop Void.6473

Emergency Priority:

! * Color Blind Mode! There are people who can’t play or can’t play all modes because they literally can’t see things like ability marker circles.

High Priority:

! Shareable Build templates! Shareable clothing templates! * Shareable dye templates
! Reduce the amount of excess clicking, ie the loads of useless confirmation popups (for banners, when you get items from the Mystic Forge or crafting, completion of story content where there is no choice to make, etc.) These may individually be minor but they add up over time.! Account-bound gathering slots (perhaps for gems) for use with infinite tools or just so you don't have to take up so much inventory by having everyone carry 10-15 slots of tools.! Full harvest by default. There is no reason to have to click multiple times to fully harvest a node.! Always display stat setups, instead of forcing people to memorize what each is, ie Dire Vs Sinister.! Add an indicator in-game for items that are salvageable for insignias and inscriptions. Shouldn't need to constantly look at the wiki or memorize stat set names for this.! Integrate the equipment, dyes, wardrobe, and outfit panels into one panel. That way you can set everything without having to duck into multiple panels, and can see all the color setups before you have to spend charges. having them separate is just duplicate functionality.! Let us consume multiple food/utility items at once and stack the duration, instead of having to constantly mouse over and check our skill bar (very useful for raids). Note this is different from the metabolic and utility primers as they extend the normal duration to match their own, whereas this is just stacking the normal durations.! Give us a library in our home instance to store book items so they aren’t clogging inventory. Otherwise we just delete them and read the wiki if we want to go back.! Tonic wardrobe, housing all infinite and finite tonics and accessible by any character whenever they want to use a tonic transform.! Show actual stat change amounts for the character you are on for percentage food on mouseover (ie show what 3% or ferocity into power will actually mean for the character you are logged in as).! Equip second ring and accessory with menu (ie “equip offhand”) as can be done with weapons, instead of always replacing the first ring or accessory unless manually dragging in the equipment menu.! Icon in LFG for groups that shows they are in full maps (but doesn’t show if you are in the map in question). Would save a lot of trying to change maps and getting an error message.! Ability to lock or queue reward tracks for PVP and WVW rather than defaulting back to a random track (usually CoF) when your current one is completed.! Option to switch guide between story and event/map completion mode, without having to finish the story.! Option to have chat display region next to all messages. Saves a lot of “are you NA or EU?” when trying to gather groups or set up events.! Option to display account name or selected nickname next to all messages. Helps identify people, as most people are known by account, not character, of which they have many differently named.

Classes & abilities:

! Animation Lock – Abilities with animation locks (ie Hundred Blades) should immediately unlock on hitting the dodge key. The need to manually unlock by moving a little before dodge will respond makes these abilities unwieldy and leads to TONS of missed dodges.! Classes with alternate forms – Have a way to look at the alternate form abilities without actually transforming. Especially pertinent for Druid and Necro, since their transforms are on a timer and have to be built up by combat, so it is hard to transform just to be able to read the abilities.! Stealth abilities – An actual countdown would make stealth much more usable, instead of the simple status icon we have now. Right now you just have to know how long you have. Given how stealth works, something near the center of the screen would be more appropriate than a tiny icon in the status bar, since doing anyone dumps you out anyway.! Engineer – Return from down/dead state in the same kit you were using when you went down, instead of resetting to default weapon.! Revenant Herald – The Channel wheel beneath the feet of a Rev in Glint makes it hard to see the terrain. An alternate tracking method would be of great help (perhaps next to the change legend icon or above the dodge bar).! Ranger – Sword 2 and 3 require so much room and are so hard to control that they make sword almost unusable in areas with complex terrain and/or lethal drops. A slight rework to how they function to make them more controllable and less subject to terrain vagaries would bring the weapon back to usability.

Trading Post:

! Let us queue up items to buy and sell on the TP and buy or sell them all at once.! Search for skin instead of specific weapons. Getting hundreds of duplicates due to stat variations when you are just looking to unlock and salvage is not useful.! * Search for locked skins.

Mystic Forge:

! Let us queue up repeated mystic forge transmutations instead of having to re-add the items over and over.! Remember forged items (MF recipes) so we don’t constantly have to jump in and out of the game to look things up on the wiki. The discovery aspect is only fun the first time.! Let us just find recipes for high-level stuff like legendaries that we just look up on the wiki. We shouldn’t have to leave the game to play it.! Let us access the bank from the mystic forge panel. Ideally this would function as it does in the crafting panel (and in conjunction with MF recipes), but at least add an access tab so we can move relevant items to inventory without running back and forth to the bank.! * Expand the left panel. We need more space for manipulating the panels, rather than a giant, mostly empty art panel that has no function.
! Let us auto-craft sub-items in a recipe instead of having to dig down and do every item one by one. This also avoids overcrafting since you can’t accidentally craft 3 of something when the final item needs only 2, etc, and would make it easier to determine if you can craft something since you would be told how many you can craft PERIOD, not just based on what sub-items you happen to have currently crafted.! Remember selected sorting/categories in the crafting panel (so we don’t have to turn off crafting levels every time we log in).! * Expand the left panel. We need more space for manipulating the panels. Have subrecipes open TO THE SIDE instead of on top of things. Have the ability to open multiple subrecipes at once.
! Put a button for Deposit All right on the interface, instead of in a sub menu.! Have an option to put such a button for sort/compact as well.! Salvage all and deposit button as well. A single button will cut down radically on the amount of clicking.! Multiple sorting options not dependent on the bag you buy would be nice too.! Have an option to outline or otherwise mark non-sorting and invisible slots when bag view is off. Right now you have to either leave bag view on or arrange for your slots to line up just right and remember it, which can lead to accidents.! Ensure that, if possible, when two one-handed weapons are replaced by a two-handed weapon, both weapons end up in the same bag as the two-handed weapon came from. Currently, the off-hand weapon can end up at the first available slot, which can cause issues with organization and can make it sellable and/or salvageable when it shouldn’t be if an invisible bag was being used for spare weapons.! Auto-stack items in shared inventory slots. If I have all my keys up there they should just stack there instead of in a separate slot.! Key/map item wallet. For example the 9 map event items from Bitterfrost should at not be taking up inventory space on every character. This discourages going back to the map because you would rather just not have this junk in your inventory.! Account bind map items instead of soulbinding them. For example the 9 map event items from Bitterfrost should at least be able to be swapped to other characters.! Options for displaying multiple currencies (and key levels, if in wallet) at the bottom of the inventory, ie show Gold, Karma, Gears, and Crowbars when in Verdant Brink, as these are the relevant things to know in VB. Also an option to display on the UI somewhere so they can be tracked without opening inventory.! * Cut down on the deletion confirmation, and make it contextual. Once you have completed a collection and the item has no use, for example, you shouldn't have to do anything to get rid of it.
! Make ascended ring, trinket, etc. drops stat-selectable as armor and weapons are, and add HoT and PoF stats to the selection pool for all ascended drops. Right now most non-armor/weapon ascended drops are so low value due to useless stat combos that they aren’t even salvaged (not worth the very expensive ascended tools), they are just deleted. This would also remove the multiple tabs from the vendors for separate core and HoT stat selection, although this may run into issues with there being multiple classes of account. At least improve the labeling to make it easier to tell which stats the items you are looking at can have.! Allow consume all on encrypted fractal boxes (decrypt as many as you have keys).! Show fractal levels available on daily pane for daily fractals, instead of making us go into the achieve panel to figure out the numbers.! Show fractal identity on recommended fractals.

Action Camera:

! Fix areas where action camera breaks interaction (for example, during the cannon sections of the final core story instance).! Fix cases where even though you are attacking something it is not targeted.! Fix cases where the target will shift back to the main boss even though you have targeted on minions (for example during intermediate phases of the Gerent fight) or will shift to minions even though you have targeted the main boss (for example the bandits during Sabetha).! Fix cases where camera interacts badly with terrain, rendering players blind due to the camera being behind them (ie when walls are too tight and you have to look in a certain direction).

Zoltar MacRoth.7146

Zoltar MacRoth.7146


If even 1% of these ideas was implemented, I'd... I'd... I think I'd have a QoLgasm.



Crafting, when making like 2000 elder wood planks it should give 1 warning when you click "craft all" and you accept and boom insta 2000 planks. this waiting is making me eat too many samiches in between.Also, after you've crafted something that is a once in the life of your account lifetime like say Rodgort's Flame precursor, let that item and anything pertaining to it be removed/greyed out so it cannot be done again. If the sub items have a use elsewhere they will stay active. but the huntsman makes alot of the legendary stuff (at least for the ones i've done) and its a ton of stuff to look through, i dont want to search everytime or accidentally make something i cannot ever use again. Even the ability to self disable certain things, like spiritwood scion would be nice so you arent distracted crafting (eating samich) and click the wrong one.

I'll never not add a +1 for colourblind mode. That really should be the default in big-name games by now.

Also a +1 for fully harvesting a node on interaction!

Another thought: the ability to bind "target self" and "target other party member 1-4" to hotkeys. Just because the game lacks traditional ally-targetted abilities like heals doesn't mean there are no situations in which this wouldn't be useful -- I find myself wishing for it all the time, and I'm a casual player who doesn't even do "high-stakes" content where such situations are likely much more common. Dropping a reflect on top of yourself/a party member. Jumping to a beleagured ally with, say, Wings of Resolve. Tabbing or clicking is too slow and unreliable.

While we are at it: a /target command applicable to both PCs and NPCs.

A second, out-of-combat only weapon set swap for elementalist and engineers.

This one is an unrealistic wish, I know, but: in-game macro support, with special UI buttons to put them on. Running Dragon's Stand? I'd love to make a target macro for the vinetenders. Using a class that has more useful weapon sets than there are weapon set slots? Use an /equip macro to avoid having to inventory-fiddle (and the accompanying butterfinger mishaps).

Edit, inspired by another thread:

  • A command to clear our target. Can't believe I forgot that.


An extreme hairstyle kit. It wouldn't add any new hairstyle - or maybe few - but allow you to change the character's hair color to any color unlocked on your account. I would buy it immediately :) A few dozen ;)


One QOL addition they could do is a customisable UI. I use a 4k monitor and the UI is just so small that it's annoying to click on tiny icons like leave instance or the "yes" button when readying up for raids or the like.

I really don't think this is even a "first world problem" anymore. We're in 2017 people. 4k is becoming more and more common.

I do use third party apps like yolomouse to circumvent this problem to a certain degree but it's more of a bandaid than a solution.

The game looks gorgeous in 4k but honestly it really is a strain to play with the current UI.

  • 2 weeks later...



A pretty simple change that I would like to see would be that the map stays open when you click on "Show Me" in a quest email. Usually, when I click on the "Show Me" button, I just want to jump to the nearest unlocked waypoint to that location. If I don't want to, I can manually close the map, but more often than not, I'd rather the map just stayed open, focused on the quest location so I can travel to it.


I have boosted a character, and as such, do not have masteries unlocked. Because of this Everytime I kill something I get the "Your current ability is fully trained and ready to master!"

I do not want to skip content just to get rid of an obnoxious, inconvenient, nuisance of a popup. There is no way to turn this off.I have also submitted several bug reports regarding this. Please advise on how to turn off this pop up that is nothing but inconvenient.

Inculpatus cedo.9234

At this time, the only way to turn it off is to unlock Masteries in either Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, or perhaps, one of Living World Season 3 maps.



Come on, just fix this already. Why does it have to be constant popup that repeats after fucking 5 seconds when you click X to close it. Stop treating your players like they are idiots please.. you only need to tell us once.And yes I know you can get rid of it by doing the story missions, but I'm still doing core game story mission now with this char.It's extremely annoying and mostly unnecessary.

edit: It's mostly when you exit combat, the pop up returns every time.

  • 3 weeks later...

Janus Kindle.9172

Janus Kindle.9172

Hi Anet who ever reads this! QoL Idea here. I recently got a permanent Bank access from BL chest (LUCKY ME RIGHT) but I have over a stack of the regular ones which are now completely useless to me with the advent of shared inventory slots. could we have a way to vendor these, or better still Mystic Forge into BL keys along side the other BL chest items like the Mystic forge stone(1), merchant(5) and trading post(5) Bank access (5) = one BL key (see 4 items MF "magic") this would provide incentive to other players to use them or have a sink for them to make a lot of people happy



@Endless Soul.5178 said:Regarding the home instance nodes, the Iron Ore Node doesn't even exist. There's none on the Trading Post. It's as if it's been entirely removed as a drop from the game (I'm not sure if that's actually the case). I would buy one from the gem store if it was made available there.Good news! ArenaNet is going to be releasing a crafting node adoption agency. For 400 gems you have the chance to get a random node put in your home instance. No chance at duplicates. :)



A visual timer on the hotbar for trait/sigil/rune effect procs on cooldown would be top. Can't tell ya how often I summon an illusion for SOI and go "Hm, boy, I hope that did anything."

I also wanna add a heck yeah to pinning characters in the selection screen. I'm constantly logging into my crafting alt on accident :s



@TitaniumBovine.9674 said:A visual timer on the hotbar for trait/sigil/rune effect procs on cooldown would be top. Can't tell ya how often I summon an illusion for SOI and go "Hm, boy, I hope that did anything."

I know that at least Herald has a thing on the hotbar that shows when Crystal Hibernation is available to activate. It's definitely a thing they put in the game.


Bank storage sorter button.

  • Sep 5 Tiviana.2650 changed the title to posting here because main forum! Devs give us something to work for we need
  • Sep 12 Rubi Bayer.8493 changed the title to Suggestions: Add possibility to use outfits/mounts/gliders, dyes, and more for each template separately
  • 2 yr Forum Moderator.6104 pinned this topic
  • 2 yr Forum Moderator.6104 featured and unfeatured this topic

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A particularly square-jawed animated Batman stands on a roof and looks off into the distance in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

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Mask of the Phantasm is still the best Batman movie

Released in theaters on Christmas in 1993, it’s the complete Batman story package

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As a teenage comic book fan coming of age as superheroes were breaking into the mainstream, I always approached any conversation about Batman with a hipster’s sense of ownership. Like any comics nerd with a punk-rock attitude toward superhero comics (possibly the least punk-rock thing in the world), I knew, without a doubt, that the best Batman movie was the one the normies hadn’t heard of — the 1993 animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm .

At the time, there was much less competition for the title. The campy 1966 Batman movie starring Adam West was, in the ’90s and early 2000s, considered an embarrassment, the reason your parents mocked any interest in the character. None of the sequels to Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster had repeated its commercial or critical success, and though they each had (and still have) their defenders, the ’89 film was the cultural touchstone, the default answer for both “best Batman movie” and “best comic book movie.” But for a young, snobbish superhero fan, there’s nothing more satisfying than feeling like you know something the mass audience doesn’t.

The Phantasm in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a vigilante in a grey cowl and deaths-head mask, with one arm ending in a huge metal cap with a blade sticking out of it

Mask of the Phantasm was an obscurity in the days of the early internet — a feature-length episode of Batman: The Animated Series that was upgraded from direct-to-video to a Christmas Day theatrical release without much fanfare. It found its audience later on VHS, on Cartoon Network, or via Siskel and Ebert’s delayed recommendation two years later. In my case, I received a VHS copy of Mask of the Phantasm on my 5th birthday from my late Great-Aunt Toby. Bless her memory, she had no idea what she’d bought for me, much less that it would have such an impact on the course of my life.

It’s now been 30 years since Mask of the Phantasm landed in theaters on Christmas, and there are a lot more contenders for the title of Best Batman Movie. Castoffs like Batman ’66 and Batman Returns have been positively reevaluated. There are multiple overlapping Batman film series that have achieved not only commercial success, but critical respect rarely earned by rival superhero franchises. And the public still hasn’t forgiven AMPAS for denying 2008’s The Dark Knight a Best Picture nomination.

In the interval since Phantasm first came out, I’ve grown up and become a professional film critic, and like so many in my line of work, I’ve burned out on the proliferation of superhero cinema. I used to regularly revisit the Batman films, even the ones I don’t particularly love. Now I’ll go years between viewings, save for Batman Returns , the most anti-franchise franchise movie ever made , which I watch every Christmas. Even so, I think Mask of the Phantasm is still the best Batman movie.

But can I critically justify that opinion? To mark Mask of the Phantasm ’s 30th birthday, I pitted it head-to-head with the other films considered to be the best in the franchise to see whether my childhood favorite really holds up to my adult film-critic eyes.

Mask of the Phantasm vs. Batman (1989)

Michael Keaton in close-up in the Batsuit in Tim Burton’s 1989 movie Batman

The 1989 Batman is the record-breaking blockbuster that made the character cool to Gen X-ers and opened the door for more adult-targeted films about costumed pulp heroes. (It is, in hindsight, hilarious that Batman ’s colossal success led to the production of major motion pictures based on Dick Tracy , The Shadow , and The Phantom , and yet there wouldn’t be another Superman movie until 2006.)

While Batman was praised on release for its “dark and gritty” depiction of Gotham and its masked defender, hindsight and a modern rewatch reveals Burton’s Batman to be every bit as cartoony as the 1966 version. It’s simply a bloodier, meaner cartoon. From Anton Furst’s expressionistic Gotham cityscape to Jack Nicholson’s off-the-wall performance as the Joker, it’s a Bronze Age comic brought to life, complete with a lot of broad prop comedy.

This makes it the closest kin to Mask of the Phantasm , whose parent animated series was heavily inspired by the ’70s comics runs of Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, Steve Englehart, and Marshall Rogers. Both films establish Gotham City as a timeless pulp-fiction setting rather than a real place, an atmosphere best summed up by Nicholson’s Jack Napier: “Decent people shouldn’t live here. They’d be happier someplace else.”

Burton’s Batman bears the burden of reintroducing the character as a concept, and screenwriter Sam Hamm wisely treats the Caped Crusader like a classic Universal Monster. The story is about him, but he isn’t really the protagonist — that would be photojournalist Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger), who’s digging into the myth of Gotham City’s bizarre new vigilante and the life of her would-be boyfriend, eccentric billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton), unaware that they are one and the same.

Jack Nicholson as Joker in 1989’s Batman, fists full of wads of money, mouth open in excitement

Of the film’s three leads, Bruce/Batman actually receives the least screen time, with the most going to Nicholson’s Joker. (Nicholson also got top billing in the movie.) By the end of the film, Bruce Wayne is still an unknowable weirdo, but he’s the unknowable weirdo Vicki loves — and by extension, the audience loves too. But Vicki’s role as audience stand-in also leaves her relatively bland and unexplored, and as a result, the love story isn’t terribly convincing.

Mask of the Phantasm is also both a mystery and a romance, but it’s far more invested in exploring Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) as a character. While it’s set primarily at the height of his career as Batman, the return of a lost love prompts Bruce to flash back to a pivotal moment in his life, when he almost aborted the Batman experiment to marry whip-smart socialite Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany).

Meanwhile, he’s chasing a serial killer who’s targeting the Mafia, but in a reversal of the ’89 Batman , Bruce doesn’t know his love interest and the subject of his investigation are the same person. On repeat viewings, it becomes clear that Bruce’s flashbacks are just as much an origin story for Andrea as they are for him. Ironically, this makes both animated leads more realistic and textured than their live-action counterparts from 1989, making Mask of the Phantasm Batman’s most compelling on-screen romance by a mile.

By a lot of other metrics, Batman ’89 and Mask of the Phantasm are neck and neck. Both films’ version of Joker are sickly funny malevolent imps who casually defy physical laws for the sake of comedy. ( Phantasm features the defining performance of Mark Hamill’s 30-year tenure with the character.) Batman makes Joker the star, while Mask of the Phantasm brings him in at its midpoint to kick the story into a new gear.

Both approaches work brilliantly. Danny Elfman’s rousing Batman march is a perfect fit for a broad action film, while Shirley Walker’s Mask of the Phantasm theme, extrapolated from her work on The Animated Series , captures the totality of the character better than any musical composition before or since. There’s a richness and mournfulness to Walker’s main theme that forecasts the emotional journey ahead, and that journey ultimately gives Mask of the Phantasm the edge, in my book.

Mask of the Phantasm vs. The Dark Knight

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) grimly stands across from the Batman suit in The Dark Knight

Burton’s Batman was a Hollywood game-changer financially, proving the box-office appeal and broad cultural viability of pulpy comic book adaptations. But it was Christopher Nolan who shattered the proverbial skylight for superhero cinema on a critical level. On top of its billion-dollar gross, The Dark Knight won an Oscar for late actor Heath Ledger, and its absence from the Best Picture category has been cited as the reason the Academy doubled the number of nominees the following year.

It’s the highest-rated DC Comics film adaptation on Rotten Tomatoes, and as of this writing it’s currently the 24th best-reviewed narrative film on Letterboxd . By most metrics, this is the movie to beat. And yet, perhaps because of its enormous reputation, revisiting The Dark Knight was a bit of a disappointment.

True, Mask of the Phantasm doesn’t hold a candle to The Dark Knight on any technical level. The Dark Knight is a gargantuan feat of practical IMAX spectacle, helmed by one of Hollywood’s last great auteurs. Mask of the Phantasm was ground out through essentially the same workflow as an animated television series. Its visuals are effective, but rarely profound. It would be lunacy to say that Phantasm is better cinema than The Dark Knight . Nevertheless, where The Dark Knight demonstrates the incredible amount of labor that goes into telling this story, Mask of the Phantasm makes it look easy.

Like nearly all Warner Bros.’ live-action Batman adaptations, The Dark Knight is terribly self-conscious about the very idea of Batman, and is determined to convince a skeptical audience that the character should be taken seriously. Christopher Nolan and writing partners David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan are shockingly good at selling Batman, his world, his methods, and his gadgets as logical, practical things that could exist in the real world.

Heath Ledger as Joker stands in front of a vast pile of burning stacks of cash in The Dark Knight

But in The Dark Knight , making Gotham feel like a real place also makes it feel generic. Mask of the Phantasm ’s Gotham is an art deco retrofuturistic setting; The Dark Knight ’s Gotham has no identity whatsoever. Gone are the unique quirks and landmarks established in Batman Begins , like the elevated train line or the hellish slums, the Narrows. The Dark Knight was shot on location in Chicago, but it avoids recognizable Chicago landmarks and replaces them with nothing, as if adding any set dressing would inherently make the setting less real, and by extension less “adult.”

This is a serious problem, because the movie tells us over and over that Gotham is changing, giving birth to copycat vigilantes and outlandish costumed villains. Making the city more grounded and less weird is completely at odds with the film’s themes. How can we invest in Batman (Christian Bale) and the Joker (Ledger) as they battle for the city’s soul, when it doesn’t have one to begin with? (It’s unfair to hold this against The Dark Knight , but Joker’s claim that Batman’s costumed escapades have “changed things forever” are also totally undercut by The Dark Knight Rises , which implies that Gotham had neither a Batman nor any need for one for the following eight years.)

A head-to-head matchup between Mark Hamill’s animated Joker and Heath Ledger’s live-action Joker is essentially impossible. They’re completely different, they play totally different roles in their respective films, and they’re both perfect. However, Conroy and Bale’s Bruce Waynes share a similar emotional journey. Both portrayals capture something essential about the character as he’s been portrayed in the comics since at least the late ’70s: Where other superheroes struggle to maintain some semblance of a normal life, Bruce Wayne is trying his damnedest not to live one.

Both The Dark Knight and Mask of the Phantasm depict the incident that convinces Bruce to abandon any hope of a happy personal life, in the death of assistant district attorney Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and the disappearance of Andrea Beaumont, respectively. Bale-Batman’s heartbreak has an extra element of tragedy, as Rachel’s death seems to fulfill her own prophecy that Bruce will never give up his alternate identity. (Until he does exactly that the moment the movie is over. Thanks again, Dark Knight Rises. ) Still, in spite of the advantages of portraying human drama in live action, no emotional moment in The Dark Knight feels as weighty or sincere as Phantasm ’s scene of young Bruce kneeling at his parents’ grave, begging for permission to abandon his crusade, or the parting moments with Bruce and Andrea at the end of Mask of the Phantasm.

Mask of the Phantasm vs. The Batman (2022)

The Batman (Robert Pattinson) huffs and puffs in the 2022 Batman

Where Mask of the Phantasm is the nostalgic favorite, The Batman has recency bias in its corner. Matt Reeves’ sweaty, amber-tinged detective story has style for days and a strong sense of place, while also aiming for realism with a minimum of fantastical comic book elements. It’s tightly focused on the experience of its title character, becoming the first theatrical Batman feature to incorporate his narration, which has been a staple of the comics since the 1980s.

It’s more of a detective story than any Batman movie since Phantasm , and the most film noir entry in the entire franchise, a mystery that reveals deeper levels of systemic corruption at every turn. Noir is a perfect fit for a young-Batman story: The genre is preoccupied with the hopelessness of the modern world, and forces its protagonists to ask, “What can one man do against such injustice?” In a typical noir, the answer is usually “Not much.” But Batman can never accept this, which is both the triumph and tragedy of the character. The Batman is about Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) realizing it isn’t enough to bash his fists endlessly into the face of criminality, and that if he really wants to make a difference, he’ll have to become a symbol of hope rather than fear.

Mask of the Phantasm is set 10 years into Bruce’s career as Batman, and it doesn’t really question the value or effectiveness of his vigilantism. But like The Batman , it sets its mystery plot at the intersection of gangsters and government. In Phantasm , somebody’s bumping off old mobsters, and the trail leads to missing businessman Carl Beaumont (Stacy Keach) and his former assistant, Arthur Reeves (Hart Bochner), who is now a city councilman. The Batman ’s case is the reverse of that, as the Riddler (Paul Dano) assassinates several government officials, revealing their dirty dealings with Mafia boss Carmine Falcone (John Turturro). This conspiracy unwinds through quiet detective work, stakeouts, and interrogations, with the occasional fight or chase scene, always feeling more like a thriller than an action movie.

Robert Pattinson’s Batman fights the Penguin in the glow of a fire

At least, until The Batman ’s third act, when the stakes suddenly ratchet up from “serial killer” to “city-wide apocalypse.” The escalation is jarring, almost as if a studio executive took a look at the script and said, “Hold on, this needs to cost $200 million.” It’s not that Batman stepping out of the shadows to help Gotham survive and recover from a massive disaster isn’t an appropriate ending for the film, it’s just a big leap to place so late in a three-hour movie.

By comparison, Mask of the Phantasm , which runs a scant 76 minutes, is incredibly efficient and scales beautifully, in part because it has more manageable stakes. Unlike most Batman features, Phantasm doesn’t actually put the entire city in jeopardy, only Batman’s life and reputation, and Andrea Beaumont’s soul. In a brilliant stroke, however, director Eric Radomski and the rest of Team Phantasm set their climax in the ruins of the Gotham World’s Fair, a futuristic city in miniature that Joker has wired to explode.

Not only does this mimic the spectacle of a massive disaster, but since the World’s Fair was the setting of one of Bruce and Andrea’s romantic flashbacks, its destruction has great symbolic value. The final confrontation between Bruce and Andrea is set in the burning ruins of the life they might have had together, and it feels like the end of the world.

Mask of the Phantasm vs. blockbuster thinking

Bruce Wayne, in the Batman suit but with the cowl and mask pulled down, stands with his head down at the top of a long ramp in the Batcave, Alfred standing far below him, in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Perhaps it’s Mask of the Phantasm ’s relative smallness that makes it so appealing to me as a Batman comics fan. When a studio gives the green light to a live-action Batman feature, their aim is to make a tentpole, an epic, “the biggest Batman yet.” And in the comics, the big multi-part crossovers are rarely as powerful as the smaller, episodic mysteries or character stories.

Since Mask of the Phantasm wasn’t initially conceived as a theatrical feature, but as a feature-length episode of TV released direct to video, it was never saddled with the expectation of being an Event. It gets to be a Batman story, not the Batman story.

Over the course of this experiment, I scribbled down pages of notes about story structure, performances, and technical ambition, trying to apply the knowledge and skills I’ve learned as a student of cinema. But none of these scholarly bullet points are nearly as profound to me as the point in Mask of the Phantasm at which I stopped taking notes and simply sat back on the couch, clutching a pillow and choking back tears.

These live-action features may be more challenging, dazzling, or technically groundbreaking, but only Phantasm makes me feel close enough to the characters to share in their heartbreak. Once, I considered my preference toward Mask of the Phantasm to be a status symbol, a shibboleth to other “cool” Batman fans. Now, it’s almost the reverse — it’s a confession that I am an adult man who is moved to tears by an old cartoon. And honestly, cool or uncool, I’m satisfied with that.

The DCEU’s greatest achievement was a film career for Harley Quinn

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Phantasmal Force 5e D&D Guide

By: Author Sarah King

Posted on Last updated: January 2, 2024

The Phantasmal Force spell is a really fun spell to use for characters who specialize in illusion magic.

It can be overlooked for more damage-heavy spells at level 2 but does add a lot of role-play potential for the right player and group.

The rules for Phantasmal Force are found in the Players Handbook on page 264.

Phantasmal Force 5e

2nd-level Illusion

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 60 feet

Components: V, S, M (A bit of fleece)

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You craft an illusion that takes root in the mind of a creature that you can see within range. The target must make an Intelligence saving throw.

On a failed save, you create a phantasmal object, creature, or other visible phenomena of your choice that is no larger than a 10-foot cube and that is perceivable only to the target for the duration.

This spell does not affect undead or constructs.

The phantasm may include sound, temperature, and other stimuli, all evident only to the targeted creature.

The target can use its action to examine the phantasm with an Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. If the check succeeds, the target realizes that the phantasm is an illusion and the spell ends.

While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real. The target rationalizes any illogical outcomes from interacting with the phantasm.

For example, a target attempting to walk across a phantasmal bridge that spans a chasm falls once it steps onto the bridge.

If the target survives the fall, it still believes that the bridge exists and comes up with some other explanation for its fall; it was pushed, it slipped, or a strong wind might have knocked it off.

An affected target is so convinced of the phantasm’s reality that it can even take damage from the illusion. A phantasm that is created to appear as a creature can attack the target.

Similarly, a phantasm created to appear as fire, a pool of acid, or lava can burn the target.

Each round on your turn, the phantasm can deal 1d6 psychic damage to the target if it is in the phantasm’s area or within 5 feet of the phantasm, provided that the illusion is of a creature or hazard that could logically deal damage, such as by attacking.

The target perceives the damage as a type appropriate to the illusion.

The rules for Phantasmal Force do a great job of outlining what this spell can and can’t do. They also reveal the lack of up-casting the spell, which indicates that it is more a circumstantial preparation than a regular on the prepared list.

The spell save DC does increase with the character, so there are some benefits of keeping it on hand at higher levels.

What Classes Get Phantasmal Force?

Phantasmal Force is limited to the Bard, Sorcerer, Great Old One Warlock, Archfey Warlock, and Wizard base classes. It is also available to the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster sub-classes.

Expansion books gave Phantasmal Force to the Genie Warlock as well.

Can Phantasmal Force Restrain?

Phantasmal Force is an illusion. While it can affect a creature to cause physical harm, it can’t actually restrain the creature.

Mentally the creature would justify being able to move or defend itself from another source but may not pass the illusion.

For example, a creature affected by Phantasmal Force that sees a spider with webs may believe it is stuck in the webs and doesn’t move. However, when it sees an attack from another source, it can still defend itself.

Can Phantasmal Force Cause the Target To Go Prone?

Similar to attempting to restrain a creature, a physical motion cannot force a creature to go prone. That being said, an image that creates a scenario where the target may go prone is a possibility.

The illusion of a slick surface or a lowering ceiling might do the trick.

There are no specifics provided for restraining or forcing a creature prone to using Phantasmal Force. This is left up to the DM to interpret. Damage should still be done if the desired condition cannot be met.

What Can Phantasmal Force Do?

  • Create an illusion of a monster to attack the target
  • Create an illusion of something that damages the target, such as fire
  • Create an illusion of a dark space in front of the creature blocking its sight
  • Create an illusion of a pit, causing the enemy to suffer fall damage

Phantasmal Force 5e FAQs

Can phantasmal force be used outside of combat in 5e.

It would be a good idea to not only keep Phantasmal Force as a combat spell, as it has so many uses that it can benefit your party greatly if used efficiently outside of combat.

You don’t have to always deal damage to the chosen target, but remember that it’s always an option if you see that they aren’t cooperating or feel scared enough.

Some great ways to use Phantasmal Force would be to show them endless darkness, blinding them and showing them obscene imagery. Another great idea would be to trap them using a ring of fire with the fear of being burned if they try to escape.

Like other Illusion spells, Phantasmal Force leaves a lot to be imagined, so get creative, and maybe the DM might even reward you for thinking outside of the box.

What Other Phantasmal Spells Are There in 5e?

It’s not known by all D&D players, but there are other Phantasmal spells like Phantasmal Thief, Phantasmal Injury, and Phantasmal Strangler.

They were found in past editions of D&D and haven’t been brought into 5e, but you can always try to get your DM to incorporate them into the game if you asked nicely. Maybe these spells will be more to your liking than Phantasmal Force!

Final Thoughts

Illusion spells can be so much fun to use, and Phantasmal Force is no different. It is a damage-dealing illusion spell that has almost no confines to operate within. The sky is the limit.

That being said, it is subjective and will only be as great as the player’s description and the DMs willingness to go along.

Illusion spells add a lot of flavor to the game and can be some of the most creative opportunities in the game.

Top 20 Best 2nd-Level Spells in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Monday 21st of August 2023

[…] if the creature inspects the phantasm and succeeds in an Intelligence (Investigation) check, Phantasmal Force […]

The Associated Press

Judge says No Labels can block candidates from running for offices other than president in Arizona

P HOENIX (AP) — No Labels, the group preparing for a possible third-party presidential campaign , can prohibit members from using its ballot line to run for office in Arizona, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The decision protects the group's efforts to maintain control and secrecy around its operations and finances as Donald Trump critics warn that No Labels could help return Trump to the White House by siphoning voters who might otherwise vote for President Joe Biden.

A judge blocked Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes from recognizing candidates wanting to run for office under the No Labels banner aside from the party's yet-to-be-chosen ticket for president and vice president.

Fontes, a Democrat, called the ruling “dead wrong" and vowed to appeal. He warned that the ruling could keep the nearly 19,000 No Labels party members from voting in a primary, and the precedent could allow party bosses to decide who can run for office from any party.

“This current decision will disenfranchise almost 19,000 registered Arizona voters, and if it stands, it could potentially derail the entire candidate nomination process," Fontes said in a statement.

No Labels officials said the ruling “strongly vindicates our constitutional rights."

“Our ballot line cannot be hijacked. Our movement will not be stopped,” Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., a No Labels national co-chair, and former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the group's director of ballot integrity, said in a statement.

No Labels has drawn increasing scrutiny as it spends tens of millions of dollars to secure ballot access in all 50 states by Election Day. The group's critics have pushed for transparency around its donors, whom No Labels leaders have refused to name, and had hoped that state campaign finance laws could help pry information loose.

But the Arizona ruling could support the No Labels argument that it doesn’t have to file campaign finance disclosures under Arizona law because it is not supporting any candidates for state office.

Arizona, likely to be among the closest battlegrounds in November, is among 13 states where No Labels has already secured its place on the ballot. Biden won the state by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2020 with a coalition that included conservative independents and moderate Republicans, prompting worry among Democrats that a No Labels candidate could tip the state to Trump even with a tiny showing in a state with more than 3 million voters.

Judge John Tuchi, a Barack Obama appointee, ruled that No Labels has a First Amendment right to determine whom it wants to associate with.

Fontes had argued that he's obligated to accept filings from candidates even if party leaders reject them. Tuchi agreed, but said that requirement was trumped by the need to protect No Labels' constitutional rights.

Richard Grayson, one of five No Labels members who have filed to run for office in Arizona, said he was hopeful appellate courts would see the issue differently. Trump, the clear leader of the Republican Party, can't tell candidates he doesn't like that they can't run for state Legislature, he said.

“There’s a lot of people in the various parties that the parties don’t want them to run, and that’s always been true,” Grayson said Tuesday.

Grayson, who likens his perennial losing campaigns to performance art, is a No Labels critic who thinks the party should disclose its donors. He changed his party affiliation to draw attention to what he views as a top-down operation that's doomed to failure.

This story was first published on Jan. 16, 2024. It was published again on Jan. 17, 2024, to correct that Donald Trump critics warn No Labels could siphon voters who might otherwise vote for President Joe Biden, not voters who could otherwise vote for the former president.

A worker walks back stage after Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished speaking to supporters during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iranian ballistic missiles strike near U.S. facilities in northern Iraq

Ballistic missiles fired by Iran caused explosions near the U.S. consulate and a U.S. military facility after a missile struck Erbil in northern Iraq , officials said Monday.

No casualties or damage have been reported and National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said no U.S. personnel or facilities were targeted.

Kurdish officials said four people were killed and six wounded by the strike.

Several explosions were reported in the vicinity of the US consulate in Erbil, with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) quickly claiming responsibility, saying it was targeting a 'spy headquarters' and a 'gathering of anti-Iran terrorist groups' in the region with ballistic missiles.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said ballistic missiles were fired at midnight local time in response to what it called terrorist crimes. It said in a statement that it hit a “major spy headquarters,” belonging to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. It added that it was “responsible for developing and launching espionage operations and planning terrorist activities in the region, especially against Iran.”

Israel has not commented on the attack.

Watson, the NSC spokesperson, said the U.S. tracked the missiles that struck in northern Iraq and northern Syria.

Noting that Iran’s statement focused on terrorist attacks in Iran and on the Islamic State terrorist group, she said: "Iran is claiming this is in response to the terrorist attacks in Kerman, Iran, and Rask, Iran, with a focus on ISIS. We will continue to assess the situation, but initial indications are that this was a reckless and imprecise set of strikes.”

The U.S. State Department condemned what it called Iran's attacks on Erbil.

“We oppose Iran’s reckless missile strikes, which undermine Iraq’s stability. We support the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Denouncing the attack on X, Iraq’s foreign ministry said that it “considers this behavior an aggression against the sovereignty of Iraq and the security of the Iraqi people.” It added that it was “an insult to good neighborliness and the security of the region.”

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani had formed a committee to investigate the attack, the post said.

In a later post, the foreign ministry said it recalled Naseer Abdul-Muhsin, Iraq's ambassador in Tehran to discuss the strike. 

Earlier this month in Kerman, more than 80 people were killed when two explosions rocked a memorial event for Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general killed in a 2020 U.S. drone strike.

An ISIS affiliated group later claimed responsibility for the attacks, and said two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts.

Iranian officials previously announced arrests in connection with the attacks in Kerman, according to state media.

Iran had already vowed revenge for the killing of three members of the Guards in Syria last month, including a senior Guards commander, who had served as military advisers there.

phantasm no its not

Courtney Kube is a correspondent covering national security and the military for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Tesla owners say EV batteries won't charge as brutally cold temperatures hit Chicago

phantasm no its not

As freezing temperatures and bitter cold hit millions of Americans this week, Tesla owners in the Chicago area are struggling to charge their electric vehicles, in some cases leaving them stranded.

Some Tesla owners were stranded Monday in Evergreen Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, with dead batteries and not enough working charging stations. A Tesla owner told local station WLS in Chicago that he saw at least 10 cars get towed after running out of battery and dying.

Temperatures in the Chicago area have plummeted in the last week, with wind chills dipping between -20 to -30 degrees, according to the National Weather Service .

In Oak Brook, another Chicago suburb, a driver told Fox32 he waited six hours over two days at a charging station and still had no charge in his Tesla.

WLS reported that drivers waited hours in Oak Brook for a charge to their electric vehicles. Some cars died while waiting, and drivers had to leave their vehicles stranded at the charging stations.

What does Tesla say about driving in the cold?

On its website, Tesla says its vehicles use more energy to heat the cabin and battery in cold weather, and that it's "normal to see energy consumption increase."

The electric vehicle company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, said a blue snowflake icon may appear on the vehicle's touchscreen and in the app if the battery is too cold for full power and ideal range, and drivers may notice "reduced regenerative braking and acceleration." Once the battery is warmed, the snowflake will disappear.

Tesla recommends to leave vehicles plugged in whenever possible. Keeping the charge level above 20% when not plugged in will reduce the impact of cold temperatures.

Tesla says charging, driving and preconditioning are ways to warm the vehicle's battery.

USA TODAY has reached out to Tesla for comment.

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Guest Essay

A Peaceful Solution on Taiwan Is Slipping Away

A large screen behind a stage shows Lai Ching-te addressing a crowd.

By Michael Beckley

Mr. Beckley is the author of “Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict With China.”

Conflict between China and the United States just got a little more likely.

On Saturday, Taiwanese voters handed the Democratic Progressive Party, which asserts that Taiwan is already independent from China and should stay that way, an unprecedented third consecutive presidential victory. In doing so, the island’s people shrugged off ominous warnings by China that a win by President-elect Lai Ching-te — considered by Beijing to be a dangerous Taiwan independence advocate — could trigger a war.

The result should lay to rest any doubt about the direction in which Taiwan is going. Determined to maintain their autonomy, the people of Taiwan are drifting farther from China and won’t come back voluntarily, elevating military action as one of the only options left for China to effect the unification with Taiwan that it has long sought.

This hardening in Taiwanese attitudes has been a long time coming. In 1949, China’s Kuomintang government lost a civil war against Communist Chinese forces and fled to Taiwan, dividing the two sides. For decades, the Kuomintang clung to an official policy of eventual unification with the mainland, and the question of whether Taiwan is part of China or its own distinct and self-ruled polity has dominated island politics ever since.

In 1994 more residents of Taiwan considered themselves exclusively Chinese than Taiwanese, and more favored moving toward unification with China than toward independence. Beijing courted such sentiments by forging close economic links with Taiwan. But attitudes have shifted as Taiwan blossomed into a democratic and economic success. Now, with China’s economy stagnating, it has fewer carrots to offer, and repressive Chinese actions like its crackdown on Hong Kong’s freedoms have further alienated Taiwan. As a result, President Xi Jinping of China has increasingly turned to wielding the stick — economic coercion, military threats and an online disinformation campaign in Taiwan — to pressure the island's people into unification.

It is now clear that this strategy has failed spectacularly. Today, nearly two-thirds of Taiwan’s people consider themselves exclusively Taiwanese, versus only 2.5 percent who identify as exclusively Chinese. Almost 50 percent of the island’s 24 million residents prefer future Taiwanese independence over maintaining the current ambiguous status quo (27 percent) or unification with China (12 percent).

There are reasons Mr. Xi might take modest comfort from the election result. The Democratic Progressive Party’s margin of victory in the presidential race was smaller than four years ago, and it lost its legislative majority. But the weaker party showing does not reflect a softening of independence sentiment in Taiwan. Rather, it is probably due more to bread-and-butter issues like stagnant wage growth and soaring housing prices, which loomed large in campaigning and public opinion surveys, as well as with public fatigue with the party after eight years in power.

Mr. Xi no longer has a reliable partner in Taiwan to negotiate unification with. Even the Kuomintang, now in the opposition and more Beijing-friendly, knows that it must cater to an independence-leaning electorate. On the campaign trail, its presidential candidate, Hou Yu-ih, explicitly ruled out unification talks with China or a return to the engagement policies previously favored by the party, pledging instead to bolster Taiwan’s military in partnership with the United States, Japan and other democracies.

In this climate, the United States will need, more than ever, to strike a careful balance between deterring China from invading Taiwan and reassuring Beijing that Washington does not support the island’s independence. But that will be complicated by the divisive election campaign that America is now entering, in which candidates are likely to engage in tough talk on China that could provoke Beijing. Despite the posturing, election-year politicking may actually undermine U.S. readiness for a conflict: Partisanship last year held up military spending bills and hundreds of military leadership appointments , constraining the Pentagon’s ability to build bases, buy weapons or expand the U.S. industrial base at anything close to China’s clip.

President Biden has said the United States would help defend Taiwan in the event of an unprovoked attack, but with U.S. military supplies already constrained by the support provided to Ukraine, American forces could run out of missiles after a few weeks of high-intensity combat with China. Washington may also struggle to forge an effective coalition to deter or defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan if allies, put off by U.S. political dysfunction and a possible return to the “America First” foreign policy of Donald Trump, hesitate to join in U.S. military preparations or economic sanctions.

There is a belief that the United States can head off the possibility of Chinese aggression by voicing its opposition to Taiwanese independence. The idea is that this will ease concerns in Beijing, which, beset by an ailing economy, will want to avoid the massive economic, social and diplomatic disruptions of starting a war. But Taiwan provokes China simply by being what it is: a prosperous and free society. Taiwan’s blooming national identity threatens China with the prospect of permanent territorial dismemberment, and Taiwan’s elections, rule of law and free press make a mockery of Beijing’s claim that Chinese culture is incompatible with democracy. America’s words can’t change any of that.

Chinese law explicitly states that Beijing may use force if possibilities for peaceful unification are “completely exhausted.” Because of politics in Taiwan and the United States, those possibilities are dwindling.

Taiwanese and American political leaders need to recognize this stark reality, do far more to improve military deterrence, start national conversations about the growing threat of war and work toward public unity about how to confront that threat, all while avoiding talk or actions that needlessly throw fuel on the fire.

If they fail to seize this opportunity, they may not get another chance.

Michael Beckley is a political scientist at Tufts University, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Asia program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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  30. Opinion

    Taiwan's election showed that the island's people want their freedom, leaving China few options aside from war to achieve the unification it desires.