Published Dec 15, 2015Unless you've been living under a rock in the middle of a desert surrounded by loud construction without any wifi, you probably know that J.J. Abrams' Star Wars reboot is set to hit theatres this Friday (December 18). While we're all a little tired of talking about that, it's nice to know that Abrams has other interesting projects in the works as well.
With his Bad Robot company, the writer, producer and director is now overseeing a 4K restoration of Don Coscarelli's beloved 1979 horror classic Phantasm. Abrams is such a fan of the film that he even named a character Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Coscarelli explained that Abrams wanted to show the film at his offices. Unfortunately, Coscarelli said that the print was not up to par with modern technology. From there, Abrams opted to help with a restoration.
"J.J. had a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for making the film look as great as it could possibly look," Coscarelli said. "You know, it was a movie made in the '70s. Obviously a lot of the lab work and all those kinds of things wasn't up to the level and sophistication [of today]. This is a meticulous 4K restoration from the original camera negative, which we went back and scanned, and, maybe even more exciting, a brand new 5.1 audio soundtrack. It really sounds great."
He added that the new version of Phantasm is "like watching a different movie. It's like I've been watching it with sunglasses for all of these years. It's pretty amazing. I wonder how we were able to build such a devoted fanbase with all those old murky VHS tapes and even the standard-def DVDs that they've been watching over and over all these years."
The restoration of Phantasm is not quite completely finished, but it's expected to see a theatrical release in early 2016. From there, it will be released on DVD and Blu-ray.