Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead occupies a curious place in that offbeat series of horror films; despite retaining the odd concepts and central characters of the prior Phantasm films, it's a surprisingly conventional affair. Don Coscarelli's script and direction strive to maintain a feel close to the prior two films in the series -- unfortunately, it follows them too closely. This approach ultimately paints Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead into a corner, as it runs out of interesting places to go after a compelling first half and it begins to recycle motifs from its predecessors. The film also leans too heavily on the character of Reggie, making him the focus instead of giving him an equally strong lead to bounce off of, and his character lacks the depth to take on such a central role. However, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead manages to be fairly entertaining despite these flaws because Coscarelli brings a lot of flair to the material, keeps the action level high, and gives it a snappy pace. Even better, Michael Baldwin and Bill Thornbury make a return to the series after sitting out Part II; neither gets to do as much as fans might like, but they both offer strong performances as the doomed brother duo. To sum up, Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead is probably the least of the series, but it still works on a "programmer" level. Fans are likely to enjoy it, but they'll need to keep their expectations in check to do so.