I appreciate the return of A. Michael Baldwin to the role of Mike, and the character of Rocky - a nunchuck-wielding, ex-military African-American woman - feels like a fresh idea in a franchise running out of them. But by 1994, I'm not even sure this film would pass muster as an average episode of "Tales of the Crypt"; the production values are dire and Cascarelli seems at a loss for a direction to take the series.
Free from studio interference this independently produced sequel (though eventually released by Universal) advances the series story but has certainly strayed far from the unconventional aspects of the first entry. Often the film feels more influenced by the then current horror trends (Evil Dead, Nightmare on..) than its own mythology.
Continuing the splatter, horror/comedy, Raimi-influenced direction of the first sequel, albeit on a substantially lower budget, Phantasm III offers several great set-pieces and a host of larger than life characters, but is so far removed from the dreamlike elegance of the original film that it all feels a bit unoriginal and derivative of countless other straight to video horror movies released during the same period.
The third one tries to go for a total splatter/comedy fest but also do the mistake of making the supporting sidekick the main hero and killing off the cute love interest from film 2 with such brutality that it almost put me off for the rest of the film. The film franchise also returns back to the more low-budget effects and gore of the original which suits the story better. The ending is memorable though.