Mistaken Identity: James Madison, Grinch and the Tall Man of Phantasm

Phantasm The Tall Man, The Grinch, James Madison

Does James Madison look like the Grinch and the Tall Man of Phantasm?

A lot of people seem to think so. Almost every posting of my life mask reconstruction of James Madison on Facebook garners comments and images of either the Grinch or the Tall Man from the 70’s cult classic horror movie Phantasm.

The Grinch

While I find no resemblance to either the Grinch or the Tall Man in Madison’s paintings, the life mask which is the true to life likeness of Madison does, I suppose, make one think of the Grinch. I think it’s the eyebrows.

The Grinch and James Madison
Left: The Grinch (Jim Carrey), Right: Composite photograph of James Madison based upon his life mask by J. I. Browere.

The Tall Man

“Phantasm is a 1979 American science fantasy horror film directed, written, photographed, and edited by Don Coscarelli. The first film in the Phantasm franchise, introduces the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns the dead of Earth into dwarf zombies to be sent to his planet and used as slaves. He is opposed by a young boy, Mike (Michael Baldwin), who tries to convince his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) and family friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) of the threat.”1

James Madison Life Mask
Left: Life mask of James Madison by J. I. Browere, Middle: Reconstructed life mask of James Madison, Right: The Tall Man of Phantasm (Angus Scrimm)

The numerous Facebook comments likening Madison to the Grinch and the Tall Man inspired me to create an image of the three based on the DVD cover of Phantasm. Madison’s face is altered to match the expression of the Tall Man.

Phantasm, The Grinch & James Madison
Phantasm’s The Tall Man, The Grinch & James Madison

 The Grinch and James Madison

The Grinch and James Madison face off.

Luckily, for Americans, Mr. Madison gave us a bill of rights rather than stealing Christmas and creating zombies.

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Sources & References:
1Phantasm Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 1 August 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantasm_(film)


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