There are so many complex scenes, so many amazing sets and costumes, and lots of moving camera that implies intelligent filmmaking it's a miracle this film came out so wooden. And frankly boring.
Part of the problem is Jason Robards in the lead--another actor might have pulled off the drama and intrigue anyway. And the leading victim-female is almost terrible--Christine Kaufmann. But the director, Gordon Hessler, I think gets the worst of everyone, and all this apparent money and talent is squashed under bright even light and uninspired performances.
There are lots of horror film clichés that might be satisfying to some, including just the use of the theater as a set (somewhat like Phantom of the Opera). But some of the clichés are cheezy 1971 versions, like dreamy sequences with double exposures or slow motion, and strange sound effects of choral voices.
There were enough people who really liked this movie for the director to mades an official director's cut with eleven extra minutes. Well, why not? It's all voluntary, and I'd vote against it unless you are really into the themes here, the actors, or just have a lot of time free and here it is. It's no awful, it's just slow and clunky. And why did they film it with such shadlowless flat bright light? It's a horror film, for goodness sake.
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