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Brian De Palma
Rock opera version of The Phantom of the Opera which also serves as a dark satire of the music business. Notorious record tycoon Swan has sold his soul to the devil for eternal youth and success - 20 years ago. Swan's current scheme is to steal the music from meek composer Winslow Leach to celebrate the opening of his rock palace, The Paradise. While trying to stop Swan, Leach becomes the victim of a freak accident that leaves him horribly disfigured. He takes refuge in the cavernous Paradise, hiding his mangled face beneath an eerie mask and planning gruesome vengeance upon Swan - and everyone else who has hurt him. Written by
Max Davison <RockyHexorcist2785>
This film homages the Phantom of the Opera (1943), not the original novel; the 1943 film had the Phantom as a man disfigured by acid (similar to the 1939 origin of the Tonny Quinn, the Black Bat and the 1942 origin of Two-Face). In Gaston Leroux's novel, the Phantom lived with his deformity from birth. See more »
When Swan is talking to the devil in the mirror, Swan takes the contract from him. However, when the devil says the words "in blood", he is still holding the contract. See more »
[holding a contract]
It's all here. Read it carefully, and then sign at the bottom in blood. Messy, I know, but it's the only way that can bind. Tradition. What do you have to lose?
See more »
The closing credits feature a series of montages of the cast members, identifying each by name, starting with the musical trio (Oblong, Hahn, Comanor) and concluding with William Finley as Winslow/The Phantom. These montages are made up of shots ostensibly from the movie, and most of them are, but there are also numerous outtakes. See more »
Brian De Palma is a filmmaker that takes existing ideas, and regurgitates them into something fresh and original (or at least he tries to). Usually it's Hitchcock that comes under De Palma's 'list of things to tribute', but on this occasion it's the classic tales of 'Phantom of the Opera' and the German legend, 'Faust' that get the honours. De Palma has managed to fuse the two stories into one...very, very weird film.
Winslow Leach is a musician who has his lyrics stolen by the megalomaniac record producer known as 'Swan'. Winslow doesn't take this lightly, and much less so when he gets framed by Swan and sent to Sing-Sing. However, he gets out and while attempting to avenge himself, he ends up falling into a record press, which disfigures his face...ouch. The plot thickens due to the fact that Swan is planning to open up a new rock club known as 'The Paradise', and it's Winslow's lyrics that he wants to use for the opening. However, now scarred and with nowhere to go; Winslow decides to haunt The Paradise with the help of a silly plastic mask...becoming known as 'The Phantom'. But wait! The fun doesn't stop there, as De Palma, not content with an already thick plot has decided to complete the Phantom of the Opera side of the story by adding a girl singer for the phantom to obsess over - here played by Jessica Harper.
This is an important film for Jessica Harper, as it is with this performance that she impressed Dario Argento into giving her a role in her career highlight - 'Suspiria'. It's a shame that Harper didn't make more films, as she has a very cute look that bodes well with the euro-horror feel that is abundant in both this film and, obviously, Suspiria. I'm not sure what Brian De Palma was trying to achieve with this film...there's no real point to it, and the plot is anything but coherent a lot of the time, leading me to believe that he simply wanted to make a flamboyant musical with horror elements, and if that is the case; I dare say he succeeded. Phantom of the Paradise is a lot of fun; the musical numbers are hilariously entertaining, and the movie is very fun overall. Some people won't be able to appreciate it, just because it is so surreal and absurdly weird; but if you're a fan of that type of film, you've come to the right place.
While not as well done as 'Dressed to Kill' or some of De Palma's other tributes, and although the plot can get a little messy at times; Phantom of the Paradise stands out because it's so different to almost anything else ever made, and it comes with a recommendation for that reason.
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