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Phantom of the Opera has long been my favorite book, but I have never
liked any of the movies--they always portrayed Erik, as a small, weak,
mooning, lovesick writer. The real Erik was nearly 7 feet tall, and a
strong, bad tempered, and very violent man--a serial killer not unlike
his contemporary: Jack the Ripper. The great horror classic novel was
written by Gaston Leroux, a reporter, and was based on an actual event
that he had been called on to investigate.
I've seen every Phantom movie and am always deeply disappointed because none of them bear even a most remote hint of the book--until now. This version staring Robert Englund, while it has some inaccuracies, is the most faithful rendition of the book ever made. It captures Erik's violent, darker side as well as his vengeful temper.
Few people know that the real Erik was a "giant" born with a deformed face, abandoned by his parents who sold him as a slave to a circus when still a small child, and was shunned by society as an adult. His deep rooted hatred for the human race went to the extent that he took a job as a carpenter for the new Paris Opera House, and built the famous mazes and tunnels below it's basement, where he lived his entire life, seeking revenge on the world, by capturing actors, singers, and spectators, and than locking them for weeks on end in a torture chamber below the Opera House. As an old man, Erik's body was found shortly after the disappearance of the real Christine Daee'. Gaston Lerox was the newspaper reporter called in to write the newspaper reports on the death of the Opera Ghost and the missing girl; his research into Erik's life resulted in one of the greatest horror classics ever written. And now FINALLY a movie has been made that reaches into the very horror of the real life Erik and his murderous obsession with Miss Daee'. This is the most accurate Phantom of the Opera movie ever made. I love this movie so much I went out and bought 2 copies of it.
There is no doubt in my mind that the writers of this film were trying to make an enjoyable slasher film to entertain teenagers and attract fans of "The Phantom of the Opera" at the same time. What gives this away is the casting of Robert Englund. It shows that they wanted to attract teenagers by casting Freddy Krueger. However, at the same time the writers include lots of technical stuff from the novel to try and get fans of "The Phantom of the Opera." The result can be one of two things. You can either have teens screaming saying they were fooled because they thought they were going to see Freddy Krueger kill a lot of people and you can have "Phantom" fans screaming saying they thought they were going to see a real "Phantom" film rather then some stupid teenage slasher film. Personally, I am a slasher film fan and not a "Phantom" fan. Not because I don't like the "Phantom" films, but just because I've never seen any of them. My initial reaction to this film was a positive one. It's stylish, has great acting and directing, and it's something different. It's not your typical slice and dice film but rather an interesting look at the "Phantom" and his life. Die-hard "Phantom" fans probably won't truly enjoy this as I think at the end the makers of the film quit trying to please everyone and the film degraded into the typical slasher genre. I really enjoyed this one and personally I think that it's wrong that die hard "Phantom" fans give this film negative comments. If you were expecting to see the 1925 version all over again with Robert Englund as the "Phantom" then you're way off. Die-hard slasher and horror fans as well as "Phantom" fans should find this at least marginally enjoyable. ***out of****This film is fun and really cool especially when you watch it for the first time and late at night
This version of the Phantom of the Opera is by far one of the stranger
films in its genre. Mixing elements of 80 slasher and old time horror
this movie works on many levels and fails on a few. Now, everyone knows
the story of the Phantom of the Opera, Right? Well, this story is
basically the same except for a few differences. For one, a late 80's
version of Christine is trying out for the lead role in an opera.
During her addition, she is hit over the head and knocked out. When she
awakens, she is back in time in late 1800's London. She seems to have
no recollection of even going into the past. The rest of the story is
traditional Phantom except for name changes and how disturbed this
Phantom is and his origin. I really have to hand it to Robert England
as the Phantom or Eric. This is by far one of the best roles I have
ever seen him in. And the make-up job for him is astonishing. The fact
that this Phantom makes a mask out of human flesh is actually quite
creepy. And physically, he makes his character of Freddy look like a
Now, for fans of the musical and the original versions of the movie, I don't know if you would really like this version. But, for fans of 80's slasher mixed with some atmosphere, a good soundtrack, and good acting, I would have to recommend this. I give it an 8/10.
My friend, a fellow Phantom Phan recommended this to me. I had my
doubts when I picked this up but I sat down to watch it at about
midnight, Ha! biggest mistake of my life. This was possibly the most
disturbing, gory, creepy interpretation of Phantom ever, and you know
what? I LOVED it.
This is possibly one of my favorite film versions of this story, giving even Lon Cheney a run for his money. Robert Englund's Erik was insane but brilliant and amazingly witty. He had the most amazing lines ("Love and music are forever").
The story begins in modern day New York City when Christine Day and her friend Meg discover two pages of Don Juan Triumphant in an old archive, written by the mad genius Erik Destler. When Christine sings the piece for her audition, a sand bag falls on her and she passes out and is swept back to her past self and finds herself the object of the obsessive Erik.
An amazing film in it's own right with beautiful music. But remember everyone, you are not sitting down to classic literature, you are sitting down to a gory slasher/horror film. It was a refreshing change from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical which quite frankly I both hate and love.
I'm a Leroux purist when it comes to Phantom but still this movie is one of my favorites.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The problem with The Phantom of the Opera is that Andrew Llyod Webber
has ruined any other representation of the classic novel. I love
Webber's Phantom, but I also love the original Phantom. I have seen
Lon, Claude Rains and now Robert Englund in the role of the Phantom,
and I believe that this film (with Englund) is a fantastic adaptation
of the story. Webber created his screenplay for his musical to bring
out the romance of the Phantom while Gerry O'Hara and Duke Sandefur
(The writers) did a great job concentrating on the less romantic
phantom, but the obsessed genius who would do anything and kill anybody
for the woman he was infatuated with.
Anyone who has read Leroux knows that the Phantom was a composer and not a singer, so the fact that this version did not have the Phantom singing opera was alright by me. As I said before, Webber has made too many high expectations for any other version of this story. What I really enjoyed about Dwight Little's Phantom is that it took place in a Opera and actually had Christine singing. Though I do not agree with the Phantom's 'Faustus' like background instead of being a circus freak, I can appreciate this movie.
The end was a bit 'blaah' and I don't know if I agree with the mixing of modern and flashbacks. I didn't like how they changed the place of Paris to London. I did however like how the ending did enforce the theme of this particular movie "Only Love and Music are forever".
I think anyone who enjoyed the book, the musical and has an open mind to other people's interpretations, plus a good love for horror (since Phantom of the opera -is- a horror/Gothic novel) should see this movie and forget the musical numbers and scores of Webbers before they view it, or their expectations will be unfulfilled.
Often forgotten after it's release because it was critized as being a takeoff of Andrew Lloyd Webber's then current Broadway musical version of the same title. Actually, Dwight H. Little's film version isn't bad and Duke Sandefur's script actually has more originality than some of the earlier versions. Robert Englund is probably the most terrifying phantom yet, he probably can't pull it off like Lon Chaney did in the 1925 film version, but he certainly did a terrific job at playing a more darker and scarier phantom. Jill Schoelen also did a pretty amazing job playing Christine, as she is taken from present day New York to 1881 London were she is the star of the opera and stalked by the phantom and he kills anyone who gets in his way. My favorite death scene is probably were the phantom takes on three thieves and also kills an opera critic in a sauna. In addition to the originality, the phantom is cursed by the devil and his face mutilated in a Faust tradition. He is then forced to sew on pieces of skin to save his face. The production is luxurious and the costumes are authentic. But the most greatest thing about this 1989 remake is the music. This is probably the best music I have ever heard for any Phantom film. It's more malvolent and suspensful and also at the same time magicial. Misha Segal certainly did an amazing job at creating a difficult score, and it's a shame that I don't hear his music in today's films. I guess the film could have been a little better if it had a little less gore and a good falling chandlier scene, but even though this is the only Phantom film without a chandlier it was still an amazing picture. Also look for Saturday Night Live star Molly Shannon in a small role in the New York City sequences.
Yes, I am indeed one of those "Phanatics" as they're called (though I'm almost starting to think we have a bad reputation...), and I personally would like to say that I found this movie rather enjoyable. I think it could have done without the modern sequences altogether and stayed in the one time period, and yes, a few scenes are a bit cheesy or cheap. But believe it or not, I think that Robert Englund did a fairly good job. My favorite Phantom will always be Michael Crawford, but when one compares Englund to Gerard Butler's Phantom (even using Crawford as the standard), he practically blows that little pansy-ass out of the water. It's refreshing to see an old, decrepit Phantom again, with more subdued, majestic style than Butler's gaudy, emo character. Also, this time the Phantom isn't scared to spill some blood, restoring some respectable fear for Erik that the 2004 version kills. Englund's voice--at least when he isn't screaming--seems surprisingly perfect for the part, and all film critics alike will see that he can indeed act, but has merely been restrained by his previous Freddy typecasting. All in all, I'd say this film makes an excellent counter-balance to the 2004 film, and both those who like like Chaney's Phantom and Crawford Phanatics alike will definitely enjoy it.
Being a great fan of the story, I have seen most film versions of
Phantom of the Opera I'm aware of and this is truly one of my absolute
If you're interested in this movie because you're in love with ALW's musical and you just want more Phantom, approach this movie with caution. If you're madly in love with every detail of the novel and want to cry every time you think of anything not in the novel, approach this movie with caution. While it remains the same tale of a disfigured man desperately doing what he can to spend his life with the woman he loves in a world that won't except him, it seems people are often put off by the fact that this film takes greater artistic liberties in telling the story than others, but I think that's what should be appreciated about this movie. I am unaware of any takes on The Phantom like this one and feel it is worthwhile for that reason alone if you are interested seeing a variation on the story.
This is the story of a much more brutal Phantom reaching out to a great singer who otherwise wouldn't be given a chance in a much more brutal setting. While it is indeed a horror movie, it's a unique one, featuring creative death scenes and an interesting story. It can be enjoyed as a good horror movie and an enjoyable different Phantom story.
Robert Englund's committed portrayal of a man devoted to the beauty of music and love of a woman is greatly admirable. While I'm sure many will jump to disagree, I feel his performance in this film, while different, is far more believable and powerful than Gerard Butler's (2004) performance. As the Phantom, he is intimidating and passionate.
The real star of this movie is its oh-so-underrated score. So often is the music of a Phantom film not brought to the forefront enough. One of the great things about this movie that set it aside from other films based on the same story is that it is as much about Christine's love for The Phantom's music as it is about his love for her. In a film where the score plays such an important role, Misha Segal does a brilliant job, keeping the audience in suspense, making them cringe in horror, giving a haunting, addictive voice to The Phantom's desperate longing and giving Christine good reason to show interest in a man so ugly.
See it for the story, see it for the music. Enjoy.
I am a huge horror movie fan and also a big Phantom of the Opera fan. I
remember this film when it came out in 1989 but did not get the chance to
see it until years later. I love the 1943 version and also love this one as
well. Robert Englund proves in this film that he is a great actor and has
moved far beyond his Freddy Kreuger days. This film is also very haunting as
a horror film where the 1943 re-make is more of a drama/horror film. Robert
is also very haunting as Erik Desller / The Phantom. Tha main thing i loved
about this film is the dark and frightening atmosphere that it set out for
the viewers. well the rank this film from 1-10 i give it a 8 for sure...
Great film for both Horror movie fans and Phantom of the Opera
Let me start out by saying that I'm a horror fan. I love all forms of
horror from the silent classics to the new-age shocker films. It's a
genre that is near and dear to my heart, so when I stumbled across this
version of the great Lon Chaney classic (screw that french dude, his
story didn't even tap the potential of the story) I HAD to see it.
The basic premise is that love and music live forever. The movie starts in the 80's where Christine is looking for a fresh new audition piece and stumbles upon Don Juan Triumphant, a great unfinished musical. While in the audition a freak accident flashes her back to what appears to be a past life in which she is an under-appreciated actress in the shadow of a great diva. True fans of the world of the Phantom can guess where the story goes from here.
The acting in this movie is above average. While it isn't the best you'll see, you have to respect the classical training of many of the actors. Jill Schoelen plays the best Christine I've seen in a film, and Bill Nighy is (as always) great... even though his role is pretty small. Robert Englund, better known to slasher fans as Freddy Krueger, does moderately well. He plays the sadistic side of the phantom very well. While he is no Lon Chaney (who is, really?!) His performance is equally haunting and captivating.
The sets are very well done, especially considering the time it was made. Many other 'classic' films made circa this time had horrendous sets and visuals (Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein was great but had TERRIBLE sets, can I get an amen?) So I had to throw some Kudos for them.
The sense that the film was made to cater to two separate audiences is clear with the added psychotic nature of the phantom and the decent death sequences, but any true horror fan can appreciate the film for it's very decent adaptation of an over-done story.
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