In the near future, a police officer specializes in malfunctioning robots. When a robot turns out to have been programmed to kill, he begins to uncover a homicidal plot to create killer robots... and his son becomes a target.
The tale of rock band KISS and their efforts to thwart a diabolical plan by mad scientist Abner Devereaux. Devereaux has found a way to clone humans into robots in his laboratory at an amusement park. It just so happens that he plans to uses the KISS concert as a platform to unleash his plan on the world. KISS must use their special powers to stop him.Written by
Josh Pasnak <email@example.com>
All of Peter Criss's dialogue was dubbed, due both to his thick Italian/New York accent being difficult to understand, and to Criss failing to show up for looping. Criss claimed in his autobiography that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley mocked him because he had trouble pronouncing the word "talismans", and that he stormed off the set in a fit of anger. See more »
When Star Child finds the electrode on Sam's neck, a close-up of Paul's hand clearly shows a wedding ring mark. See more »
This trip's gettin' boring. Let's round up Chopper and split.
Yeah, I can dig it.
See more »
The English theatrical version of "KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park" (usually known as "Attack of the Phantoms") has totally different editing. Many various scenes/elements not in the US version (while many in the US version are not in the Spanish or English theatrical versions). Among of the differences are:
Devereaux's Civil War robots are seen attacking the security guard's office.
Calvin and Devereaux have a discussion on the Magic Mountain monorail and continue it as they get off the ride.
There are additional live shots of KISS, including some from overhead, including one where you can clearly see a cameraman on stage.
The entire movie uses different music, especially a lot of KISS solo album music, and even a little bit of an instrumental of KISS' "Almost Human."
Paul Stanley shoots Sam's remote control with his eye laser. In the US version, he simply takes it out of Sam's skin with his hand.
There are additional shots during most of the KISS fight scenes, as well as many quick scenes throughout the film. Just one example of many, the guy staring at Melissa at the snack bar wipes the table with his hand, while in the US version he does not.
This version ends with a shot of Devereaux walking in the park (the scene after Calvin fired him) and then going into the credits which scroll playing "Mr. Make believe" from Gene Simmon's solo album, while the US version ends with KISS performing "God of Thunder."
Consider this: In 1978 Wonder Woman was a fairly decent sized hit TV series. Cheese and camp were in. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park originally was planned (and scripted) as "Star Wars meets A Hard Day's Night." Unfortunately, the network censors decided that it was too violent and too serious for all the kids that would likely be watching, so the script was toned down. After 3 or 4 re-writes the script hardly resembled that which the band and their management agreed to, but they had already signed their contracts, so...
Out came KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park to TV screens in the Fall of 1978. It was bad, unintentionally funny in spots, and yet - it was still kind of cool if you "got it." The idea of KISS as superheroes was a natural, and, in fact, it followed the two Marvel Comics KISS special issues from 1977 & 1978 - including the idea of where they got their powers. There are some ideas in the story that if fleshed out and written well could have made for a good TV movie. Unfortunately Hanna Barbera was running the show, and turned it into a live action cartoon - with the approval (and outright urging) of NBC. The band so hated the script that even Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons - the guys in the band with good work ethic and aspirations of becoming serious Hollywood actors someday - didn't bother to study their lines. They just had their lines barked out to them and repeated them for each take. Peter Criss, as has been noted many times, didn't even bother to show up for the "looping," or overdubbing of his voice to fix the spots where the audio recording wasn't up to par (and had his voice replaced by a cartoon voice actor throughout the film as a result). Ace Frehley also seems disinterested for most of the movie (and as he was, and still is, a big Science Fiction fan that shows just how unhappy he was with the script - and the film-making process in general).
Anthony Zerbe and Carmine Caridi, however, do their best to salvage something out of this mess. They give solid, fairly believable performances despite dialog that is often cheesy, and despite their characters being written as cardboard cut-outs rather than 3 dimensional people. Kudos to them, they clearly were (and still are) professionals.
The highlights of the movie end up being the music and the cheesy fight scenes - and maybe the interplay between Zerbe's Abner Deveraux and Caridi's Calvin Richards. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park can be fun to watch IF you go into it expecting a cheesy 70's superhero camp movie. If that's all you expect, then it meets and exceeds those expectations. It's a great bit of nostalgia as well.
KISS survived this movie, but just barely. A year later they had a huge hit with their Dynasty album, but then saw Peter Criss leave the band, with Ace Frehley following suit a couple of years later. They saw their fortunes fade for a few years (despite the introduction of the late, great Eric Carr on drums in 1980) before their career revival minus the make-up with albums like Lick It Up, Animalize, Asylum, and Revenge. In 1996 the original group got back together for a wildly successful reunion that lasted for 5 years. Once again, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley proved to be too unstable and erratic to continue in the band, and they each ended up leaving KISS (or being asked to leave) for a second time. Despite a "Farewell Tour" in 2000-2001 KISS still continues today, and they still hate this movie. But like a veteran telling war stories, they still tell the tale of making this movie, and of how a great idea was turned into something profoundly stupid yet still strangely compelling.
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