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Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

KISS, a rock band made up of superheroes, battles an evil inventor who has plans for destruction at a California amusement park.

Director:

Gordon Hessler

Writers:

Jan Michael Sherman (as Jan-Michael Sherman), Don Buday
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Criss ... Cat Man
Ace Frehley ... Space Ace
Gene Simmons ... The Demon
Paul Stanley ... Star Child
Anthony Zerbe ... Abner Devereaux
Carmine Caridi Carmine Caridi ... Calvin Richards
Deborah Ryan Deborah Ryan ... Melissa
John Dennis Johnston ... Chopper
John Lisbon Wood John Lisbon Wood ... Slime
Lisa Jane Persky ... Dirty Dee
John Chappell John Chappell ... Snede
Terry Lester Terry Lester ... Sam
Don Steele ... Himself
Richard Hein Richard Hein ... Guard
Brion James ... Guard
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Storyline

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 <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mad scientist strikes! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kiss Meets the Phantom See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his autobiography, Peter Criss said that his second wife, Debra, visited him on set while filming in Calfornia. At the time, he was still married to his first wife, Lynda. See more »

Goofs

The three punks making trouble in the park are all captured in the haunted house. They're never seen again or even referenced again in the movie. See more »

Quotes

The Demon: There are no right hand except ours, we must protect the power.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kiss: Beyond the Makeup (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Rip and Destroy
Composed by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Is it really that bad? Well, yes, but...
13 June 2004 | by Erik RuppSee all my reviews

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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