A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
A Rome policewoman teams up with a British Interpol agent to find a crafty serial killer whom plays a taunting game of cat-and-mouse with the police by abducting and killing young women and showing it over an Internet web cam.
A college film student, obsessed with the works of Alfred Hitchcock, investigates a murder committed in the apartment building across from his and suspects that his seductive neighbor hired a girlfriend to commit the deed.
Two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe directed by two famous horror directors, George A. Romero and Dario Argento. A greedy wife kills her husband, but not completely. A sleazy reporter adopts a strange black cat.
A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
Standard story of the Phantom does have one major variation - The phantom is not a disfigured individual, but rather is an unwashed orphan abandoned in the sewers under the Paris Opera & raised by rats. The Phantom invokes death upon anyone who dares harm his beloved rats. In fact, The Phantom's nemesis is the chief exterminator who develops a rat-catching machine.Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rumour has it that Dario Argento's original cut of the film ran almost an hour longer and that the version which was finally released, has been heavily re-cut and changed by the producers to assure the film's appeal to wider audiences. See more »
This and the Hound of the Baskervilles are two stories which immediately come to mind when thinking of stories that have been put to film multiple times, with varied quality and production values.
This Italian version, directed by the legendary Dario Argento and starring his daughter Asia as Christine, is not quite what one would expect from the master of nightmarish dream sequences. That's not to say that elements of shock gore and horror are not there, as this story depicts the tortured Phantom as one who has lived his life in the sewers among rats as companions, for there are some gruesome scenes, just not of the normal high Argento quality. Strangely, however, this reviewer did not dwell on those when viewing the film, for Phantom of the Opera in any version is more love story than horror. Julian Sands, who seems to have made a career out of unusual roles, plays this one with reserve and dignity -- something that has disappointed viewers who expected a more traditional Argento outing.
The Phantom story is one of those rare ones that transcends it genre, (in this case, genres), and seems to bring out the best in performers and directors, even as this filming is surely not one of the director's best. Both Dario and daughter Asia showed us a more thoughtful side to their art than one normally associates them with, as did Joel Schumacher, director of the version released this year. I will say that I was surprised and mildly disappointed that the horror aspects were not done better, not only because of the stature of the director but because, in my opinion, Italians do horror and the mood that goes with it better than anyone else.
Each version is different from the others. This one has us believe that the Phantom was an unwanted child who grew up among the rats in the Parisian sewers and therefore has a special bond with them. We see the Phantom punish those who would capture and kill the unwanted rodents, and, aside from his demeanor, this is the way we see the greater side of the Phantom. It has been interesting to me to see how this facet of the Phantom is portrayed in the various releases. (In 1943 we saw Claude Rains as the shy and retiring violinist, in 1989 we saw the murderous Robert Englund treat street prostitutes with generosity and courtesy).
I do not need to dwell too much more on the story itself, most of us are well familiar with it. This one had what I would consider good B production values, although, for all I know, this may have been an A production in Italy and the rest of Europe. I enjoyed the performances but, again, was disappointed that Argento did not breathe greater emotion into the horror aspects.
For Phantom fans this is, of course, required viewing, if you can find it. I found my VHS copy at a video closeout store and, to be honest, was not aware of its existence until I saw it on the shelf. For one who has maintained a video library for almost 20 years, I should have known. (So much for me being a self-styled expert)!
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