In this Italian adult version of Gaston Leroux's immortal novel 'The Phantom of the Opera'an opera house in Venice goes in flames during an opera performance, "killing" a handsome violinist...
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In this Italian adult version of Gaston Leroux's immortal novel 'The Phantom of the Opera'an opera house in Venice goes in flames during an opera performance, "killing" a handsome violinist. Years later, a worldwide famed opera singer travels to Venice to sing "La Traviatta" in the very same theater. After seeing an old photograph of the violinist who died, she has strange, erotic dreams of him and meanwhile is chased by a masked man who lurks around the Carnivals and inside the theater, and soon she becomes trapped in the hands of 'The Phantom'.Written by
At first glance as slapdash as most of his other porn efforts, PHANTOM finds Joe D'Amato in a surprisingly artistic mood. With very beautiful ladies making love non-stop to guys with big cocks, it's obviously all about aiding the viewing public's unquenchable need to masturbate, but there is an odd beauty to the piece nonetheless.
The format is quite similar to THE VENEXIANA, a D'Amato video where Wanda Curtis rode a gondola along Venice canals, musing her fantasies in the form of sex vignettes. Eva Henger is substituted for Wanda in the gondola, and also wanders around Venice back alleys -perhaps shot at the same time to save a buck on the two projects.
A considerable amount of footage is stolen from Lon Chaney's 1925 classic THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, a Universal release that perhaps is public domain, but that never stopped pornographers anyway. D'Amato shows the silent footage tinted in blue, and frequently split screen in four or nine panels for a Pop Art silk screen effect. Henger, whose character name is also Eva Henger, is superimposed over the footage looking around vacantly. It's padding and substitutes for live action.
Similarly, he has a still of a beautiful, gold-tinted opera house interior that is shown from time to time, cheaper than renting one. During opera sequences, stock footage of an audience and conductor is inserted quite crudely. As was obvious with his late '70s Caribbean shoots, odds and ends of which generated an endless source of different films, Joe is of the "waste not want not" school of cheapness.
Virtually the entire video's plot is rattled off in voice-over as we see a newspaper photo of Alan Miller, a violinist disfigured in a fire 20 years ago, believed to be the masked phantom haunting the Venice opera house where prima donna Eva Henger has been booked to star in La Tosca. The opera house impresario is played by Chris Charming, his flower tattoo clashing (as usual) with the role, but his big cock upstaging most of the other players in frequent XXX scenes.
Henger's manager played by Mike Foster has big plans for her, when he's not shtupping Eva or another beautiful red-headed singer (a tall lady not identified in the credits, but definitely a keeper). Third leading lady is a slender beauty playing Chris' secretary, who also does a fine job in many sex scenes.
The film's dreamy quality comes from a monotonous musical track plus Eva endlessly wandering or gondola-ing around. The black caped/white masked Phantom trails her across Venice alleyways, and even appears at the beautiful mansion where the interior action takes place.
The sex scenes are relatively mechanical, with D'Amato emphasizing copious money shots on the gals' faces, shot in slo-mo for his trademark "fountains of semen" effect. Goofiest scene has Eva imagining five, count 'em, five Phantoms appearing to her, all five getting a blow job (with a memorable D'Amato closeup composition surrounding her face with five erect peckers) plus double-penetration and a wet finish.
The Phantom is seen in catacombs (for zero budget achieving pretty much the same impact as Dario Argento slaved over the same year in his terrible horror version of the material) sawing away at his violin, but D'Amato idiotically has synthesized keyboards simulating the violin playing -very unconvincing and jarring. There's a cheap, fleeting SPFX scene where Miller's mutilated face becomes normal, right before Eva humps him.
Overall, the pointless non-story eschews horror or drama, merely coming to an end when the Chaney film (shown again in the final reel) ends. Eva, particularly in one scene clad in a stunning pink evening gown, manages to remain elegant no matter how "dirty" the porn content she's immersed in becomes.
Future historians may well want to watch this baby, among well over a hundred D'Amato artifacts to choose from, to see a perhaps subconscious war of wills between the Romantic Spirit and the crass "gotta make a living" pornographer's craft. After watching it a couple of times, I'm still puzzled over the obvious contradictions.
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