HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Phantom of the Paradise Song PsychoBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper, George Memmoli, Gerrit Graham, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Peter Elbling, Colin Cameron, David Garland, Gary Mallaber, Art Munson, Mary Margaret Amato, Rand Bridges, Jennifer Ashley, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith
Genre: Horror, Musical, Comedy
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: This is the story of Swan (Paul Williams), a record industry mogul who had his first hit single at the age of fourteen, and went on to huge fame with the chart-topping band the Juicy Fruits. Since then, his fortune has rocketed, and his talent at finding the right song for the right person at the right time is as keen as ever. Why, it's almost as if he has sold his soul to the Devil such is his success. On the other end of the scale is struggling singer-songwriter Wiinslow Leach (William Finley) who has poured his life into his cantata which he hopes to sell to Swan. He is interested all right - only he doesn't want Winslow around to reap the benefits...

Writer and director Brian De Palma really showed off his knowledge of not simply classic horror fiction but the filmmakers who influenced him in his barnstorming rock musical Phantom of the Paradise, and he wasn't shy about letting the viewer appreciate his breadth of understanding of the media. Yet at heart this was an attack on the cynicism and bad taste of showbiz which ironically were exactly what he used to make his point: the film is gaudy and sick, but brimming with energy, colourful and in some respects muddled, but never short of ideas.

Even if those ideas were somebody else's: it's odd how Swan is set up as the bad guy for appropriating others' material when De Palma does the same to create his film. The difference is that he is paying tribute, while Swan is a crooked operator. Some see Phantom as the immediate predecessor to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and there are similarities with the same homage-driven horror musical conventions throughout (if there never were such things before, there certainly were after). But there's more glee in this film, less sorrow in its nostalgia.

Winslow becomes the Phantom more by accident than by design. The Paradise is Swan's newest venture, a rock venue that will beat all the others with its glittering acts and dramatic staging. When Winslow tries to get credit for writing the songs that have been poached, he is thrown out of the mogul's mansion and framed on a heroin dealing charge, which lands him in prison (where he is given metal teeth, bizarrely). When he hears one of his works on the radio, he flies into a rage, escapes and heads to the record-pressing plant to stop production, but alas is caught in one of the machines, leaving him disfigured and without his voice.

So what else to do but don a costume and wreak revenge? Installing himself in The Paradise, he attempts to terrrorise the place, but Swan catches him and offers him a Faustian pact: write the songs and Swan will ensure Phoenix (Jessica Harper), the love of Winslow's life (after meeting her for about five minutes) will perform them. Of course, Winslow didn't read his contract properly and Swan hires flamboyant shock rocker Beef (Gerrit Graham, almost walking away with a very loud film) to be the star. Not that this will stop The Phantom having his way... For a comedy, it's not all that funny, and for a horror it may be slightly queasy but it's not scary, yet Williams' songs show versatility even if they do make the movie sound like a paean to easy listening when Phoenix's stylings are lifted onto a pedestal over the far more enjoyable outrageousness that Winslow despises. As an experience, though, the film easily sweeps you up with its vitality.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2647 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Brian De Palma  (1940 - )

Controversial American director and Alfred Hitchcock fan, strong on style, but weak on emotion. His early, political films like Greetings and Hi, Mom! gained some acclaim, but it was with Sisters that he emerged as a major talent of the 1970s and settled into his cycle of thrillers and horrors: The Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Obsession, The Fury, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Carlito's Way, Raising Cain, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale being good examples.

He's not aversed to directing blockbusters such as Scarface, The Untouchables and Mission Impossible, but Bonfire of the Vanities was a famous flop and The Black Dahlia fared little better as his profile dipped in its later years, with Passion barely seeing the inside of cinemas. Even in his poorest films, his way with the camera is undeniably impressive. Was once married to Nancy Allen.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: