HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Assassin
Die, Mommie, Die!
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
   
 
Newest Articles
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
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  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 2619 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
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: