Phantom of the Paradise

Movie Information

In Brief: Brian De Palma fell into the category of the unruly little brother in the 1970s trio of him, Scorsese and Coppola. He was the one who was more interested in having fun with filmmaking than he was in being controlled or making any kind of a statement. Nothing about tackling “weighty” material seems to have appealed to him — unless it just sort of happened in the process. Yet, there’s an undeniable energy about his work. There’s a love of making movies just for the sake of making them, and it makes his films — especially from this period — infectious in ways that often hold up better than some his comrades’ weightier propositions. Phantom of the Paradise is certainly one of those films. De Palma took everything that appealed to him about rock music, horror movies and the act of filmmaking, and combined it in this one cheeky movie that mixed Faust and The Phantom of the Opera into a nonstop explosion of pop-culture creativity. The result was a film as vital and fresh as anything that had come along up to that point. That it was all in fun and designed to be cartoonishly entertaining, however, worked against the film critically, and it wasn’t taken seriously. That’s more a flaw of the critical mindset than of De Palma’s style, something Phantom of the Paradise continues to demonstrate every time it’s screened.
Score:

Genre: Rock 'n' Roll Horror
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham, George Memmoli
Rated: PG

The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen Phantom of the Paradise Thursday, March 3, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville, hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Scott Douglas.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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8 thoughts on “Phantom of the Paradise

  1. T.rex

    Very sad my dress rehearsal will make me miss this. Always a good time. A group needs to reinact this, ala Rocky Horror.

    • Ken Hanke

      A group needs to reinact this, ala Rocky Horror.

      No, they most assuredly do not.

      • T.rex

        You don’t think that would be fun in a theatre? A live action interactive show would be a blast and bring in younger generations to appreciate this movie. I call Beef.

        • Ken Hanke

          No, I do not think it would be fun. I don’t much care for what RHPS presentations (the ones I’ve seen) have turned into. What was clever in 1977 has turned into loud, non-stop, chaos. I have zero interest in seeing that happen to Phantom. If the movie’s not good enough to please younger generations, well, that’s their loss.

      • Mandy

        Actually, groups DO perform shadowcasts of this movie on occasion. Usually RHPS casts. Shock Treatment and Clue are also popular ones.

        • T.rex

          Cool. Ive heard about that for Clue. The lousyness and rechid smell of today’s TV programming helps me appreciate Shock Treatment more. I hated it back in the day.

          • Mandy

            Naw, they’ve never done another movie here.

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