Thursday, December 29, 2011


The other night, I caught this early Brian de Palma movie on late-night television. I had forgotten how dark and twisted it was. And it is definitely a product of the 70s. It came out before Rocky Horror, and yet that show gets all the credit for being groundbreaking and subversive.

Quick quiz. Is this from Rocky Horror or Phantom...

However, Phantom of the Paradise has a badder, more twisted protagonist, a man with half a face who flies in the face of the system.

And like Rocky Horror, it has its own queer overtones...
Is it offensive? Maybe. Seriously, you tell me. Is it offensive? I honestly can’t tell.

The actors are, for the most part, better singers. Especially the glorious female lead, who coincidentally replaced Susan Sarandon in Shock Treatment, the Rocky Horror sequel that no one seems to appreciate.

And while this film does not have a moment quite like the Time Warp, all of the extravagant musical numbers are, top-to-bottom, more enjoyable and over-the-top.

Hard core musical fans out there have probably already seen and enjoyed this film. But if not, check it out. For real. And thats the hell of it.


  1. I'm always gratified when a new fan discovers this wonderful film. You know that the graphic you're using to illustrate the "extravagant musical numbers" is actually not from the movie, but from an episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour on which Paul Williams made a guest appearance, right? You might enjoy my obsessive/compulsive website dedicated to this film, at .

  2. Of course. I had a blast digging up old Paul Williams photos. That guy was in so much crazy 1970s era stuff. Thanks for the reply. I will definitely have to check out your website. Right now, Phantom is like my new favorite movie. So so good.

  3. Every couple of months I get obsessed with this movie again... I saw De Palma's "Sisters" the other week which set me off again. I loved that movie, and has, in common with Phantom, a mix of biting dark comedy and radical statement against weirdness, suspense/horror and operatic tragedy. It also has another brilliant turn from the sadly missed Finley. RIP