Phantom Of The Opera (1998)

AUGUST 19, 2007

GENRE: CRAP, HERO KILLER, ITALIAN
SOURCE: DVD (ONLINE RENTAL)

And so it has come to this, an Argento film in the Crap genre. I tried really hard to think of a reason why Phantom Of The Opera should be kept out of it, but it really offers nothing more interesting or entertaining than the sight of Warlock fucking Asia Argento from behind. And I am sure there’s another movie that features the same.

It’s borderline depressing that Argento, arguably one of the greatest horror filmmakers of all time with unparalleled ability for creating memorable images and setpieces, couldn’t even make the chandelier sequence interesting. The best murder in the film is when a midget rat catcher gets randomly beheaded (in a scene that is an obvious allusion to Silent Night Deadly Night and Friday the 13th Part 5), a character who isn’t even in the original story that I can recall. Which isn’t much of a surprise; I’ve said before I don’t like the Phantom story anyway, and it seems the further they get from the source material (Phantom of the Mall, or Argento’s own Opera) the better.

But even if the story remained in any way compelling after some 30448560856 versions, everything seems lazy here. The dubbing on the first scene of Asia singing is atrocious (it’s not even in English anyway so why not just use her voice?), the makeup effects are week (this Phantom doesn’t even have a facial scar)… even the goddamn opening titles look like they’re photoshop files with poorly matted out backgrounds. Hell, the character of Raoul disappears for so long I actually forgot who the hell he was when he finally showed up again.

The main problem is everyone except Asia and Julian Sands has apparently stepped in from the musical version (stage or Schumacher, your pick) of the story, acting broad and gestating wildly, while Asia just does her “I’m hot and everyone wants to either fuck me or kill me or both” shtick she always does, and Sands channels Fabio. And the rat catcher guys are seemingly inserted from Delicatessen or City of Lost Children.

Christ, what a fucking mess. I’m not even going to bother with the extras.

What say you?

17 comments:

  1. I thought I understood the "Hero Killer" label, as in "this movie nearly killed my respect for a previously respected filmmaker," but then I looked at the other ones under that label and it didn't seem to fit.

    So what, just a flick where the killer is meant to be the hero? I like my first impression better. :)

    I'm almost certain I saw this movie when it first came out, but remember nothing about it--not even Asia getting rutted, which is the kind of thing that usually sticks with me. I guess that's why it's crap. :)

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  2. Yeah it's a movie where you're supposed to have sympathy and possibly even root for the killer. But not in the JASON RULZ KILL THOSE KIDS! type way.

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  3. I'm new to your blog, and let me say, I love it.

    This post was no different. I'm a fan of the Phantom story - not as a horror movie, but of the stage production, and also a fan of Argento... and this film was a MASSIVE dissapointment.

    By the way, I'm tempted to see the films I haven't yet that you've reviewed just because of the way you describe them. Many of hours at work have been wasted by me catching up on these posts. Thanks for that!

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  4. I've never met an Argento fan that liked this, and I know I sure as hell didn't. I'm with you on the "Phantom" story being done to death; I can't even manage my way through "Phantom of the Mall." Argento actually did the unthinkable and made a version worse than Robert Englund's. You should definately check out his followup to "Phantom," "Sleepless." A lot of people hate that one as well, so I might be in the minority. But it was nice to see him go back to the giallo format, and I think it's a pretty cool mystery when all is said and done. "The Card Player" isn't half bad either. The guy is obviously a little past his prime; I'm hoping "Mother of Tears" is not a dissapointment.

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  5. You're welcome! My goal is to get someone fired... :)

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  6. Haven't seen the film--the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical sure did suck, though...

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  7. I haven't seen any other Argento films but this sucks. Sorry if I don't write much because I'm from Finland and I don't speak or write english well.

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  8. thats OK, thanks for replying!

    Definitely check out his other movies. Like I said, this is his only real stinker that I have seen.

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  9. I'm wrong or not...but I have a song...that Sarah Brightman sing divinely....I havent seen the film may be I will by the vid. in my country

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  10. One of Argento's worst for sure, though I did like some of the gore in it - especially the scene you mention with the rat catcher.

    I'm SO looking forward to "Mother of Tears".

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  11. Great blog!!!

    I loooove Phantom of the Opera. :D

    JJ

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  12. Hi BC,

    Which Argento film do you most enthusiastically recommend?

    Thanks!

    A

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  13. My personal favorite would be, ironically, his original Phantom homage simply titled Opera. But I think Deep Red or Suspiria would be the ones most folks love above all. And if you're a complete newcomer to his films, I would think Trauma would be a good place to start as it's probably his most accessible.

    Hope that helps!

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  14. I actually think Bird with the Crystal Plumage is the best balance between quality and accessibility, for someone looking to get into Argento.

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  15. I was most struck by two things in Argento's version of Phantom of the Opera.

    1) Julian Sands really doesn't have any charisma to speak of-- why would Argento cast him as this mysterious character this young woman finds herself drawn to?

    2) Far and away, the (unintentionally) creepiest moment in the film is the sex scene. Julian Sands behind Asia Argento, and all I keep thinking is, "My God... she had to do this in front of her dad!"

    Great blog, by the way.

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    Replies
    1. To quote the Phantom Reviewer, "DARIO, IT'S YOUR DAUGHTER!"

      I haven't seen the whole thing, but I saw an in-depth review and it just seems so unbelievably stupid and wrong. No deformity, are you kidding me? That's Phantom 101! Even if you don't see it (which still sucks) is better than none at all!

      And the scene with the Phantom and the rats. If you've seen the scene, you know what I am talking about. Ugh.

      I shall end my comment as I began it, quoting the Phantom Reviewer: "Wig!"

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