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"Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

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"Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Old 09-27-14, 04:32 PM
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"Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7





Phantom of the Paradise (1974)



Selected by Gobear



IMDB ENTRY

ALYXSTARR LINK

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
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2014 DISCUSSION THREAD | 2014 LIST THREAD


Last edited by Chad; 09-30-14 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 09-28-14, 06:20 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Paul Williams is Still Alive!!!

I'm an incredibly huge DePalma fan and this is one of only a couple of films from him that I've still not watched. I've had the DVD since it was released. I'll probably check out Scream Factory's release of this for the best viewing experience. Love Jessica Harper. I recommend The Evictors which I watched this past summed.
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Old 10-04-14, 01:45 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

FYI: This is streaming for free if you have Amazon Prime. It's not available on Netflix by streaming or disc.
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Old 10-07-14, 08:03 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

This is one of my alltime favorite movies. Terrific Paul Williams score and a great performance of "Old Souls" from Jessica Harper. I highly recommend shelling out for the Shout Factory blu, which is a vast improvement from the Fox DVD.

Last edited by Gobear; 10-08-14 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 10-07-14, 09:56 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

I saw this movie for the first time a few months ago and fell madly for it. Just fantastic. Finley and Williams are both simply amazing. Jessica Harper was so girl-next-door hot as well, even doing her chicken dance.

Sapirstein's reconstruction of it according to De Palma's vision (no mattes, a few other tweaks) is worth seeking out, if you're "so inclined".
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Old 10-07-14, 11:14 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Initially I was hesitant fearing a over the top campy Rocky Horror vibe but Phantom of the Paradise was must better balanced. The contract angle and literary allusions were intelligent and PotP is altogether creative. The Paul Williams character seems really well constructed never feeling entirely evil or helpful but some awkward self-serving mix.

There's a slight misogynist vibe in PotP that's unintentionally funny. Jessica Harper seemed under utilized but gives a great performance; she's nearly silent for the entire second half of the movie and once the "love triangle" set up is in place cast aside.
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Old 10-08-14, 05:52 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

This movie is the perfect example of checking out films you may have hated in the past. I tried watching this movie around 10 years ago and honestly despised it. I was not looking forward to revisiting it due to my memories of that near decade ago viewing.

I was dumbfounded to find that I actually enjoyed the movie this time around. I am not a fan of musicals in the least but the music is very well done and many of the songs quite catchy. I especially loved the 50's and Beach Boys parody songs. I also appreciated the satire of the music industry which I don't think that I quite 'got" those many years ago for whatever reason.

An enjoyable movie and shows what a talent Brian De Palma is. I feel many still write him off as a Hitchcock rip-off director and he is so much better than many give him credit for.

I do agree with Undeadcow that Jessica Harper is underutilized in the second half. Damn, she was delicious.

And the Amazon Prime viewing of this was quite surprising. Beautiful HD picture with surprisingly 7.1 sound! Not that the movie really utilized it but I was stunned when I found it was decoded as that. Didn't know they were streaming 7.1 yet.

My rating: *** out of *****
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Old 10-08-14, 08:39 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

What a great film! How'd I miss it all these years?
Originally Posted by Spiderbite View Post
FYI: This is streaming for free if you have Amazon Prime. It's not available on Netflix by streaming or disc.
Thanks for mentioning that; I didn't have to use up some of Alxyy's bandwidth.
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Old 10-08-14, 08:47 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

A friend in college really liked this film but I didn't think much of it on my initial viewing. I'm not a musical fan myself but the songs are really good and the film has grown on me with subsequent viewings. I think this is the first time that I noticed Rod's Serling's introduction and Jessica Harper's chicken dancing.
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Old 10-09-14, 09:20 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
Jessica Harper was so girl-next-door hot as well, even doing her chicken dance.
Originally Posted by wishbone View Post
I think this is the first time that I noticed Rod's Serling's introduction and Jessica Harper's chicken dancing.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:42 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

I have loved this film for 40 years now. There's some fascinating backstory to it, which I'm sure is covered in the Scream Factory Blu-ray's extras. I don't have a copy of that disc yet, but here are a few tidbits that I've gleaned from various sources through the years:
  • Jessica Harper was cast in Suspiria because Dario Argento saw her in this.
  • Tom Rothman, the former head of 20th Century Fox, saw Jessica Harper in this film when he was 19 and told his brother that he was going to marry her. Fifteen years later, he did.
  • Sissy Spacek was set decorator on Phantom of the Paradise. She was between films and her husband Jack Fisk was the film's production designer, so she tagged along to help.

I never get tired of Phantom. One of my fraternity brothers had the poster for the film on the inside of his door AND a 35mm trailer for the film. I envied him those. Somewhere around here I've got the paperback novelization of the film. I used to have the soundtrack, but I don't know what happened to it.
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Old 10-11-14, 05:52 AM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
I have loved this film for 40 years now. There's some fascinating backstory to it, which I'm sure is covered in the Scream Factory Blu-ray's extras. I don't have a copy of that disc yet, but here are a few tidbits that I've gleaned from various sources through the years:
  • Jessica Harper was cast in Suspiria because Dario Argento saw her in this.
  • Tom Rothman, the former head of 20th Century Fox, saw Jessica Harper in this film when he was 19 and told his brother that he was going to marry her. Fifteen years later, he did.
  • Sissy Spacek was set decorator on Phantom of the Paradise. She was between films and her husband Jack Fisk was the film's production designer, so she tagged along to help.

I never get tired of Phantom. One of my fraternity brothers had the poster for the film on the inside of his door AND a 35mm trailer for the film. I envied him those. Somewhere around here I've got the paperback novelization of the film. I used to have the soundtrack, but I don't know what happened to it.
Thanks for sharing! I love film trivia like that. I'll definitely be getting that Scream Factory BD. Hopefully it's part of the current sale.
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Old 10-11-14, 01:01 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

This was...interesting. Jessica is downright beautiful and funny. The one thing I hated, though, was her character refused to sleep with the guys because she wanted to sing and get by through her voice. Once she got her chance, she ended up sleeping with the head guy. Come on =/
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Old 10-11-14, 02:21 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

^That was the point. Once she got a taste of the spotlight, she got became part of the machine.
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Old 10-11-14, 02:48 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

I just didn't like that. She was the one redeemable character in the film and there went that.
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Old 10-11-14, 02:55 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

And that's what makes Winslow's death all the more poignant. The original script had Winslow dying at her feet, unrecognized, unloved, alone, while she continued singing, addicted to fame, the spotlight, the applause, the adoration. He failed to bring her back from the brink.
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Old 10-11-14, 02:59 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy View Post
And that's what makes Winslow's death all the more poignant. The original script had Winslow dying at her feet, unrecognized, unloved, alone, while she continued singing, addicted to fame, the spotlight, the applause, the adoration. He failed to bring her back from the brink.
I would have actually enjoyed that ending because it would have meant something to me. Why did they change it?
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Old 10-11-14, 06:16 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

It would have been kind of a downer for a movie that was highly tongue-in-cheek up to then. I think they went with the better ending. With his death, Winslow redeemed Phoenix before Swan could consume her. Bittersweet but the right ending.
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Old 10-13-14, 03:27 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

This is one movie I've never really been interested in watching. What little bits I saw of it seemed pretty strange, and I don't really like musicals. I was rolling my eyes at the beach party music at the beginning, because I'm not a fan, the sequence went on a bit long. I found myself enjoying the first song William Finley played on the piano and I liked the movie from that point. The songs were pretty catchy, and the film had good energy. I thought I'd hate the movie, but I all ready want to rewatch it.
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Old 10-14-14, 01:32 PM
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Re: "Phantom of the Paradise" Reviews/Discussion - 2014 Horror Challenge: Day 7

I surprised myself by not liking this as much as I'd imagined I might... I only really enjoyed about half the songs, and was baffled by the in-film praise lavished on the Faust music (although possibly that's part of the point). The satire seemed both daring & biting, but at the same time a little trite and over-sold - it's a fine line to walk, and I think they did a good job overall, but in parts it was too awkward.

It also seemed to me - and I could be totally wrong - that the Phantom aspects were perhaps grafted over the top of a music industry satire, rather than the satire being added in to a Phantom plot, which sat strangely. Lastly, I really have no idea who Ms Harper and Mr Williams are, so I miss those resonant vibes.

Apart from all that(!), I liked it quite a bit. Just not as much as I'd thought/hoped. Maybe next year!

I also read a brief appreciative bit on Edgar Wright's website (here) that made me sad for a number of empathetic and personal reasons.
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