Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Phantom of the Opera (1989) - Review

If there was ever a movie to accuse of being a shameless cash-in on another franchise, it's this movie.  Look at that poster, the first couple of times I looked at it I thought it was just another Freddy box cover, I wasn't looking at the title, I was looking at the picture, you can imagine how many people might have bought or rented it thinking the same thing.

Warning, this is a spoiler based review

They couldn't have made him look more like Freddy if they tried, the shameless gits, all you see is "Robert Englund", the word "Freddy" and then him looking like Freddy, I sent the picture to a friend without explanation and then called them to ask if they noticed what the title of the movie was, they didn't even see it. 

I hadn't heard of this film at all, I stumbled across the title when researching the actor Bill Nighy and I clicked the wikipedia page to see what role he played.  Once I realised this was an attempt to do Phantom, but cashing in on the Nightmare on Elm street franchise, I had to do a review.

Written on the day of his execution, March 7th, 1544
Reading this quote, I do not accept that the movie is giving me a real quote, I have to of course research it.  Half an hour later, the movie is paused at 45 seconds and I know exactly this, there was a Saint Vitus who was born and died in Italy aged around 13, sometime around the year 303AD by being tortured to death by Romans.  There was a Jeanne De Valois, who was a woman and died in 1505 of natural causes.  In 1544, there were a few people who died who had pissed off the pope, but none had a name similar to Jean Vitius, there were a couple of saints and a pope listed as dying on March 7th, but none around 1544 or a year that could have been typoed as 1544 and none having a variant of the name Jean Vitus.  Then I looked up Rouen and saw there was no one listed under the births section with a similar name, though it does of course say that in the novel of Phantom, the Opera Ghost is said to have come from there.  Then I checked out a bunch of catholic saint websites and finally came to the conclusion that they made him up.  There is no St. Jean Vitius of Rouen.  I saw several links on google complaining about the same thing, I'm sure they did this just to fuck with us.

The first real shot of the movie is a camera sweeping over water at night, it pans up to a shot of the two towers and the title imposes itself over them.  As the titles play we get a bunch of sweeping shots of New York at night and then we see a young woman leaving Tower Records and hailing a taxi to go to a music library.  Inside the library the young woman walks through stacks and tables piled with bound sheet music.  She goes down into a basement area where she passes some running machinery and into a section marked, "Rare and Out of Print."

The young woman is Christine of course, searching for her friend Meg whom she finally finds in the rare section.  Christine has been searching for something special for an audition piece, something which no one has heard before, her friend Meg presents her with some old and crumpled sheet music called Don Juan Triumphant, by Erik Destler.  Uh oh, Eric with a C is nice, Erik with a K is evil, run away, Christine, run away!  The name seems familiar to Christine, but she can't place where she has heard it, Meg hands her a book which provides information on Deslter and his unfinished opera, the book also says that Destler was obsessed with a young opera singer who disappeared the night of his death and the authorities believed he was a psychopath responsible for a dozen deaths in London.

At least he's not Freddy Krueger.
Christine wants to find more music as she likes the way Don Juan Triumphant sounds, Meg says that's all she found, but they start looking through the books to see if there is any more hidden away.  Meg notices it's almost midnight and goes to grab her things to leave, Christine finds a bound stack of sheet music on the top shelf covered in dust and when she pulls it down she finds it's the rest of the opera.  She opens up the binding and finds some of the pages are burnt, but it's readable and she begins singing from the sheet music.

The sheet music think she's out of tune.
Christine looks at her hands and they are covered in blood, then Meg arrives and asks if she's ready to go and they leave.  The next day we see a lot of people queueing outside of a theatre to audition, inside we see a woman finishing her audition and being rejected by the director.  Then it's Christine's turn, she introduces herself and explains she's in her second year at Julliard and tells the director she's going to sing a piece from Don Juan Triumphant. 

Meg plays the piano for Christine, as she sings she imagines the threatre being full of applauding people.  The actress playing Christine has a nice voice, but she's clearly not a trained opera singer as she doesn't have the strength to hold some of the notes, or I could be wrong and they want her to gradually build as the movie plays out.  We'll see I suppose.  A sandbag from above drops down suddenly and barely misses Christine and breaks a mirror behind her and then we get some bizarre shots of Christine turning in a bizarre costume at an opera house superimposed over more glass breaking and a horse and carriage pulling away, which repeats itself twice, then we hear Robert Englund saying, "Christine, come back, come back to me, Christine."

Wake up, Christine, you were having that dream again where things made sense.
At this point I can only assume that the movie is fucking with me, because Christine wakes up surrounded by these people in costume and now everyone is English.  Christine looks up at the woman trying to rouse her and says, "Meg?"  and the woman responds, "Yes, it's me," but it is so not her friend Meg.  Why are you doing this to me, movie?  I thought we were going to have a fun little time mashing up Freddy and Phantom, why do you keep fucking with me? 

So now we're in London in the late 1800's, Christine is the only american in the London opera company and she's the understudy to the leading lady Carlotta, she also seems to have no memory of New York, so are we to assume that this is some sort of past life dealy or is this like that episode of Star Trek Voyager where B'Elanna Torres lives the aliens memories?

English Meg tells Christine to relax and have a sleep because Carlotta is stressing her voice and she may have to take the lead part.  We then see Carlotta singing and the camera travels through the orchestra pit into some nifty dungeons below and we see Freddy making himself a mask out of peoples skin.  Nice.

The not-so-popular, permanent kind of mask
Freddy has a picture of Christine on his desk and he's also been writing some music, he dabs his face with some stage make up and I have to say it's quite amazing what they could do with a bit of foundation in the late 1800's.

Come on, movie!
Upstairs in the theatre the stage hands are talking, one of them says it wasn't his fault that the sandbag dropped earlier and it was the ghost who walks on the catwalk who has "fire for eyes and a death mask for a face", another stage hand reckons he was too busy eyeing up Christine and got distracted with his hand down his trousers.

When the stage hand is alone, we hear Freddy calling him, he looks around and doesn't see anyone, but we see Freddy is walking about him in the walkways.  The stage hand, Joseph, drops a new back drop onto the stag and Freddy pops down with his humanish face on. Joseph shares his bottle of whiskey with Freddy, unphased at his sudden appearance and Freddy asks him if he's sure the sandbag dropping was the work of a ghost.  Joseph says it was just an accident, Freddy says "but you blamed me", Joseph says it won't happen again and Freddy confirms that it won't and kicks him off the walkway.  Joseph's foot is caught in the rope and he dangles above the stage, Freddy brings him back up and cuts him with a teeny tine knife.

In Christine's room we see a shadowy figure (Freddy) in the mirror and he tells her she sounded lovely in rehearsals.  Christine looks around the room and ask's if it's him, he confirms it is him, her teacher, her angel, blah blah, if you've seen any version of phantom, you know how this scene goes.  Christine tells Freddy about the accident and asks Christine to sing the song for him, the lead song, now her own, she asks him to show himself, he says he will soon so she starts to sing.  Christine sounds ok, not great, maybe because there's no backing music it sounds weird.  Freddy is displeased so he asks her to start again, with passion

The second she sings it sounds better and there is backing music, but I'm still not really getting it, maybe it's the song, it's one of those ones designed to show off a lot of notes and the singers range, but it's no Angel of Music.  Freddy tells Christine that she will peform that night and the world will love her.

Later that night Bill Nighy delivers some flowers to Carlotta whilst she is in the bath, I don't care if he owns the opera house, he really could have waited until she was done.  Carlotta asks Bill Nighy to wash her back, she wants a bigger better room and she wants Christine back in the chorus as she's too good and she is threatened by her.  Bill Nighy loses his temper and Carlotta refuses to sign a new contract until he's thought about what she;s said.  Carlotta calls her servant, (played by Cathy Muphy who played Julie Perkins on Eastenders up until the other day coincidentally when she had her last episode), she is given a costume for the third act and told to take it to the costume department to take in, then Carlotta admires herself in the mirror.  She slips on the floor on a pool of blood but catches herself, she opens the wardrobe door and is horrified at what she finds inside.

Filmed on location in Bangkok.....   too soon?
The bloody mess of a body opens it's eyes and says "help me" then grabs Carlotta's towel and pulls it off her, she screams and screams and hides herself on a sofa thing, covering herself with pillows until she runs out of breath to scream with. 

Elsewhere, Bill Nighy speaks with his accountant about the opera house being in debt, and he complains abouta monthly debit of 300...  300 what I'm not sure, pounds, shillings, crowns, bananas?  With no receipt or invoice, his accountant tells him it's for the opera ghost and box five is held for him every night, he says he knows it's silly, but you know how actors are.  Billy Nighy tells his account that for 300 pianos a month and a box containing four seats he's willing to risk the phantoms curse. 

People settle in to the opera house for opening night of Faust, the accountant comes to tell Bill Nighy that there's been an accident and someone comes out on stage to let the audience know that due to illness Carlotta can't perform and Christine will be playing the lead part.  The audience is most displeased and start to leave, Bill Nighy says they could be done for fraud and he's going to kill Carlotta.  The accountant says he'll have a word with Carlotta because Bill Nighy's too angry to speak with her. 

The curtains open on stage and play begins, backstage the police arrive and push their way through the crowd of actors to get into Carlotta's room.  Her servant is crying in a chair as a constable takes her statement, someone shows the inspector the wardrobe containing the dead stage hand, they tell the inspector information about the victim, the inspector tells them to take him down.  A police man says that they sent Carlotta home to see a doctor and says they could bring her back, but the inspector says it can wait, because he's seen this work before and he knows who has done it and it isn't the work of any phantom or ghost, it is the work of an artist who works in flesh.

Meanwhile the phantom takes his usual seat in order to watch the opera, it's a bit rude turning up late, he'll never get a box of rowntrees fruit gums now.  Oh for fuck's sake.  Whilst Faust is going on onstage, Freddy starts having a flash back.  Freddy is all normal looking and playing a piano with a mirror where the sheet music should be and a mirror above the piano as well, a little person comes down the stairs with two women and tells Freddy he plays very well and asks who it is.  Freddy says it's his own composition.  The little person asks Freddy what he would give to have his music live forever like one of the immortals, Beethoven or Mozart? 

Freddy says he'd give anything, the little person asks if he would sell his soul, Freddy says he would and signs a contract.  The little person, aka probably the devil, tells him that the world will love him for his music, but that's all they will love him for and touches his face which puts half the Freddy make up on his face.

Freddy's flashback ends and he continues watching the opera which is all seeming a bit close to the bone now.  Christine appears on stage, sat at a spinning wheel and Freddy starts really paying attention.  It's a great shame that Robert Englund doesn't get to do a lot of acting outside of the horror genre these days because some of the facial expressions he goes through as he sees Christine is quite moving, if you can forget about the murdering people for their skin thing.

Backstage the inspector says that there must be a thousand doors in the theatre and he wants them all open, they'll find the phantom if they just look hard enough.  The inspector runs into the account guy who's also the half owner of the opera house and the inspector tells him they better have a little chat. 

On stage Christine starts singing and it's by far the best performance she's given in the movie so far and both Freddy and the audience seem quite delighted about it.  Freddy is so caught up in the performance he almost stands up to applaud, but doesn't and leaves a gold coin on his seat and a rose in the opera box. 

Later, Freddy is walking through the streets and is accosted by a couple of prostitutes till he finds one he likes and goes to a private place with her, he tells her not to turn on the light because his foundation has worn off.  He tells her that for tonight her name will be Christine.  I never thought I'd say this, but Robert Englund is kinda smooth, the way he's putting the moves on it really seems like this guy gets a lotta action. 

Hair by Helena Bonham Carter
At a posh restaurant after the opera, everyone applauds as Christine enters, Bill Nighy comments to a friend that she will never sell tickets.  Christine tells the account guy that she doesn't know where her passion came from in her performance.  She tells the account that her father sends an angel who teaches her, she's never seen him, but she feels him, (oh aye), and hears him and he instructs her and she doesn't want to lose her angel. 

The account guy, Richard, asks Christine to marry him, she says she can't, not now, he says that after this evening he may have lost her, but she says he will never lose her.  Bill Nighy conspires with an old dude because the audience wants Carlotta and Christine would need years and years of training to bring her up to the diva standards. 

At the Inn where Freddy first encountered the guy who was probably the devil, Freddy sits in a corner composing, a barmaid brings him a drink and goes to serve another table.  A guy asks who Freddy is and the barmaid tells him to mind his own business. The guy goes over and offers Freddy a cigar, Freddy tells him to go away because he's busy, the guy persists and lights a match, seeing Freddy's scarred face, Freddy blows out the match and the guy backs off.  Later, Freddy is walking back to the opera house and is being followed by the guy from the Inn and his friends.

They corner him in an alley and pull out a knife, telling him they want his purse and the gold coins within.  Freddy defeats the first two with his cape and then pulls out a whip, and wraps it around the neck of one who he pulls toward him and stabs in the gut.  The guy from the Inn pushes his other friend at Freddy and Freddy cuts off his head with a knife and throws the head at the guy who screams and begins to run away.  Freddy keeps popping up in front and behind him and eventually pushes him up a wall and stabs him in the gut, he places two gold coins over his eyes and takes out a knife to cut away some skin.  We see some of the pages of his composition drift away. 

In the morning the prostitute Freddy hired wakes up and finds some gold coins under her pillow, aw, it's like he's the tooth fairy really.  At the opera house, a English-Meg runs up the stairs with the morning paper which contains a review of the previous night's performance.  Christine reads out the review, which says the performance did not hold up to expectations due to the absence of Carlotta, the company's Diva.  The reviewer goes on to say that Christine's voice was not unplesant, though her lack of training and discipline was obvious and she could not hold up her role, which is kind of true, sorry, love.  Then he gets a bit mean and says that he wasn't sure if she could perform the role she was billed as, which is a secondary role.  Now, obviously, this guy's a bit of a git, but here's the thing, the times when she was obviously just singing on camera, it wasn't that great and certainly not high enough quality for a big opera company.  Her performance on stage was better, because it was obviously a studio recorded performance she has a very nice voice, but operatically speaking it's not really a great voice because it takes years and years to fully develop that kind of voice and being an opera singer, she should really get that, but I suppose that Christine is supposed to be way better than the actress playing her.

English-Meg tries to comfort her by saying that it's only one opinion and she heard the audience applaud, but Christine says the audience were probably just clapping out of politeness.  Meanwhile in a men's bath house, the reviewer guy declines his usual massage and goes into a steam room followed by Freddy.  The reviewer guy creates more steam and Freddy asks if he was at the opera and the reviewer confirms that he was as he is the opera critic for the gazette.  Freddy says that he found his review troubling and asks if they saw different shows, the reviewer says he was embarrassed for Christine as the role was above her.

Freddy then asks if he had good enough seats in the opera house as the acoustics are somewhat inconsistent and if he wished to change his mind about his evaluation, he could provide him with a private box.  The reviewer says he'd rather die than submit himself to "that shrieking child for another evening."  Freddy takes this as his cue to kill him, which he does by wrapping a towel around his face really tightly, then throwing him against a wall.

Christine leaves the opera house as it starts snowing, carrying a bunch of flowers, she hails down a passing carriage, just missing Richard, who decides to follow after her in another carriage.  She arrives at a cemetery late at night and her flowers mysteriously change into roses, she places them down on her fathers grave.  She tells the grave that she felt him there the previous night and doesn't know if she can sing again and asks for guidance. 

We see Freddy playing the violin in the graveyard, she thinks it's her father, Richard arrives at the gates, but they mysteriously lock themselves.  Freddy tells Christine her father has sent him, he is her angel and all her lessons have led to this moment.  Christine decides to follow Freddy and ignores Richards shouts as Freddy tells her that they will make the world better with their music, she just needs to take the last step towards him and he sits at a carriage, whilst still playing, his face hidden from view.  The door to the carriage opens and Christine gets inside as Richards comes through the gates, the sound of Freddy's violin must be some sort of supernatural thing as it hurts Richards ears and he falls to the floor as Freddy drives the carriage off.

We see a dude trying to catch rats in a sewer, then we see Freddy round the corner, who has put his foundation back on and he lights a match and leads Christine to his nifty underground lair.  He tells her that there is nothing to harm her there, except for, you know, the rats.  Freddy tells her that in her dressing room he could only teach her the words and notes, but there he can teach her the real meaning of the music.

Freddy selects a bottle of champagne and Christine looks at the book of music which we saw in the library at the start of the film.  Christine looks troubled and Freddy asks her what the matter is, she asks if his name is Erik and he says that man is long dead.  She asks him to play his music for her, at first he protests, but then realises he can't help but indulge her.  He tells Christine it's unfinished, but she's his inspiration to finish the opera. 

He begins to play and to his surprise, Christine begins to sing along with his music, (which the rat catcher guy hears), her performance is ok, but you can really tell in places that she doesn't have the best operatic voice.  He asks her how she knew the words to his music, she says she sang them before and doesn't remember where.  He says it's impossible as no one has ever heard that music, so she asks him to play the rest, but he reminds her that it is incomplete.

So, you look like Gerard Butler under there, right?  Right?  No?...  Frank Spencer?
 He asks her to come to him and he will give her everything, she loves music and he is the music, together they can bring London to their feet.  He slides a ring onto her finger and she suddenly starts protesting despite the fact she's been more than happy to go along with everything before this.  He tells her she's now married to the music, she can't have two masters and must not see another.  She promises and he tells her that tonight she will be his bride. 

Richard goes to see the inspector and tells him that Christine's life is in danger, though where he got that idea from, I don't know.  The inspector shows him a collection of photographs (completely un-period looking photographs I might add) of people who have been flayed.  Richard fails to see the connection, the inspector tells him that Christine sang because Carlotta found a body in her wardrobe and the reviewer who criticised her is now dead.  The inspector in a round about way says that murder follows Christine, but he doesn't think it's Richard. 

The inspector tells Richard that the phantom is real and his name is Erik Destler, which is apparently a famous legend.  While the inspector is explaining this, we see Freddy take off his wig, revealing that he is quite bald and you can see his skull in places, he then takes out his teeth and places them in a cool little box I want to get for my nanna so she doesn't lose hers all the time.  He then starts taking off his ear, which is fake apparently and then undoes the stitches on his skin mask, though I don't know why, ok I do, but in universe, surely they could act as a sort skin graft and as long as the skin wasn't dying it would graft to his skin since he sews it on.  Out of universe, they want him to look as much like Freddy as they can get away with without breaching copyright. 

Funny how those teeth he took out are suddenly back in
He takes off his nose skin and pulls a plastic nose off, which seems a bit silly because he obviously has a nose underneath.   In her dressing room, Christine tries pulling off the ring which Freddy gave her, but it won't come off and it cuts her finger.  English-Meg comes in and asks her where the hell she's been and asks if Richard gave her a ring, saying "I expected a diamond", Christine tells her that Richard didn't give her the ring.  Then English-Meg gleefully tells Christine that the guy who gave her a bad review was found dead. 

Richard comes calling, Freddy watches, Christine quickly writes a note and tells English-Meg to give the note to him, which tells him to meet her privately.  Christine tries to pull the ring off again, but fails.  Inside the opera house, everyone arrives in masks for the masquerade ball, Christine has two masks because she's greedy.  Richard looks for her through the dancing crowds.  Bill Nighy sucks up to Carlotta who has arrived and asks her for a dance.  The inspector and his police men put on masks to blend in with the crowd and watch for the phantom.

Richard finds Christine and she tells him to leave her alone because she's afraid of the phantom and feels that he's watching her everywhere and of course, Freddy was watching from behind a large plant.  As he's getting a drink, someone tries to take off his mask and he stops them, Carlotta wonders who it could be and Freddy spins Bill Nighy away so he can have a dance with her.

Carlotta's headdress is rather impressive.  She tells Freddy that he's a wonderful dancer and asks where she might know him from, he says she would know him through his works, she asks if she could see his face.  He asks what she would trade as everything has it's price, she laughs and he takes her to a secluded room, she pulls off his mask and screams, but he stifles her scream. 

The inspector goes to the buffet where the rat catcher is helping himself to some food, the inspector tells the rat catcher he has a nice costume and the rat catcher tells him the thing he's looking for has already come and gone right under his nose.  The inspector tells him to show him where, the rat catcher tells him that the phantom pays him well to keep his secrets and to keep the rats out, the inspector says he will pay him more.  Over time, though the rat catcher would earn more if he kept his loyalty to Freddy, years of steady rat catching work instead of one small pay off.  Silly man.

The inspector drags him off and the caterers bring in a table with lots of covered dishes, people gather around to see the tasty dishes behind unveiled, and if you thought that Carlotta's head was going to be unveiled from one of the silver domes, you'd be dead wrong.

It's in the soup.
Everyone freaks out and has a good old look before they start leaving and Bill Nighy has a bit of a paddy, in the confusion, Freddy steals Christine away, but they have the rat catcher to show them where he will be hiding Christine. 

Freddy throws Christine down on a bed and chokes her a bit before showing her exactly what's really underneath his mask.  However, he hears the others entering his sanctum.  The rat catcher leaves them behind and goes off his own way, we see Freddy running through the sewers, Christine meanwhile is trapped inside Freddy's room.  Christine finds a cobwebbed exit and starts trying to make her way through it, she can hear Richard shouting in the distance, but she comes full circle back into Freddy's lair. 

Freddy finds the rat catcher who tells him that he won't kill him, because he catches the rats, Freddy doesn't like being told what he does and doesn't do and so kills the rat catcher.  The police split up into two groups, because that's always a good idea, they start looing for Freddy's lair and mark their paths with chalk as they walk.  Unfortunately for them, Freddy knows the tunnels far better than they do and tricks them with mirrors and opening doors, splitting the police up further and changing their marks so it leads them in the wrong directions and they become lost. 

Yes, I'm sure that's exactly how an English policeman held his gun in the 1880's
The police officer (pictured) ends up shooting the officer with him, but luckily, Freddy had already slit his throat , Freddy then traps him in a net and guts him.  The inspector and Richard come across the body of the rat catcher and decide they're probably losing.  Freddy returns to Christine and she asks him when he's going to kill her, he starts playing his organ tells her it will either be a funeral march or a wedding song, it's her choice.  The inspector and Richard come across a door and break it down with a battering ram, Freddy moves away, but is poised to attack. 

Freddy grabs Christine from behind, holding a knife to her, Richard shoots the knife away, and in the ensuing scuffle, Christine is tossed to the side.  Rchard and Freddy struggle, the inspector is unable to get a clean shot and is pushed down some stairs.  Richard starts chocking Freddy, but his back is against some candles and his clothes catch fire, then Freddy stabs him with a candle holder and throws him off the side. 

Christine pushes over a candle holder at Freddy, which causes several things to catch fire, he tells her that he told her she would never leave and she picks up Richard's gun.  He tells her that only love and music are forever and holds out his hand to her, so she shoots him.  He grabs her and pulls her towards him, but the inspector comes to and shoots Freddy three times, causing him to pull the ring from Christine's hand and fall back, she pushes another candle holder over and it smashes a mirror.  Freddy screams and calls for Christine. 

Then we see Christine is back in modern New York and the director asks if she's ok as american-Meg tries to wake her up.  Then, SUPRISE!

Guess who's here?!
Christine stirs and asks modern-Freddy who he is, he says he's a very relieved admirer, he thought they'd lost the star of their show for a minute there.  It turns out he's the producer and a major backer of the show, Christine says she doesn't understand, he tells her that the part is her unless she's changed her mind.  America-Meg says she wants it in writing and the director takes her off. 

Modern-Freddy takes Christine for a drink and asks her if she would like to join him in a small dinner he arranged for the other backers of the show.  He asks her to wait for him to change his clothes and then he will take her out for a night on the town and tells her to make herself at home. 

She sees he has lots of recording equipment around his apartment, we see modern-Freddy changing and looking quite pleased with his appearance, till he spots a bit of his skin is tearing, he opens up a fridge filled with latex Robert Englund heads and grabs a scalpel. 

I can't help but think this would have been a perfect place to end the movie, leave it really ambiguous, but implied that the phantom is finally getting Christine, but there's about ten minutes left, oh well. 

Christine finds some printed sheet music of Son Juan Triumphant and finds a floppy disc, also labelled Don Juan Triumphant and she sticks in it his computer, which begins playing the music.  Now if it were me, I would assume the guy found the music, years ago, like she did, in the music library and simply made a copy.  Yes, at times I'm paranoid as hell, but she immediately starts freaking out about it and not even me, paranoid as anything, would freak out this much, as she doesn't remember the dream/big flashback.

Modern-Freddy comes down the stairs as Christine tries to get the music to stop playing, he asks her how she likes it, he says love, music, they're forever and he knew they'd find each other eventually.  She says, "you're him, aren't you?"  He asks if she expected someone else and kisses her, and tells her it's just a matter of what she chooses, love or music.  She strokes his face gently and pulls him in for a kiss, then decides to pull his face right off.

Listen, pet, if Freddy decides he quite fancies you and he's going to be nice about it and make you a big star and let you survive with your intestines inside your body, you say, "Thank you very much, Mr Krueger and can I get you a cup of tea whilst I'm up?" 

He tells her that he has waited a very long time for her to come back to him and they had a bargain that they would stay together forever.  She picks up a weapon and stabs him in the chest, then takes the floppy disc and sheet music, just to add insult to mortal injury.  She runs away into the night then rips up his music and throws it into a drain with the disc and we hear Freddy scream "NO!"  We see Christine walking down the street and a street performer is playing the music for the Nostalgia Critic's Bum Reviews, on a violin (I can't unassociate that music now, ever.)  Christine gives the street performer some money and turns back looking at him for a moment, then walks away.  End of movie.


Yes, it's an obvious attempt to cash in on the Freddy Krueger brand, but it's actually quite a good movie.  Well, Robert Englund is quite good, I'd go so far as to say that he's pretty much excellent throughout and I really feel for his version of the phantom. 

I still think that the movie would have been better leaving it on a point in which the phantom wins, rather than having Christine reject him yet again. 

It's not a musical version of Phantom, but it would have been nice if the singing there was, was at a higher standard.  One could argue that Christine just wasn't as good to everyone else as she is in the Phantom's mind, but that's what you're going for then show that, or just hire a better singer. 

Can't really fault the effects, they were pretty good throughout the movie, the plot was the standard plot for Phantom, though I did think that missing out the big chandelier scene probably let the movie down somewhat.  That being said, however, it feels a lot more faithful, at least in spirit, to the original novel, the Faustian element is very present through out and it's more macabre approach is a lot more entertaining than the romanticised version in the musical. 

If I could have this movie with a better Christine then I would declare it the best version of Phantom I've seen, however because she's a main character and the actress just doesn't seem to get Christine, she just seems very contrary, I can't really give it a pass on that issue.

7 out of 10


  1. I just watched this movie and I never seen the original or any other versions though. It was entertaining throughout! The plot was good.

  2. one this movie has that really carries it is a kick ass original score by Misha Segal....i love this score....

  3. Saw this when it first came out, may have seen it a few times since, and finally re-watched it again tonight. I'm a huge Phantom fan and have been for years, and having seen (I'm pretty sure) every version out there in English, I have to agree. Despite the slasher bent and the whole Faustian deal with the devil, in many ways this is one of the most faithful versions out there. I think the only ones more faithful to the original novel were the Lon Chaney one, which, although of course a simplified version, only really takes a major departure with the chase scene at the end (and even that was a re-do of the first ending, which *was* faithful to the book, but which test audiences at the time didn't appreciate, wanting to see the Phantom get his comeuppance and thereby completely missing the point of the whole thing, the gits)-- and also the animated one, which while terribly, terribly faithful, is also, to my mind, one of the worst versions out there. The art is awful, absolutely dreadful, especially for an animated movie, being more along the lines of He-Man; and I found it to just be, well, soulless. Emotionally dead. For all that it's a pretty faithful adaptation (although not completely, but that's to be expected in a shift to a completely different medium, let alone one with a time limit of a few hours, tops), I found it emotionally empty. I just didn't give a damn about any of it.

    This one, in contrast, is not only engaging and well-filmed, it actually has some moments (most of the graveyard scene, some parts of the scenes with the two leads in his lair) which are surprisingly close to the novel.

    I must agree with you about the voices, though. It's a shame because of course Christine in the novel is a very talented singer, or rather, she has the *potential* to be a very talented singer, but after her father died she just gave up and went dead. But (and this is the point) under the Phantom's tutelage she comes alive again, and absolutely amazes everyone when she finally has the chance to sing the lead. And-- I just don't buy that here. And I think it doesn't help that while her voice isn't *bad*, it's not trained for the opera she's singing. She'd do better with the Yeston & Kopit musical version. She has a decent voice for musicals, but opera is to musicals what ballet is to gymnastics. They're both physical in kind of a similar way and take years of training; but in the end they *are* completely different disciplines and one can't translate easily from one to the other. I personally would have preferred that if they couldn't find an actress who *could* sing "Faust" properly, that they at least take the route of the Charles Dance miniseries and dub her over. Wish they'd done that for the 2004 version too.

    But it was well done, nicely filmed, and the effects do hold up well. Also the music was very good and so were the costumes, which was a real relief, I must say! You wouldn't believe how wrong some historical pieces get clothing, and for a show that takes place around the time the bloody camera was becoming common, and for which we have so much clothing documentation, it's inexcusable. Especially when they screw up the men's clothing. For heaven's sake, it's hardly changed at all! It wouldn't take that much effort to get it right. If you want a laugh take a look at "Phantom X", which has clothing three bloody centuries out of date, dressing its actors as though the French Revolution hadn't yet taken place. But then, it's an extremely low-budget porno; I'm sure that was the only "old-fashioned" clothing the costume store down the block had in. But I digress.

    I really like this movie. And I though Robert Englund did an excellent job with it, showing a subtlety that I wouldn't have expected from a slasher actor. It's a shame that the planned sequel never happened! That would have been cool.

  4. The song the guy played at the end was Don Juan Triumphant. He was the phantom. He is still alive because of the sheets in the library she found in the beginning of the film.

  5. I like your review, it's nice and detail and I also quite like the movie. But it's kinda funny when you said that the singing is not opera enough because as far as I know, the singer who dubbed Christine IS an opera singer, and the song Christine performed on the stage (the French one) is a real opera song from 'Faust' which IS a real opera and Faust was the opera played in the original Phantom novel. The only original song in this movie is the beautiful Don Juan Triumphant.

    The Angel of Music or any songs from ALW's musical stage of Phantom is musical, not opera. And none of actresses who played Christine (include the movie) are opera singer, they are pop singers who try to make their voice sound operatic but will never make to real opera stage because they can't fill opera house without any microphones. And their technique are poor and burden their vocal chords so much which is not healthy, that's why popera singer's voice like Sarah Brightman and Charlotte Church become thinner and weaker as they get older.

    Maybe you like ALW's Phantom songs because they are popera, which easier to wider audience's era than real opera. But I agree, the singer who dubbed Christine is not the best candidate for Christine, her voice is nice but I knew opera singers who will be better Christine. But I guess it's all about budget.

    And sorry for my English, English is not my first language. Cheers for you and your good review.

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