The Phantom of the Opera (1989)
the phantom of the opera | remake | dwight h. little | duke sandefur | robert englund | jill schoelen | alex hyde-white | slasher | drama | music | romance | united states | united kingdom | hungary | bill nighy | molly shannon | terence harvey | stephanie lawrence
Film: The Phantom of the Opera
Director: Dwight H. Little
Writer: Duke Sandefur
Starring: Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen and Alex Hyde-White
When I first learned of this film, I was quite intrigued and decided to check it out. I was seeking every version available on film of The Phantom of the Opera. The synopsis for this version is a young soprano becomes the obsession of a horribly disfigured composer, who has plans for those who opposed him or the singer.
I have watched quite a few versions of this tale. This one is interesting to me, much like Phantom of the Paradise, is that the play they performing is Faust. That is exactly what The Phantom (Robert Englund) in this film did, is he sold his soul to the devil to be famous for his music. He also wants Christine Day (Jill Schoelen) to do the same so that they can be together forever.
Now I did have some issues with this film. The first being I wasn’t a huge fan of Christine being knocked out. I get that it is needed for her to see the past as that was the last thing she was interested in. It also doesn’t ruin the film for me, but I found it odd that her character in the present and the past would have the same name. I guess it is completely possible, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of that. I was also confused as to if The Phantom has super-human strength or not. I feel that at times horror films lose sight of the realism when it comes to this. There is a time when The Phantom cuts a man’s head off with a knife in a matter of seconds, but then he shoves Christine a little bit later and she barely goes a few feet. I don’t think these like things are thought through, but it is something that catches to me.
I thought the acting for this film was pretty solid across the board. It was interesting, because Englund does play The Phantom very similar to how he played Freddy Kruger, his most iconic role. This film is also interesting in how The Phantom needs to be killed, because it does tie back in for the ending, which I didn’t mind. I’m a big fan of Schoelen. I’ve only seen a few films that she has been in, but her role in all of them have been good. I liked seeing Bill Nighy in the film as Martin Barton. I’m a big Nighy fan and it is nice to see him in a younger role. It is also funny to see Molly Shannon in her feature film debut. The rest of the cast I thought was fine for what they needed.
The effects of the film were pretty good as well. It is coming out of the era where the effects started to go downhill, but this one doesn’t fall into that. I liked that this version of the film decided to go closer to a slasher. There is quite a bit of blood and gore. It does seem to be done practical and I thought it looked good.
The score for this film was okay. It really doesn’t stand out to me and compared to other versions of this film. It’s not bad, but definitely not one of the better ones either. It does fit the film for what they needed.
Now with that said, this is a decent version of this story. The cast is actually really solid for this film, especially since I feel this is a lesser known version. It is fun to see Englund turn Freddy into The Phantom for this film. I also love the parallel of the story to the play they are showing. That is very well thought out. This film does come with its issues for me, like the going into the past even if she doesn’t realize it or the inconsistent strength of The Phantom. There are better versions of this film, but this is definitely one of the more violent and gory ones with less concern with the play aspect of the film. Keep that in mind when deciding to view this one, which I recommend if you want to see all versions. Other than that, I felt it was a very average film.
My Rating: 5 out of 10