Blu-ray Review: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1989)

PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Phantom of the Opera

REVIEW: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1989) / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DWIGHT H. LITTLE / SCREENPLAY: DUKE SANDEFUR / STARRING: ROBERT ENGLUND, JILL SCHOELEN, ALEX HYDE-WHITE, BILL NIGHY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

The oft-filmed Gaston Leroux novel, tarnished by the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, gets a full-blooded makeover thanks to this forgotten late '80s version.

In a deviation from the original story, Erik Destler (Englund) is a composer, so obsessed with having his work heard forever that he strikes a deal with the Devil. Unfortunately, the price for this pact is he is horribly mutilated, forcing him to live in the shadows, deep under a Victorian London opera house. He becomes infatuated with a young understudy, Christine (Schoelen), tutoring her (unseen through a dressing room mirror) and doing everything he can for her to land the lead role in the latest production of Faust. Be this killing off the leading lady, critics, stage hands or anyone else who gets in the way.

Despite lapsing into slasher territory at times, this is actually a rather sincere re-tread of the classic text. Sure, some elements have been changed and there are few 'Freddy-esque' quips from Englund early on, but for the most part it works well. Erik's scarred face is often hidden under layers of grafted human skin, a procedure he does himself in sickening close-up. Wearing this skin-mask he almost resembles a psychotic Barry Manilow, but don't worry, that's not the only horror to be found here. The murders are suitably gory, albeit very brief. The film is bookended in modern-day New York, when aspiring singer Christine discovers the ragged pages of Erik's score, before being knocked unconscious by a falling sandbag at an audition. We can assume what follows is a dream of sorts, but the transition is not too jarring, even taking into account some dodgy English accents (they must be easier than trying to do French, as the original story takes place in Paris).

Accents aside, the acting's solid, and it's lavishly directed by Little (who recently helmed an episode of From Dusk till Dawn: The Series), providing adequate tension and some creepy atmosphere in the dank sewers and underground labyrinth of Erik's home.

This newly-released Blu-ray looks fine, if not spectacular, but certainly better than all previous formats, but is a bare-bones disc.

Extras: None


Suggested Articles:
In The Perfect Insider a programming genius is murdered in a locked room in her research base. Visit
Jamil Dehlavi’s Jinnah documents the trials and tribulations of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the man
With a tagline reading ‘Lies eventually catch up’, Malcolm Deegan’s sole feature outing as wri
The success of Easy Rider in 1969 took everyone by surprise and after it, the big studios scrambled
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE PERFECT INSIDER - COMPLETE SEASON COLLECTION 03 December 2016

JINNAH (1998) 02 December 2016

FRACTIONAL 02 December 2016

THE HIRED HAND (1971) 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 4 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 3 02 December 2016

STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT 02 December 2016

GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN 29 November 2016

AKIRA: THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION 29 November 2016

ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS 29 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
...