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:
Forty years after it was broadcast in the ‘Drama Two’ slot on BBC 2, the acclaimed dystopian ser
As far as alluring film titles and lurid thrillers go, giallo films have always ruled the roost, and
Initially almost buried by the studio that bankrolled it, and subsequently reappraised to such exten
Nisekoi: False Love Season 2 starts with Chitoge mulling over her romantic feelings for Raku despite
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

1990 SERIES ONE 23 April 2017

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE 22 April 2017

PERFORMANCE 22 April 2017

NISEKOI SEASON 2 22 April 2017

THE HUNGER 22 April 2017

MIDNIGHT SUN 22 April 2017

ELSA: FRAULEIN SS (FRAULEIN DEVIL) 21 April 2017

SHERLOCK SERIES 4 20 April 2017

DRUNKEN MASTER 18 April 2017

THE CHUCK NORRIS COLLECTION 14 April 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner