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Phantom of the Paradise


“They want more now. They want much more.”

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Join us in celebrating the fifty year anniversary of Brian De Palma's criminally underrated lavish glam-rock spectacle, Phantom of the Paradise. Machiavellian music producer Swan (Paul Williams) has made his fortune repackaging the hits of yesteryear for nostalgia-craving audiences, but when he hears the compositions of shy singer-songwriter Winslow Leach (William Finley) Swan realises it's just the fresh new sound he's been looking to steal. After being maimed in a nasty record-press accident Winslow loses the ability to sing, but Swan makes him an offer too good to refuse: simply sign a contract (in blood) and his music can live on in Swan's decadent new concert hall The Paradise, sung by the beautiful ingenue Phoenix (Jessica Harper, Suspiria). Sounds legit, what could possibly go wrong?

Why See This Film

It's Faust, it's Frankenstein, it's the Phantom of the Opera, it's the horror-rock-musical passion project that was a massive flop (everywhere except for Winnipeg, where it ran for 18 consecutive weeks) but has since become a solid gold cult classic. Paul Williams, the man behind a slew of Carpenters' hits and Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection", provided the incredibly catchy in-film songs, making this the rare rock musical that's actually listenable. Phantom of the Paradise may not have been a hit outside Canada, but it's De Palma at his most gleefully indulgent and has a legion of fans— influencing artists as diverse as Guillermo Del Toro, Daft Punk and Kentaro Miura.

Brian De Palma
William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham
92 minutes

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