Now there’s a documentary exploring why Winnipeg is so hung up on a cult music movie.

As someone who spent his first 23 years in Winnipeg, I can speak with plenty of authority about the city’s nearly 50-year fascination with a Brian De Palma movie that has been forgotten by most of the world.

Phantom of the Paradise, a cheesy-yet-fun rock adaptation of the story of Phantom of the Opera, has had the good citizens of The Peg in its thrall since it opened in theatres in 1974.

While it was a rare box office flop for De Palma, the movie lives on. Hey, my sister was in a PotP tribute band until just recently.

I once told Paul Williams, the uber-composer of hits for everyone from The Carpenters to the Mupplets, that I will never forgive him for what his character did to poor Winslow Leach. He looked up at me (the man is barely 5 feet tall) and said: “Why?” When I told him I was from Winnipeg, he said, “Oh. That explains it.”

Why the never-ending fascination with this movie? That’s the goal of a new documentary, Phantom of Winnipeg. It will premiere at Fantasia in Montreal on July 12 with Williams and producer Ed Pressman in attendance.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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