I love Phantom of a Paradise as only someone from Winnipeg could. Although it was a massive stiff in most of North America when it first came out in 1974 (Winnipeg excepted, of course), it’s now enjoying something of a critical reassessment and revival. Even the New York Times is writing about it!
Quick, name a movie from the 1970s that’s full of bawdy rock tunes, cartoon gore and camp humor, one that offers a big flirty wink at its knowing devotees and just feels more appropriate when screened at midnight?
If you said the 1975 cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” you would not be wrong. But if you guessed “Phantom of the Paradise,” Brian De Palma’s 1974 satire of the music business, you’d be correct as well these days.
Despite a promising early review in Variety, “Phantom” was initially a disappointment at the box office. The film has in recent years been championed by younger directors including Guillermo del Toro and Edgar Wright (who hosted a screening in Los Angeles last month), celebrated by fans at two Phantompalooza conventions and embraced by musicians who relish its comic-book style, sophisticated score (by Paul Williams, who also co-stars as a devious impresario named Swan) and gimlet-eyed view of their industry.
Keep reading–and yes, the article mentions the Phantom/Winnipeg phenomenon. If you’ve never seen the film, you owe it to yourself.