The Phantom of the Opera Blu-ray
Director: Dwight H. Little
Screenwriter: Gerry O’Hara, Duke Sandefur
Cast: Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, Alex Hyde-White, Bill Nighy Scream Factory
Rated R | 93 Minutes
Release Date: February 17, 2015
The Phantom of the Opera: The Motion Picture stars Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) as The Phantom in a grisly, gruesome retelling of Gaston Leroux’s timeless tale of music, madness, and murder.
In the movie, an aspiring opera singer finds herself transported back to Victorian-era London – and into the arms of a reclusive, disfigured maestro determined to make her a star. The silver-throated Christine (Jill Schoelen, The Stepfather) enjoys success through the arrangements of her new lover (Englund) until she realizes that he has been committing unspeakably grisly murders in her honor. Now The Phantom won’t stop until he’s completed his masterpiece in blood!
Also starring Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead, Underworld), Alex Hyde-White (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Terence Harvey (From Hell), and Molly Shannon (Saturday Night Live, Superstar), The Phantom of the Opera is directed by Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers) and features make-up effects by Kevin Yagher (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge).
When I first heard that 1989’s The Phantom of the Opera: The Motion Picture was getting a Blu-ray release from Scream Factory, my reaction was that of bewilderment: “There’s an ’80s slasher-style adaptation of ThePhantom of the Opera? And it stars Robert Englund!?” As a huge fan of Freddy Krueger and the Nightmare on Elm Street series, I can’t believe I missed this film – especially since it was released the same year as A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child!
Little’s film is an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of the Freddy Krueger brand, and who can blame him really? In the late ’80s, Krueger was the hottest thing going. A successful series of low-budget horror films led to a television series, video game, and tons of toys, games, and other assorted merchandise. Even the poster for this film states, “Robert Englund was Freddy… Now he’s the Phantom of the Opera!” And the tagline? “An all new nightmare!” C’mon, guys!
What’s most interesting about this adaptation is the way the story shifts between time periods. In ’80s New York, Christine comes across a 100-year-old piece of music by an unknown musician named Erik Destler. Destler (Englund) made a pact with the devil so the world would love his music. The catch was Erik’s face would be left horribly disfigured burned forever. When Christine sings his music for an audition, she is hit with a sandbag and transported to 1881, where she is a singer in the London Opera House. There, she meets the mysterious Phantom, who will do anything to make his protégé a star.
Is it a flashback, a dream, or is Christine’s consciousness traveling through time? It isn’t fully explained, but apparently reading some 100-year-old devil-pact music will do some crazy things to you. She eventually awakens back to present-day Manhattan where she meets the opera’s producer, Mr. Foster. Foster is, of course, Destler – an immortal phantom who has a special lab where he makes synthetic skin-masks to cover his Freddy face.
As far as adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera go, this one’s pretty gnarly – even if it is a Victorian take on A Nightmare on Elm Street. Englund gleefully chews the scenery and carves up mayhem as The Phantom; his performance is easily the most interesting thing in this film.
Little’s film comes to Blu-ray in an outstanding 1.85:1, 1080p transfer with a nice amount of grain. In addition to making this forgotten film look brand new, Scream Factory uncovers the obscured audio elements with a Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio track. This is without a doubt the best this film has ever looked or sounded – and the transfer really elevates the film’s production and sound design.
The Phantom of the Opera is now available on Blu-ray at Amazon. Check out the list of bonus features, as well as videos and a trailer from the release, below:
* Audio Commentary With Dwight H. Little and Robert Englund
* Behind The Mask: The Making Of “The Phantom Of The Opera,” with new interviews from Dwight H. Little, Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, and more!
* Theatrical Trailer
* TV Spot
* Radio Spots
* Still Gallery