I don’t like musicals. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I hate musicals. Even that one that you think I should see because it just might change my mind, no, I probably hate it. I couldn’t understand why everybody flipped over Repo. I watched it and wanted to turn it off the entire time. I never watched Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd, I didn’t even bother watching Devil’s Carnival. The extent of my enjoyment of the musical ends in things like South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Cannibal the Musical, The Wall, and that’s pretty much it. When I saw that Scream Factory were releasing Phantom of the Paradise, I had mixed emotions. I love Scream, so naturally I want to support one of their releases, and I love De Palma, so of course I want to see one of his films that I’ve never seen, but a musical? Well, guess what, I loved Phantom of the Paradise. Perhaps it is my adoration for De Palma, and this is definitely a De Palma film before anything else, or perhaps its the way that it sort of satirizes the musical while existing as one. Whatever the case may be, I went into the film with much apprehension, and worrying that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the end, and ended up glued to the screen, and even sat and watched the extras before I got up to do my nightly routine. Phantom of the Paradise is the musical-hater’s musical.
“Very Funny… a spectacular celebration of horror movie nostalgia.”
– The Hollywood Reporter
Phantom Of The Paradise is a ground-breaking cult film favorite from acclaimed writer/director Brian De Palma (Carrie, Dressed To Kill).
Paul Williams wrote the acclaimed score for this musical horror classic, and stars as an evil record tycoon haunted and taunted by the disfigured composer Winslow Leach (William Finley, Sisters) he once wronged. Cheered by the Los Angeles Times as a “delightful, outrageous…visual triumph,” and also starring Jessica Harper (Suspiria, Shock Treatment) and Gerrit Graham (Used Cars, Terrorvision), this hilarious send-up of the glam rock era is pure entertainment from beginning to end.”
Browse more frighteningly fun Scream Factory releases!
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise is phenomenal. Arrow released a Blu-ray of Phantom in the UK, and from what I understand, this release is sourced from the same master, though tweaked in a way that makes it the superior release between the two. Based solely on what I’ve been told by people that have seen the Arrow release, as well as screenshots from Blu-ray.com, it appears that the color timing was tweaked, so that it is considerably brighter at times, but also retains a cooler look as well. If you have the Arrow disc, I’m sure it is fine, but if you do not, Scream Factory is a slightly better representation of the film. If you ignore for a moment the aspects of this picture that are dated, such as the wardrobe, the technology of the recording studios and things like that, this looks like a movie that could have been filmed yesterday.
When speaking of musicals, one of the most important parts of a Blu-ray presentation is the sound quality, and Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Phantom of the Paradise handles this department quite well. You have multiple options when setting up your viewing experience, including DTS-HD MA tracks in both 2.0, as well as a 5.1 stereo mix. A quick switch in between the two revealed to me that the 5.1 mix is the way to go. The scope of the music is captured so much better in the surround track. It sounds bigger, better, louder and clearer than its 2.0 counterpart. That’s not to take anything away from the 2.0 track, as it is quite impressive as well, it’s just that, if you’re watching a musical, you want the music in the film to feel as “big” as humanly possible, and the 5.1 track does this in a much better way than the 2.0 track.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Phantom of the Paradise is quite possibly the most loaded release from them yet. They had to pack in an extra DVD to even include all of them. There are a ton of new interviews, some archive footage, outtakes, TV and radio spots, a new audio commentary, and much more. The sheer volume of special features included with this release is justification for the asking price alone. I’ll list them all below, but you should know when you go into a Scream Factory release that there will be a few extras that aren’t listed on either the package, or in the PR. I don’t know if they do this to give us a little surprise when we’re browsing the discs, or what, but it is always a nice surprise to learn that there are even more special features than originally thought. You could spend hours going through the extras alone. This is quite an impressive release from Scream Factory, and even more impressive that they were able to not only get me to sit down and watch a musical, but walk away loving it. If you’re like me, and you have a disdain for the genre, give Phantom of the Paradise a chance. Your experience will probably mirror mine, in that you will be shocked yourself by how much you enjoy the show.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise is now available to purchase. Click here to buy a copy for yourself.
DISC ONE (BLU-RAY):
- NEW Audio Commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong aka Peter Eibling)
- NEW Audio Commentary with Production Designer Jack Fisk
- NEW Interview with director Brian DePalma (36 minutes)
- NEW Interview with Paul Williams talking about the music of PHANTOM (30 minutes)
- NEW Interview with Make-up Effects wizard Tom Burman discussing the Phantom Helmet
- Alternate Takes (40 minutes)
- Swan Song Outtake Footage (10 minutes)DISC TWO (DVD):
- Paradise Regained – documentary on the making of the film featuring director Brian DePalma, Producer Edward R. Pressman, William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and more… (50 minutes)
- Interview with Paul Williams moderated by Guillermo Del Toro (72 minutes)
- Interview with costume designer Rosanna Norton (10 minutes)
- NEW Interview with producer Edward R. Pressman (15 minutes)
- NEW Interview with drummer Gary Mallaber (15 minutes)
- NEW Alvin’s Art and Technique – a look at the neon poster (15 minutes)
- NEW Phantom of the Paradise Biography by Gerrit Graham – 1974 Publicity Sheet written by and read by Graham (8 minutes)
- Radio Spots
- TV Spots
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery