The Phantom of the Opera (1989) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, Alex Hyde-White
Rated: UR/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
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 and won’t stop until he’s completed his masterpiece… in blood!
Phantom of the Opera must be a bit of a slippery slop. We’ve seen Dario Argento turn in his nearly unwatchable version of it and here we have the 1989 version from the same dude who directed Halloween 4 (I did like Halloween 4 btw). What an odd one this one really turns out to be. Here, we have Robert Englund not playing Freddy, but he’s still dropping one liners before dropping bodies. He’s not Freddy, but his face is still deformed and when we see how deformed it is, I got to admit that it sorta reminds me of Freddy. I mean, look, take a peek at the cover and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Freddy? They can say what they will, but the fact that the man who is famous for being Freddy is here playing another funny slasher-ish character seems to be the full-on selling point. I don’t know if that works, or if everything this film wanted to work even works in general, but it was something to see. It was certainly a more edgy and dark Phantom. Is it the best version of Phantom? Well, probably not, but I at least place it above the before mentioned Argento Phantom. It might take a class in horror 101 for me to go into great detail of why this one shows its age, but you can’t deny while watching that we’ve been witness to a late 80s horror film. That is both good and bad if you add the reasons all up. I’m just not 100% sure witch side the final foot falls on Phantom of the Opera.
First off we have Jill Schoelen in our leading role. She’s no stranger to horror and she can act, but my goodness this character is not at all what you’d call a strong lead and I hope female defendants are a bit upset with the character. She doesn’t do much more than sing and look concerned. I don’t buy the Phantom having any real control over her, so she comes across as a doey-eye’d zombie of sorts just being lead through the situation. That is probably the scripts fault, but she waits way to late to become of any use. That also brings the film down as a whole. Robert Englund is great, but he’s only really great when he has a great leading lady to play off of. This chemistry between these two is about as strong as the chemistry between me and my 10th grade math teacher, meaning its pretty none-existent. Now, now, I will admit the gore is good and is our sunshine on a cloudy day easily in The Phantom of the Opera, 1989 version. Without that it would not have remained as watchable as it does. Gore is good and so is Robert Englund as the “soo soo trying soo hard not to be Freddy” Phantom. Everything else seems to be a bit more miss than hit, but you can’t win them all, folks! At least this one isn’t a total loss. There is at least some things to be salvaged in this late 80s version of a cinematic house fire.
– Audio Commentary with Director Dwight H. Little and actor Robert Englund
– Behind The Mask: The Making of “The Phantom Of The Opera”, featuring new interviews with Director Dwight H. Little, actors Robert Englund, Jill Schoelen, and Alex Hyde-White, Screenwriter Duke Sandefur, Special Make-Up Designer Kevin Yagher, Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler, Everett Burrell and John Vulich, and Composer Misha Segal
– Theatrical Trailer
– TV Spot
– Radio Spots
– Still Gallery
Quality of Transfer: 93%