Firstly I should explain my history with this classic movie. I have always been a huge fan of the films of Brian De Palma, they are dark and grainy and emotional and he is one of the greatest directors that Hollywood has ever given us. Yet I had never seen his masterwork. I read a lot about Phantom Of The Paradise in the movie anthologies that I used to collect as a kid but the first time I saw it was thanks to my friend Simon Cann who had it on DVD. It terrified me, to the point that I could not watch it past the 30 minute mark. And that night had the worst nightmares of my life. You are probably laughing and thinking ‘Bless him’ as if I was a kid, but no, this was in my late twenties. Something about the Phantom really disturbed me. I finally watched the whole thing the following week, but to be honest I don’t remember a lot of it thanks to the continuing horror.
I can happily report that I am no longer scared of the Phantom, although the scene where he ‘sings’ with a broken screech still makes me uncomfortable. And the scene where they brick him into his music room. Aside from that, this is merely one of the best Blu collections out there. Arrow Video has once again put together a storming package for one of the biggest cult films ever.
The film itself looks great and the sound is storming, Paul Williams classic soundtrack has never felt so rock and so magical. But what of the extras? Wow, they rock as much as the main feature.
Paradise Regained is a fifty minute journey into the making of the film and rare for this type of thing, it features ALL of the main players, Phantom, Swann, The Juicy Fruits and De Palma himself. Excellent doc.
What could be better? Well how about a 85 minute discussion between Williams and fantasy icon Del Toro? Fascinating. Did you know that Williams wrote Rainbow Connection for Kermit? Or the songs for Muppet Xmas Carol? Or the music for Ishtar? Or Streisand calling him to add a song to A Star Is Born? Astounding interview between two icons.
The Swan Song Fiasco follows the tale of Peter Grant stepping in to stop the record company being called Swan Song after he copyrighted the same for his work with Zep. You see the work that had to be done to delete the references and side by side visions of the original and the edited work. Fascinating.
Add to this interviews with the costume designer and alternate takes as well as an interesting booklet with writings on the film and you have a great package of a great movie. Just watch out for those nightmares!