So, the insanity of the poster above just scratches the surface of the excellent weirdo factor of Brian DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise (1974). In the midst of my Paul Williams kick a couple weeks ago I put this movie on my queue, and it was pretty mind blowing. The story goes like this …
Swan, played by Paul Williams, is the ultimate super villain record producer and owner of Death Records; he is so evil, and so into his badass behavior that he actually sold his soul to the devil in order to never become old. In his attempts at pop world domination, Swan decides to open The Paradise, a venue that will offer the greatest in rock-horror-drama entertainment.
While looking for a fresh new face and sound to open the theatre with, Swan hears a Faustian cantata composed by super nerd Winslow Leach (William Finley). The villain steals the music and has the musician framed, arrested, and sent to Sing Sing where he has all his teeth pulled out and replaced by shiny silver fangs. Pretty gnarly.
And when Leach returns to have his revenge, he is disfigured even more, and becomes a total monster …
… so, he dons a mask that looks kind of like Hawkman from The Justice League and becomes the Phantom of the Paradise – an anti-hero whose soul purpose is to destroy Swan and his awesome new theatre.
There is also a girl named Phoenix, a few more deals with Satan, a bunch of music and dance numbers, Swan’s super evil security gang that look like bikers and wear pretty rad “death” patches, and a flamboyant rock star named Beef. In short, all sorts of amazingness that combine to create a pretty excellent and wholly entertaining movie.
Put it on the queue!