Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Christine Day is a young singer in New York City, whilst auditioning for a part in a show performing a previously unknown piece of opera there is an accident and she is transported to Victorian London.  
Being the understudy to a legendary diva, Christine is mysteriously coached in her singing by a shadowy figure with a softly spoken voice.  That figure is Erik, a composer who has sold his soul to the devil and lives below the London Opera House.  Erik is in love with Christine and will defend her honour even if it means killing in gruesome ways.  Soon Erik kidnaps Christine and her fiancee Richard with assorted London coppers tail Erik to his rat infested lair.  
With Freddy Krueger mania running riot across the world, ex-Cannon Films honcho Menahem Golan signed Robert Englund to remake Phantom which at the time Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version was packing them in at theatres.  Englund plays Erik at first a delicate articulated soul with a side order of sadism (he likes to stalk people and make them suffer) and then about the hour mark, he goes into Freddy mode.  The make up effects from Kevin Yagher are excellent with the Phantom unmasking particularly grisly and there is lots of blood for the gorehounds which seriously pushes a ’15’ rating.
Supporting cast wise we have Alex Hyde-White and the legendary Bill Nighy cropping up as one of the theatre owners.  Christine is played by the beautiful Jill Schoelen who made quite a name for herself in the 80’s with The Stepfather and Cutting Class amongst her credits. She does well opposite Englund and her lip-synching (for the opera) is not bad either.
I personally really enjoyed this picture.  It was the first time I had seen it and its a shame the proposed sequel never was made. Apparently a script is out there somewhere, I for one would love to read it.  It’s very well made by director, Dwight Little and has a lovely gothic atmosphere.  It can’t hold a candle (Phantom joke) to the older versions but it is great horror entertainment and better than the Argento travesty (sorry Dario). 
One last thing for fans of pop culture, this film was the first ever cover for The Dark Side Magazine.
  • Starring Robert Englund  Jill Schoelen  Bill Nighy  Alex Hyde-White
  • Director Dwight H. Little
  • Distributor 101 Films