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The Phantom of the Paradise

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Posted 26th April 2009 at 11:22 AM by Sam@Cult Labs

The Phantom of the Paradise

Carrie director Brian De Palma turns in a truly bizarre 70s oddity from the decade when studios were green lighting all sort of wacky projects.

A recording mogul, the diminutive Swan, makes a deadly enemy when he steals some music from Leach, an aspiring songwriter, to use at the launch of his new rock venue/palace of dreams, The Paradise.

Leach is a sensitive singer-songwriter type in the typical early seventies mode, when the moody and plaintive introspection of stars like James Taylor or Carol King ruled the FM airwaves. He is the polar opposite of the glam and glitz of the mainstream product being churned out by the shadowy Death Records label.

Leach tries to get vengeance, only to wind up facially disfigured in an unlikely record pressing plant accident. Leach dons a metal bird mask and becomes 'The Phantom', a thorn in the Swan's side who tries to force him to perform his music properly.

The film effortlessly combines the excesses of the era in all it's glitter rock pomp with the cinematic eye candy that De Palma specialized in. This is no work of filmmaking reality, it's a big, horrific cartoon of a picture that sums up his early work with aplomb. Scarface and Carrie might get all the praise, but films like the one and The Fury are just as good.

A true one off, this is "Phantom of the Opera" mixed with classic horror tributes and a dose of 70s glam rock attitude. Great music, wild acting and a daft premise make this a must have 70s cult classic.
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