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Monday, June 22, 2015
COLIN CAMERON HAS DIED
PORTRAYED ONSCREEN BASS PLAYER FOR HOUSE BAND IN 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'
Colin Cameron, who portrayed the onscreen bass player for the ever-evolving house band in Phantom Of The Paradise, has passed away after a long illness. He was 73. Cameron was a member of Paul Williams' band in the 1970s, which is how he and others in Williams' band found themselves pretending to play their instruments as part of the Juicy Fruits and the Beach Bums in Phantom. While several of the other musicians did play on the Phantom soundtrack, Cameron actually did not. Even so, Cameron was a highly-respected fluent bass player who you can hear playing bass on the Williams-penned songs in The Muppet Movie, and who played on soundtracks and records by Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Cher, Tina Turner, Kris Kristofferson, Del Shannon, Olivia Newton-John, and many many others. Over at The Swan Archives, the Principal Archivist writes of Cameron, "We're glad he was able to make it to the 40th Anniversary screening of Phantom at the Cinerama Dome last year, giving a lot of Phantom fans the opportunity to meet him."

Posted by Geoff at 12:03 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015
STEPHEN ROMANO IMAGINES 'PHANTOM' SEQUEL
POSTER IS FINAL IN 'RETRO 13' SERIES, PRESENTING UNIQUE TAKES ON GENRE FILMS

The above poster by Stephen Romano imagines an R-rated sequel to Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. This is the 13th poster in Romano's "RETRO 13" series. "You’re going to see thirteen all-new movie posters," Romano wrote on Dread Central last March, "done in the exact style of the eras they represent, complete with fold marks and aging, and it will be the MOST authentic series like this ever created."

Here is Romano's introduction/description of the new poster from Dread Central:

This week we come to the end of RETRO 13. Yep, this is NUMBER 13, kids. And what could be finer for our climax than the resurrection of horror’s most beloved Faustian rock star and king of 1970s camp? I’ve saved one of my very favorites for last, and that’s The Phantom of the Paradise Must Die! An epic tale of lust and revenge, music and madness, with all of your favorite characters from the original back from the dead and ready to party in the ultimate rock show from beyond the gates of hell!

The die-hards among you already know there was never a 1979 sequel to Phantom of the Paradise, but wouldn’t it have been damn cool if there had been? I can see it all now: legendary genre director Brian De Palma (desperate for a hit) and legendary songwriter/actor Paul Williams (stoned out of his mind)—collaborating one more time on a film that never would have been made in the real world. In our bizarro universe of infinite possibilities, the fat cats at 20th Century Fox somehow miss the fact that the original film made exactly nothing and failed with every citric in America who saw it. They also approve a ridiculously whopping EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR budget and pump every available resource into getting the sequel made (that was a bloody fortune in 1979; remember Star Wars only cost TEN MILLION a few years earlier) and then, of course, the film goes millions over budget, with fistfights and temper tantrums on set, affairs and lawsuits and drug binges on screen and off screen, as the film becomes the most controversial and talked-about Hollywood train wreck in recent memory. Finally, the results are unleashed on an unsuspecting public in the glorious summer of Alien and Phantasm and Mad Max. Is the film any good?

Well, fuck YES it is, people. It’s the sequel to Phantom of the Paradise.

Starting with a bang, the fallen Winslow Leach strikes a deal in hell with the Devil, played by John Lennon (in one of an unprecedented fifty-seven celebrity rock star cameos), and returns to Earth to haunt his one true love, Phoenix, played again by Jessica Harper—who has become the biggest rock star in history after the climactic events of the first film. Having only two weeks before his contract with hell expires, Winslow again becomes THE PHANTOM, wreaking a bloody vengeance on those who dare to cross Phoenix, including Beef, who was electrocuted in the first film and yet inexplicably has returned to Earth as a gay vampire. After a hilariously protracted battle, they all end up joining together to stage an epic rock opera production of Faust, which will open the gates of hell and bring about a “fiery apocalypse of music and mayhem.”

BUT WAIT!

The evil Swann (again played by Paul Williams) also returns to earth, motivated by greed and vanity, having made an even darker deal with the BIG GUY UPSTAIRS—with just 48 hours left on his contract. The war is waged on stage, in a musical finale pitting titan against titan. If Swann wins, he will rule the earth and regain his fame as the number one rock star in history. If the Phantom wins, the universe will fall into fire. And so THE PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE MUST DIE!

No other film in 1979 was as batshit crazy as this motherfucker.

And it’s our final film.

So please… if you are a fan of the RETRO 13, seek out the original Phantom of the Paradise and all the other movies I’ve championed here. They are some of my favorite films and some of the best ever made in our beloved genres. I’ve had great fun with this series and hope to return one day with a sequel of my own. Perhaps RETRO 13 PART 2? Anything is possible in a bizarro universe of infinite possibilities. So keep your eyes peeled. We may not be quite done yet, kids.

Moo-hoo-hah-hah…


Posted by Geoff at 1:14 AM CDT
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015
PODCAST - 'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE'
TWO GUYS WATCH DE PALMA'S FILM - ONE OF THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME - AND DISCUSS

Posted by Geoff at 8:05 PM CDT
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Thursday, April 23, 2015
ALLISON CRUTCHFIELD COVERS 'PHANTOM' SONG
'FAUX REAL II' - REAL BANDS COVERING FICTIONAL BANDS, OUT NEXT WEEK ON VINYL
Allison Crutchfield, singer/guitarist of the band Swearin' (and twin sister of Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield), has recorded a cover of the Paul Williams-written "Special To Me," the Phoenix audition song from Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The song appears on the compilation Faux Real II, which will be released on vinyl April 28, 2015, on Father/Daughter Records. The album, a sequel to last year's Record Store Day release Faux Real, features real-life bands covering songs by fictional ones-- songs written to be performed by characters from films, TV shows, cartoons, and so on. The cover of the album includes the credit, "Allison Crutchfield as Jessica Harper." You can listen to Crutchfield's version of the Phantom song on SoundCloud.

Crutchfield tells NME, "I first saw Phantom Of The Paradise at my dear friend Perry Shall's birthday. He'd organized a screening at his house because it's one of his favorites, and though I was wary to watch a movie I'd never heard of, I was immediately in love with everything about it. Every element is so nuanced and bizarre and oddly specific to this weird little scene that is ruled (and scored) flawlessly by Paul Williams. The song Phoenix sings in the audition scene is my favourite because it's literally her make-or-break moment and she handles it like a true badass singing a weird perfect pop song."

Posted by Geoff at 9:07 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015 9:11 PM CDT
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015
FREE 'PHANTOM' SCREENING TONIGHT IN OKC
DAMAGED VIEWING HOSTED BY OKC FILM CRITICS LOUIS FOWLER & PATRICK CRAIN


Tonight (Wednesday) at 7pm, DAMAGED Viewing presents a free screening of Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise, at The Paramount OKC in Oklahoma City. DAMAGED Viewing screenings are hosted by OKC film critics Louis Fowler and Patrick Crain. Their Facebook page description reads:

"DAMAGED Viewing, inspired by the absolute litany of Louis Fowler’s DAMAGED outings (DAMAGED Magazine, the DAMAGED Hearing radio show and the DAMAGED Viewing movie podcast), is a fun and funny live version of the absolutely insane world of trash and cult cinema, presented without pretension or prejudice.

"Hosted by Fowler and Patrick Crain, two cinema obsessives whose love of obscure film goes far beyond the realms of the silver screen and into the dumpster behind it, DV’s mission is to bring these classic (and not-so-classic) movies out of obscurity and present them, warts and all, for a public eager for something they’ve never seen before. DAMAGED Viewing explores a world of wild cinema that only the dark and dirtiest of us even knew existed."


Posted by Geoff at 12:44 AM CDT
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
AND THE 'PHANTOM' SCREENINGS CONTINUE
WILL SCREEN AT BFI THIS THURSDAY & SUNDAY
Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise will screen at 8:30pm this Thursday, February 12th, as well as 6:10pm Sunday, February 15th, at the BFI (British Film Institute). "As outlandish today as it was four decades ago," reads the BFI event description, "De Palma’s Faustian riff on The Phantom of the Opera is perhaps his most idiosyncratic work. When a brow-beaten composer has his cantata stolen by a demonic music tycoon, he’ll stop at nothing to see his music performed by the woman he loves. A musical phantasmagoria unlike anything you’ve ever seen."

FilmLand Empire's Laurent de Alberti posted today about the film and its BFI screening. "Looking back at the film all these years later," writes Alberti, "it is easy to see how Brian De Palma was crowned as one of the most promising and visionary directors of the era. There is an infectious exuberance to the film, right from the opening musical number, that does not let go right until the demented final.

"Phantom of the Paradise could well have represented a pyrrhic victory of style over substance, beating its audience into submission with all of its chromatic fireworks and brouhaha, yet there is a touching romance as its core...

"Of course the film is anchored in the 70's and wonderfully so, and yet it feels strangely timeless, as if it was already so over the top for the era it was made that it has transcended it. Flamboyant and frankly insane, Phantom of the Paradise is an absolute delight and a must-see for a cult fans."


Posted by Geoff at 12:16 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 6:14 PM CST
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Thursday, February 5, 2015
'PHANTOM' ALSO AT TARANTINO'S NEW BEVERLY
MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS FEB 14 & 21
Hold the phone-- after posting earlier today about two different theaters showing Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise in February (one in Wales, the other in Winnipeg), Matthew sends along word that the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, now owned and operated by Quentin Tarantino, will be screening Phantom at midnight shows on two consecutive Saturdays, February 14 and February 21. Looks like winter is the unofficial season for De Palma screenings everywhere.
(Thanks to Matthew!)

Posted by Geoff at 6:06 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 5, 2015 5:13 PM CST
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'PHANTOM' IN WALES SATURDAY & TUESDAY
AND BACK IN WINNIPEG FOR MOVIE NIGHT & GAME LOUNGE FEB 23, AT PARK THEATRE
Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise will screen at Chapter Film in Cardiff, Wales, this Saturday (Feb 7) at 8:15pm, and also Tuesday (Feb. 10) at 2:30pm. Each of the two screenings will feature an introduction by Chapter Wails, which means a lecture and discussion.

And on Monday, February 23rd, Phantom returns to Winnipeg for Movie Night & Game Lounge at the Park Theatre. From the website description: "The Movie Night and Game Lounge is a monthly film series at The Park Theatre. The concept is simple, we play favourite classic cult movies on our big screen. But the fun doesn't stop there, we begin the night by turning The Park Theatre lobby into a game lounge, with a full service bar, 9 beers on tap, and lots of room to get your game on. After that, grab your drinks and head into the theatre for the movie. There will also be a pop-up restaurant set up so you can feel free to skip supper and grab food when you get here!" The doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 9pm, and the entire event ends at 11pm.

Posted by Geoff at 12:37 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, February 5, 2015 12:43 AM CST
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Saturday, January 10, 2015
OSCARS TO HOST 'PHANTOM' SCREENING JAN 23
DOUBLE FEATURE WITH 'ALL THAT JAZZ' PART OF CONTEMPORARY COSTUMING THEME
On January 23rd, the Oscars will host a double feature with the title "Street Clothes: Contemporary Costuming in New Hollywood." The two movies that will make up the double feature are Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (at 7:30 pm, from DCP) and Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise (at 9:50 pm, in 35mm). The screenings will take place at the Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Oscars web page description of Phantom includes a sentence about the costumes:

"Writer-director Brian De Palma remade Gaston Leroux’s classic novel The Phantom of the Opera as a horror-rock musical that has remained one of his most visually dazzling movies. Winslow Leach (De Palma regular William Finley) is a talented but naïve songwriter whose ambitious rock version of Faust is stolen by Machiavellian music mogul Swan (Paul Williams, who also wrote the Oscar-nominated song score). Driven mad by a disfiguring accident, Winslow faces off against Swan for the love of beautiful young singer Phoenix (Jessica Harper), culminating in a thrilling finale that shows off De Palma’s pictorial and editorial mastery. A box office disappointment at the time of its release (except in Winnipeg), Phantom has been elevated to cult status, and Rosanna Norton’s imaginative and eye-popping costumes – a direct influence on Daft Punk’s leather-bound, helmet-clad aesthetic – help bridge the film’s wildly disparate genres."

Posted by Geoff at 11:36 AM CST
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014
'PHANTOM' EDITION OF 'THE UNLOVED'
SCOUT TAFOYA'S VIDEO SERIES EXPLORES OVERLOOKED GEMS THAT DESERVE A CLOSER LOOK

The Unloved - Phantom of the Paradise from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

Above is the twelfth edition of Scout Tafoya's video series, The Unloved (found at RogerEbert.com), which examines Brian De Palma's Phantom Of The Paradise. The series takes films that were received indifferently upon initial release and reveals the artistry that seemed to be overlooked in the critical and public dismissals of their time.

"Cult movies usually have to do something wrong in order to miss out on a first-run audience," Tafoya states in the video. "Idiosyncrasies and eccentricities pile up, and only a handful of people can see them as integral to the film's success as a crowd-pleasing oddity. In the case of Phantom Of The Paradise, the indifference that greeted it from critic and public alike seems much more baffling than its continued success in Winnipeg.

"It's easy to why Rocky Horror failed with mainstream audiences at first. It's entirely too pleased with itself, and features nothing in the way of sex or violence that audiences couldn't find in movies without self-conscious glam-rock all over the soundtrack. Phantom Of The Paradise had something to say, not to mention something to prove. Though it's rarely lumped in with many of its landmarks, the Phantom came out of the New Hollywood movement. By 1974, American artists were finally digging in and starting to take advantage of the creative autonomy offered by more adventurous studios. 1974 was a watershed year in particular, because it was when passion projects started flowing out of major studios. Directors were taking immense formal risks left and right, telling dark stories in daring ways, bowing to no one but their muse. There were huge successes, films that changed everything. And then there were films like Phantom Of The Paradise.

"Up until this point, Brian De Palma had been making bizarre little movies that mixed Godard and Hitchcock with abandon. Phantom Of The Paradise was his biggest film to date, and it remains his best. Perhaps sensing that he was the right man to make a crazed irreverent hash of classic literature, he grabbed his own pet influences to make a film that did for rock and roll what fellow enfant terrible Ken Russell had been doing for classical music."


Posted by Geoff at 12:11 AM CST
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