Phantom of the Paradise
(1974, Dir. by Brian De Palma.)
Why It's Here:
Because no list is complete without a little music, right? Brian De Palma's rockin' take on two classic horror tales - The Phantom of the Opera and Faust, together again for the first time - isn't going to scare many viewers, but it's still got a devilish and macabre kick. Other De Palma horrors have more horrifying tones - Sisters and Carrie probably should have been on this list, but if I had to pick one DePalma horror that I enjoy the most I'd lean slightly to the Phantom.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
From the moment the Caligari inspired backdrop to the Paradise's stage is shown and "Somebody Super Like You" begins to play, the Phantom's quest for love and revenge hits top speed and never looks back. Also featuring the talents of Gerrit Graham's ridiculous Beef character, this sequence sets up the film's final thrills perfectly.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
I already mentioned the horror films that DePalma made around this, Sisters and Carrie, and it makes far too much sense to me to list them here. All three films are radically different in story, but they feature early DePalma at his crazy best. They also all have been Midnight Movie of the Week selections (Here's Sisters, Here's Carrie, and Here's Phantom) - and I'm still kind of debating with myself that they deserve this spot on this list too.
What It Means To Me:
DePalma's work has long been one of my strongest connections to the darkest side of cinema, with his always sinister and often perverse films always providing some dark thrills. I guess I'm giving Phantom the slight edge over his other films just because it's a bit more rewatchable and because I'm a sucker for "re-imaginings" of famous horror tales. Phantom of the Paradise always gets my toe tapping and a provides a few big laughs, all while bringing the battle between humanity and Satan to our attention in a unique way.