This 1989 version of Phantom Of The Opera starring Nightmare In Elm Street’s Robert Englund is a handsomely produced and surprisingly faithful adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s classic tale. Englund is Erik Destler, a composer cursed with a disfigurement following a Faustian pact who will stop at nothing in his attempt to make Jill Schoelen’s Opera singer a star through his music.
There’s a string of ‘80s excess running through Phantom Of The Opera and while the occasional moment might feel like soap opera, there’s no denying that those involved wanted to create something that would hold-up when compared to other screen versions of Leroux’s book. Dwight H. Little’s film surprises on many levels. For a relatively how budget horror, this is incredibly stylish. The attention to detail through the set design and cinematography shows how much the horror genre has changed over the last 25 years. This might be a B-movie but it has the visual integrity of an A-grade production. It’s also good to see some strong make-up effects on display, and Englund seems to relish gluing on the latex for yet another iconic horror creation. You can see his dedication to the role, content that he’s playing a character that resonates instead of a one-note bogeyman.
You could argue that Phantom Of The Opera is has more style than substance, but there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a time-travel aspect to the film that’s not totally necessary, but it’s not enough to take away from the central yarn. Meanwhile, fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical might get a little more than they bargained for when they see Englund’s gory visage.
A gloriously 1980s production of a classic horror tale, Phantom Of The Opera is a film that holds-up a quarter of a century later. It may not be the most well known version of Gaston Leroux’s story, but there’s fun to be had here.