Hammer Films, a name synonymous with horror. If you want to watch good horror, you watch Hammer. For those unfamiliar Hammer is a British film studio that became famous for the horror films they made in the 60’s and 70’s. They often used the classic Universal Monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and more. Their films differed from the American counterparts as they featured not only more violence and blood, but more sexuality as well. In 1962 the came out with their version of Phantom of the Opera.
Phantom of the Opera is the story of a young woman named Christine Charles. She was a chorus girl in the new opera being performed at the London Opera House. Now it turns out the theater itself never sells out as there is rumored to be a haunted section in the balcony that no one will sit in. The original lead is Maria who we meet in the beginning. She is apprehensive about performing out of fear the place is haunted. The show goes off well until the end when a curtain rips and a deadly body is found hanging from the rafters. Maria is freaked out and refuses to perform their again. SO as luck would have it for Christine she is chosen to be the new lead.
Things aren’t exactly easy though, as the creator of the opera, Lord Ambrose Darcy takes a shine to Christine during her audition and invites her to his home that night. As she is about to leave her dressing room she hears a menacing voice telling her to stay away from Lord Ambrose. She leaves quickly and heads to meet him. The voice was right as he is a lecherous sort but before anything can happen the Opera producer Harry Hunter arrives and manages to escort her away. She tells him about the voice so they head back to her dressing room to investigate. Its there that Harry hears the same voice telling him to stay away from Christine.
Things keep getting worse as one of the cleaners is murdered. Christine, who is still inside the theater is approached by the Phantom. He maintains the classic look as well. All black with the mask with only one eye exposed. He tells her she must leave with him but she panics causing him to run away. It turns out the opera being performed was actually written by a man named Petrie. His body was burned with acid when he was trying to put out a fire at the print shop who was making his music sheets. He dove into the town river and was never seen again. Could he be the mysterious Phantom haunting the Opera House. Yes of course he is.
This in my opinion is a fantastic take on the Phantom of the Opera. Is very different from the American film, in fact its different from any version we have seen in film, or play. Its not even close to the novel. It’s a very different take, painting the Phantom in a very different light. I wont say more as I don’t want to spoil it. And yes for you Hammer Fans its classic Hammer, sort of. Not near the amount of blood and nudity we are used to seeing. No this one is much more a tragic love story with the Phantom taking the role of almost a tragic hero of sorts. It still has that amazing Hammer look and feel. Deep blues and reds for the color, a gothic style and a moody score that they were known for. It runs very short, especially for a Hammer production. So short that additional scenes and a subplot were filmed and edited in for the television release. Don’t worry you get that on this set as well.
Scream Factory has been putting out countless amazing Hammer titles and this is no exception. Crisp and clear in every sense of the word. The colors look fantastic. Fresh but not to bright to take away from that murky hammer look. Everything is smooth though and looks amazing. The score, which is breathtaking sounds fantastic through your surround sound. Scream Factory is impressive as always, and I really hope they keep these Hammer films coming. And because its Scream Factory you even get a ton of special features.
· NEW 2K Scan From The Interpositive – Two Aspect Ratios 1.85:1 And 1.66:1
· NEW Audio Commentary With Film Historians Troy Howarth And Nathaniel Thompson (1.85:1 Version)
· NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr (1.66:1 Version)
· NEW The Men Who Made Hammer: Anthony Hinds
· NEW Phantom Triumphant: Edwin Astley And Hammer's Horror Opera – An Interview With Author David Huckvale
· NEW Herbert Lom: The Soul Behind The Mask – An Interview With Film Historian/Screenwriter/Novelist C. Courtney Joyner
· NEW Interview With Special Effects Artist Brian Johnson
· "The Making Of Phantom Of The Opera" – Narrated By Edward De Souza Plus Interviews With Richard Golen, Alan Lavender, And Edward De Souza
· The Longer TV Version (In Standard Definition)
· Theatrical Trailer
· Still Gallery
A fantastic film which gives us a new take on a classic story. This is a must watch for everyone. Horror fans, Phantom of the Opera fans, even people who have only watched the play will enjoy this. It’s a great movie that scream factory has done a great job on. Pic this one up right away to add to your collection.
Overall 4out of 5 Stars!