Christine Day is a young Broadway singer in New York City. She is auditioning for a show and comes across a piece of music written by an unknown music composer named Erik Destler nearly 100 years before. Erik had made a pact with the devil so the world would love his music, but the devil had one condition: that Erik’s face would be horribly disfigured forever. Once Christine sings his music, she is taken from present day New York to 1881 London were she is the star of the London Opera House. There she is coached by a mysterious caped figure who will do anything to make her the star of the opera even if it means murdering people, and the figure is none other than Erik Destler himself.
Using Englund’s Freddy Kruger persona and popularity to weave a horror orientated version of The Phantom, director Dwight Little does display a somewhat interesting version of the tale. Starting off in the late 80’s with a New York City backdrop, an accident during an audition, knocks our starlet out cold and whisks us back to Victorian London. Whilst the events of the film play out quite similarly to the original, Robert Englund’s sinister portrayal of a murdering phantom, who stalks anyone who puts his inspirational Opera star at risk and peels the skin off his victims to reconstruct his rotting face, does give the film a fresh spin and Robert does pull off the role with great success giving his Phantom a menacing presence throughout the film. The only criticism I had was that the pacing could be a bit slow and for a film that just clocks in at 90 minutes, it does feel quite a bit longer than that.
The Phantom of the Opera is presented on a BD25 with a MPEG4-AVC 1080/24P codec that preserves the film’s original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio. Filmed originally on 35mm, the HD master struck for this release seems to be quite old. The colour designs of the film, whilst not exactly vivid, are nicely balanced throughout the film and display the rather exquisite production display of inside the opera house and costumes nicely and black levels seem to be quite stable with just the right amount of detail shown in the darker lit scenes with the phantom creeping around in the shadows for example. The only downside to this transfer is that there seems to be a lack of fine detail for a majority of brighter lit scenes and it does tend to come across a bit soft looking. Some of the darker scenes like the phantom’s underground lair do look quite good in HD with the formation of the stone passages and his belongings scattered across the place showing superb detail. I did observe some Digital Noise Reduction during the viewing as well.
The Phantom of the Opera is presented on Blu-ray with a single English LPCM 2.0 audio mix. Recorded in Ultra Stereo originally, the audio mix for this release comes as a disappointment sadly. Whether I was wrong to expect an Operatic based film to have a bit of punch in the audio department, for the first 20 minutes of the film I was adjusting the volume to make it audible as the sound mix is mixed far too low. After cranking the volume up it did improve but not much. Dialogue and audio effect were clear after the adjustments and were discrete in the front soundstage. The music and score for the film, whilst impressive, was lacking though and could of used some beefing up to deliver some impact
Sadly there is not a single feature on the disc apart from a motion menu
The Phantom of the Opera is an interesting take on the legendary story and I quite enjoyed it. Robert Englund does deliver a great performance and makes The Phantom his own character. Whilst it could of used a bit of tightening up in the editing suite, horror fans (particularly Freddy Kruger fans) should check this out. Whilst the audio and visuals on the disc aren’t brilliant, and there isn’t a single feature on the disc to explore the film, horror fans should enjoy this release on the film alone.
Special thanks to 101 Films for supplying the retail disc to review.