Hammer Film’s loose adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s story focuses on revenge and doesn’t really touch upon the subversive romantic potential between the Phantom (Herbert Lom) and Christine (Heather Sears). Since that’s kind of the whole point, the film largely misses the mark.
But as usual with Hammer Films, I like the production design and general atmosphere — especially the Phantom’s underground lair, a large multi-leveled set complete with a canal! Herbert Lom is pretty good in flashbacks that depict the Phantom’s back story, but less so in the present-day storyline. Maybe it’s because the cheap mask obscures his performance. It’s nice to see Michael Gough, who usually plays kindly uncles, as the devious theater owner who betrayed the Phantom and started the fire that disfigured him.
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)