The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ★★★★

Part of Hoop-Tober III

Film #6: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

It's been a long time coming, but I finally sat down and watched this silent classic. It was quite impressive with it's huge elaborate sets and impressive visuals. It's one of the earliest examples of horror on film, and they kicked things off in good form.

Obviously the main attraction here is the amazing Lon Chaney and his incredible make-up FX. His Phantom remains the most iconic and for the very obvious reason that he's terrifying. Not only to look at (though the design is seriously unsettling), but Chaney's performance is that of a man unhinged. He doesn't play it so much broad as it is intense as hell. His maniacal laughter (unheard, obviously) is more than theatrics, it's a look into a madman.

The sequence of two-strip technicolor is flat out stunning. The reds popping so hard, they look like they're gonna fly right off the screen. The Phantom as the Red Death marching down the steps with hundreds of extras cowering in fear. Yeah. It's pretty great.

The story and characters didn't quite grab me as much as some other silent films have. It was entertaining but I never felt particularly invested. But this is the Phantom's show and he certainly doesn't disappoint.