UNIVERSAL HORROR’S follow up to The Hunchback of Notre Dame would continue to see that success flourish further and continue to explore Gothic Literature as its source, this time with Gaston Leroux’s masterpiece.
Once again Lon Chaney would appear in one of his finest on-screen transformations as the titular Phantom and the film would generate over $2million at the box office despite critics generally calling it an average movie.
It has since found its place and recognition as a significant impact in film history by the Library of Congress.
Personally I feel this movie suffers from the similar lag in pace as its predecessor, a fault that is entirely a subject of its time and place.
It’s also hard to reflect upon when you learn that the original ending was to involve the Phantom dying of a broken heart, instead of the ultimate chase sequence and brutal death at the hands of the mob.
Pacing aside, I still can’t help but marvel at the lengths that Chaney would go to in order to become the monsters on-screen and there’s nothing finer than the make-up reveal when the Phantom’s mask is revealed. It’s a credit to his time, commitment and craftsmanship.
If you’re a keen horror movie fan and would like to take a look at one of the genre’s earliest influences in celluloid history, I would highly recommend giving this a go.
If however, the thought of sitting through a silent, black and white feature as too archaic and far-removed from the modern format with all the blood and gore at its highest depiction, then maybe this ones not for you.
As for me, I love to indulge in the genre, no matter what its form.
We maybe that doesn’t include Uwe Boll’s work.
- Paul Farrell