Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 11: 31 Days of Horror: Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Phantom of the Opera is one of the most over-the-top silent movies I have seen yet. There are so many exaggerated gestures, which I am not very accustomed to watching in a film. It's more on par with how people act in plays or musicals. I tend to find overly theatrical acting irritating to watch, but for this particular film, it actually works. 

Scariest thing in this film is definitely the Phantom. He is played by the brilliant Lon Chaney. His makeup is gruesome and when his face is revealed for the first time, it is frightening. I thought I'd feel bad for the Phantom because he was in love with a girl who did not love him back, but he was so creepy and a bit forceful, that I didn't feel bad for him. He was like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but instead of improving his character, he just became more of a creepy stalker. No one likes a creepy stalker!

I really enjoyed when the Phantom would get up to his crazy shenanigans around the Opera house. He sure scared a lot of people. Especially when he sent threatening letters to the Opera about the singer he didn't like and what he was going to do if they let her sing again. He wasn't kidding. He caused a chandelier to fall because they let her sing again. Christine Daae is the only one he wants. He wants her a little too much though. 

The Phantom is obsessed with Christine and will do anything to have her to himself. He resorts to kidnapping her and bringing her to his secret hiding place in the catacombs. He tries to murder her lover, first by about setting him on fire, and then attempting to drown him. The Phantom clearly is very delusional about how to woo a woman. All he did was scare her. He seemed to think that the woman didn't love him because his face was so grotesque, but that was not the case. Yes, his face was frightening, but he was repulsive because of how mean and evil he was. He murdered others in the opera house and didn't feel remorse for any of the murders or his attempted murders. 

This is a great movie to watch to see how the horror genre started out. I wish that I could go back in time to see how audiences reacted to this sort of horror back in the day, without ever having exposure to the horror movies we have today. 


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