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THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Gene Levitt

Starring:
Skye Aubrey
Jack Cassidy
Jackie Coogan

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Itís the end of an era at the movie studios, with backlots becoming a thing of the past and on-location shoots are beginning to take over. Because of this, New World studio is selling its Lot #2 for millions of dollars as itís still prime real estate located in the middle of Hollywood. But a mace-wielding figure dressed in medieval garb, a leather mask, and even some chainmail, doesnít want the studio to sell, thus murdering anyone and everyone involved. Lot #2 is his home and his love for the movies has driven him to insanityÖ and murder. A harmless made-for-TV slasher flick from the 70s ensues.
Is it good movie?
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a classic book and movie alike (the Boris Karloff version, not the Robert Englund one), but the biggest complaint that always seems to come out of that flick is the fact that it takes place at an Opera and, letís face it, the Opera is boring as shit. Because no one wants to sit though an Opera, nor do people care what happens inside of an Opera House, the movies have been doing takes on the same basic story for years, just at different settings. Thereís the classic PHANTOM OF THE PARADIS, and then thereís THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD, a film that was released more than 30 years ago and no one ever knew existed.

With a run time of just 78 minutes, THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD was a made-for-TV movie about a Phantom haunting the movie backlots of Hollywood, who starts killing the people trying to treat the backlot down, and even taking one of the studio executiveís smokiní hot daughter hostage. On the one hand, it plays sort of like a slasher flick, as this dark, masked figure goes around taking out people one by one, all the while the studioís PR rep (and filmís main lead) trying to solve the mystery of who this crazy guy is and stop him from doing any more harm to the folks hanging around one of Hollywoodís biggest studios. And at first it almost tricks you into thinking itís a slasher flick from the era that essentially invented the slasher genre, but noÖ itís not. For better or worse, itís a take on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, though the killer isnít much of a phantom at all.

A flick as unaffecting as THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD is hard to review because it was on and it was relatively entertaining in a so-bad-itís-good kind of way, and then it was over and I moved on with my life and never really looked back. For the most part, itís a harmless flick that is straight to the point of itís story and doesnít waste any time getting though it as fast as possibleówhich is great, because if it were any longer, I would have probably been tearing my hair out. At the same time, I canít really say it was a good movie nor would I ever recommend to anyone to check this flick out. Itís forgettable, it offers nothing to the genre, and because it was made for TV, thereís absolutely no blood, gore, boobs, or even bad language. Itís about as G rated as they get, and yet itís quite obviously aimed at adults (and not children), so itís kind of whack.

For those who are big PHANTOM OF THE OPERA fans, youíd probably get a kick out of seeing this take of the story, set in the backlot of an old Hollywood studio. The Phantomís medieval garb is more hilarious than it is haunting, and the idea of this guy being a stealthy killing machine is quite funny considering heís such a clumsy f*cker and when using his trusty bow-and-arrow, is the worse shot ever. But somewhere in here thereís a glimpse of charm and character that you canít help but like, and thatís something thatís worth mentioning and taking note of, because thereís a lot of crap made these days that lacks charm and likeability.

Video / Audio
Audio: 2.0 Mono has never felt so two dimensional andÖ well, 2.0 mono. It is what it is, and what it is isnít much when it comes to audio splendor.

Video: Presented in fullscreen 1.66:1, the flick is perfect for those who have one of those square TVs. For the rest of us with widescreen TVs, itíll either stretch itself out to fill the void, or give you a couple of black bars on the side. Either way, itís pretty weaksauce, but againÖ itís how they rolled 30 years in the made-for-TV department. That said, the transfer and video quality is actually pretty damn good, or at least way better than I was expecting.

The Extras
Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zero!
Last Call
THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD is a harmless and often charming made-for-TV take on THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that isnít worth watching, but could be a viable waste of time if you happened to catch it on cable and nothing else is on. The DVD is as barebones as they get, offering nothing in terms of extras or presentation, making this an unworthy buy for just about everyone unless, of course, you have found memories seeing this on TV way back in 1978, and you want to experience some nostalgia. THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD is a pass, but a charming pass with an agreeable run time.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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