December 17, 2017 8:45 am
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Source: Turner Classic Movies: TCM via Facebook 

Phantom of the Opera isn’t quite like some of the more familiar horror movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy. Sure, the audience is meant to be compelled to see the horrible visage behind the pearly white half mask, and then terrified the second it is removed, but unlike all of those other monster movies, with the exception of Hunchback of Notre Dame maybe, there is always a feeling of humanity with the phantom. Some could make an argument for Frankenstein or the Wolfman as well considering the innocent nature of the first monster and the human behind the second, but the phantom is a bit of a unique situation. 

The story doesn’t so much rely on the phantom’s unbridled strength to scare its audience but rather his devious and mysterious nature. Unlike all of the other “monsters,” the phantom doesn’t necessarily need to rely on brute strength as he’s a spectre of sorts – a force bound to the shadows. If someone enrages him, they could just as easily die offscreen as they could in front of the audience, and that’s part of the phantom’s character that really makes him creepy. Lon Chaney portrayed this menacing figure maniacally in the 1925 motion picture to great success, and beyond us the Nerdist still thinks this flick is scary almost 100 years later. But after The Mummy‘s lackluster release, we’re not sure the Dark Universe reboot can live up to the phantom’s subtly chilling roots.

Source: Entertainment Weekly via Facebook

While it might be a tad presumptuous of us to assume the worst for The Phantom of the Opera reboot, it’s not exactly a far-fetched claim. After all, New York Times writer A.O. Scott said that the movie could have been successfully campy or creepy, but instead it was chock-full of action, a folly that shows us how out of touch with these iconic monsters production company Dark Universe really is.

Now, just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past six months, it was announced that a good portion of the Universal monster movies would be getting a reboot and thrown into a shared universe similar to the Justice League or Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was shown in the Mummy movie a few times but most prominently with the inclusion of Dr. Henry Jekyll played by Russell Crowe. So Univeral wants to get on the gravy train of a shared universe. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it seems they’re struggling to respect the source material. Marvel can get away with making their movies action-focused because that’s what superheroes do. But the Universal monsters aren’t quite like that. They need more suspense and a hell of a lot more creepiness. We want to be scared but also have a compelling story to move us through that horror.

Source: Mystery Legends: The Phantom of the Opera via Facebook 

Although the Phantom of the Opera might not be the most recognizable monster out of the bunch, he still seems to be relevant these days in one shape or another. This time last year in Chicago, the phantom was making his rounds in late 2016/early 2017 and is even the star of a 32Red online slots game that not only shows live actors but also drawn images from the famous play. 32Red actually offers several horror-themed slots such as Immortal Romance, along with other games based on blockbuster films like Jurassic World or Bridesmaids, and lures gamers in by offering promotions such as £32 free for every £20 deposited. It’s not just 32Red that believes the game can garner some attention: other online casinos such as Spin and Win have the game available to play alongside creepy games such as Wild Blood or Blood Suckers. It definitely seems that online casinos as a whole want to give the Phantom game a chance.

So as more and more Universal mosters hit the big screen, we’ll just have to see how each of them perfrom and where they succeed and fail the most. In terms of the mummy, it seems many critics hated the film for its missed opportunities. In Phantom of the Opera, Dark Universe needs to make sure not to turn the phnatom into something he isn’t. They can’t rely on action to propel the movie forward so instead they need to play up the mysterious side of the phantom and flesh out some of the lore in the story. With the right amount of eerie storytelling, backstory for the phantom and a conflicting romance between the masked man and his chorus girl obsession, we could very well get a Phantom of the Opera that’ll blow us away. But it’ll be a story best told mostly with subtelties unlike the heavy-handed action romp that was The Mummy. If Dark Universe can keep this in mind, we might unmask a winner with this one. 

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This post was written by Nadia Vella