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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Movie Reviews  |  The Canadian Rocky Horror « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Canadian Rocky Horror  (Read 2320 times)
Fausto
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« on: January 15, 2007, 08:34:38 PM »

 The Canadian Rocky Horror

When people here think of midnite cult movies, the one that instantly comes to mind (if any) would be Rocky Horror. It is the benchmark against which all other cult films are measured. However, while this maybe true in the states, other areas have their own equivalents. In Canada, for example, one does not dress as Brad Majors and Janet Weiss; instead, they dress as Phoenix or Winslow Leech. Instead of singing about time warps, people sing about dead rock stars. Welcome to the strange world of Phantom of the Paradise.

Its the mid 70's. Winslow Leech (William Findley) is a down-on his-luck nerd who plays back-up for a lame 50's revival band called the Juicy Fruits. He hates them, but he does what he can to get by. He bides his time by working on a rock opera based on the legend of Faust (the german magician who traded his soul to Satan for worldly knowledge and power). One day, his opera is overheard by Philip Swan (Paul Williams), a big shot in the music industry and the owner of the Juicy Fruits. Swan likes the music (but not Winslow), and has his right hand man steal-eh, borrow, the score under the pretense of offering Leech a deal. Some time later, Winslow tries to get back in touch with Swan, only to discover he's been cheated. Swan intends to use the opera, preformed by a different artist, to open a new music hall called the Paradise. To get him out of the way, Swan has Leech framed on drug charges and arrested. Leech is sent to Sing-Sing, where he's volinteered for a dental experiment in which his teeth are removed and replaced by metal.

After hearing a bastardized cover of his work by a band called the Beach Bums, Winslow goes nuts. He escapes from prision with the intent of sabatoging Swan's record processing plant. It ends unpleasantly, with Leech being hideously deformed and presumed dead.

Soon after, a strange figure begins to cause trouble at the Paradise, killing off any who attempts to perform the opera ("Anyone who tries, dies"). After a minor disaster, the crafty Swan decides to offer the Phantom a deal, which would allow him some creative control over the performance, including hiring Winslow's love interest, the lovely and talented Phoenix (Jessica Harper) to sing the lead. Unfortunately, the 'deal' involves a contract signed in blood, and the devil is in the details.

Directed by Brian DePalma (Sisters, Carrie), its a strange film, but a personal favorite of mine (sadly, the film's message, involving the danger of selling out and putting musical style over substance, seems to have fallen on deaf ears, considering we now live in an age of boy bands and American Idol). Highly recommended to any Rocky Horror fan (many consider Rocky, Phantom and Shock Treatment to make up an unofficial trilogy) or any b-filmer with the capacity to at least tolerate a musical.
 
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Andrew
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007, 08:23:54 AM »

I subjected my wife to this a few weeks back.  I knew it was bad and had warned her, but she was not ready for the movie at all.  For her and I, this movie is painful, like swallowing thumbtacks.  Leech's complete blindness to Swan's deceptions, both in the beginning and after his disfigurement, are terribly overdone.  Not to mention that we are exposed to Paul Williams in a PG sex scene with Phoenix.  Paul might be talented, but you do not want to see him mostly naked.

The scene where Winslow gets his face partially boiled by the record press was plain terrible.  It looked like he was trying to get inside the thing, rather than accidentally falling into the press.
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007, 01:11:34 PM »

Not to mention that we are exposed to Paul Williams in a PG sex scene with Phoenix.  Paul might be talented, but you do not want to see him mostly naked.

I have seen this movie one time only and this is the only thing I remember about it, I agree with Andrew, a nearly naked Paul Williams is not something you would want to see. Can't remember much else, which makes me think the film was so so for me, not really good, but also not one that I remember as really awful either.
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 03:21:20 PM »

Where would I get a copy of this??????

 Question Question Question

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Fausto
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 04:34:47 PM »

Where would I get a copy of this??????

I had to get my copy over the internet, I forget where. I'm sure you could probably rent it from netflix. After I heard about it, I looked in a bunch of different stores and never found a copy, so online's your best bet.
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 05:58:27 AM »

I got my copy from the $5.50 Rickety Shelf System at Wal-Mart about two post-Halloween sales ago, before it was replaced by the $5.50 Dump Bin. It might have even been $4.88.

Apparently I'm secretly Canadian, since I like this film a lot and want the soundtrack. I even learned the lyrics to "The Hell of It" since I like the song so much. Someone should do a country cover version, the lyrics are perfect for a country song.

It has it's flaws, and De Palma couldn't just "update" the Phantom to the glam rock era, he had to "borrow" from Faust, The Picture of Dorian Gray and even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as far as I can tell (look at the stage setting and makeup during the "Somebody Special Like You" song).

Plus I like to read into it a little, I figure Swan is inspired by Phil Spector and Dick Clark both. The skewering of musical trends and the professionals behind the scenes is fun. Notice that the band members and singers keep getting used no matter the style. I wonder if Swan has them "under contract" as well. Gerrit Graham has a ball playing Beef, but they do beat up on the character a bit much for my taste.

I used to catch it late at night after coming home from work off and on over the years. TNT used to still play it super late even after they purged most movies from that era from the regular schedule. It was perfect 3 AM viewing, so I became a fan.
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