In the shadow of a lesser giant there skulks a creature. No longer a man, this specter roams the ethereal realms surrounded by transvestites, aliens, crippled doctors and Susan Sarandon’s underwear.
It was only one year earlier, this phantom took refuge in The Paradise, the embodiment of pop music. Hub of what was new, what was in. In droves the sheep entered The Paradise with the promise of a killer show. Only one man could provide the entertainment they slutted for: Swan. The face of Death Records. The man behind the man behind the man of the nostalgia revival. Birthing the doo-wop Juicy Fruits and beach-bash Beach Bums. But what creates nostalgia? Time, vague memories, a phantom of the reminiscence? Yes, a Phantom! One does not find this phantom on rainy nights. Not within the walls of mysterious castles with hunchback handymen. No, it is found within The Paradise. Haunting those who stole his face, his voice, his love, his music. Revenge driven by passion, passion driven by soul, soul sold to the devil himself.
Phantom - a person or thing of merely illusory power. This is the obfuscated life, death and rebirth of Winslow Leach. A person of legend, of myth. Why, then, have few heard of his tragedy? Because they are blinded by Brad and Janet! Deafened by Dr. Frank-N-Furter! The beauty. The irreverence. The horror. The comedy. Passed by, forgotten, a tape compiling dust in a pawn shop. Eclipsed by the shock value of a truly rocky, mildly horrific picture show.
Constantly settling for what is popular, such is the grave nature of man. The reason time has forgotten Phantom of the Paradise. A film as deserving a cult following as that other sci-fi-horror-rock-comedy-musical. “He sold his soul for rock n’ roll” and all you have to do is watch.
Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise was released in 1974. It was all but forgotten when The Rocky Horror Picture Show snowballed it’s way into midnight showings across the nation in 1975. Fox’s Glee aired it’s Rocky Horror Picture Show themed episode in 2010. As of now, Phantom of the Paradise is up for consideration to be included in the Criterion Collection.