The Hell of It by Paul Williams
Speaking of Paul Williams, let’s take this moment to segue right into one of Horror’s most beloved rock operas, Brian DePalma’s 1974 pitch-perfect send-up of the entire recording industry, Phantom of the Paradise.
Elements of Faust, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Portrait of Dorian Gray and even a little Dr. Phibes are fused together to tell a tale of love, betrayal, fame and revenge set to the backdrop of the doped-out, sinister 70’s music scene.
Williams scored the entire film for DePalma, and stars as Swan, the unscrupulous producer who collects talents and souls for his Death Records label.
Phantom is unique, visually arresting, kinetic and humorous all in equal measure. From DePalma’s active camera, to Gerritt Graham’s flamboyant Beef, to Winslow’s killer Phantom disguise, to Swan’s bitchin’ giant record-shaped desk, to the parodic music, to the satire – it’s all just works.
Even getting Rod Serling himself to handle the opening narration is like a stroke of genius.
Here we have the film’s final track, a rocking little number played over the picture credits, that has all the seeming of Satan himself speaking directly to Swan.
If you’ve never seen Phantom of the Paradise, give this pop-rock-horror-satire a spin this October. And if you already love it, watch it again, just for the hell of it!