Preamble: This review was originally released at Texas Public Radio. As I'm a bit obsessive about losing columns at other sites, I'm archiving it here. But, if you haven't read this one yet, I recommend clicking the link back to TPR and giving them a hit rather than reading here.
Full disclosure - The disc was a review copy provided by Kino Lorber to Texas Public Radio, and this column was edited with the generous help of NathanC of TPR.
2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the release of seminal American horror/thriller, The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney. The film stands as a hallmark of both horror film and silent cinema, and as a survivor of the many mishaps and hardships that befell many other films of the era. Today, it continues to thrill audiences.
This fall, Kino Lorber delivers a terrific two-disc Blu-ray set which fans of the film will enjoy as they dig in to the treasure trove of special features, and those newly arrived to the film can enjoy for the magnificent presentation and contextualizing available in the special features.
Lon Chaney, in both his make-up and performance as Erik, remains such a recognizable concept that The Phantom of the Opera has endured in the popular imagination while the film’s contemporaries have faded, surviving mostly in the domain of serious film buffs and historians. The film stamped itself onto the zeitgeist thanks not just to the film’s perennial Halloween showings, but because it brought audiences something both novel and universal in its shadowy tale of outsiders and the chilling wonder of the unknown.