Friday, July 22, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

a.k.a. 'Attack of the Phantoms'
"Music & Mayhem at Magic Mountain"

Synopsis: The title pretty much gives away the plot of this 1978 NBC Saturday night movie of the week. Fed up with his lack of appreciation at the amusement park that he helped build, Abner Devereaux (Anthony Zerbe, 'The Dead Zone') plans to take over the park by turning the members of 'Kiss' into some sort of androids during the bands weekend of concerts at Magic Mountain.

My Thoughts: There's really no point in going on any further with the description of this movie. It has to be seen to be believed. If there was a bad movie hall of fame, this film would be a lock to get inducted. It's been said that the members of 'Kiss' were so ashamed of this movie that no one around them was even allowed to talk about it for years after it's release. I guess after the pink mesh half-shirts they wore on stage during the late 80's and Gene Simmons playing the role of a killer transvestite in that John Stamos movie this wasn't so bad. Not to mention 'Gene Simmons Family Jewels'.

So many stories have popped up about the making of this movie that they could write a book about it. Hell who knows, they probably already have. Most of the stories involve Ace and Peter's drug use during the filming, which led to Peter's lines getting dubbed by someone else and Ace's lines being reduced to a couple of noises resembling Curly from the 3 Stooges.

I absolutely love this film. The fact that all of the actors (and so-called actors) played it straight, even though the plot was so utterly ridiculous, help make this one of the greatest bad movies of all-time. This movie really deserves way more than just a short review. I'm definitely gonna have to include it somewhere down the line in one of my podcasts, because I can talk about this movie for hours. If you haven't seen it you should get your hands on a copy and don't worry there's no need to be a 'Kiss' fan to enjoy this disaster.

An inferior version, renamed 'Attack of the Phantoms', was recut for a European theatrical release in 1979. For obvious marketing reasons, most of the original score was replaced by songs from the bands recently released 'solo albums'.

My Rating: 9 / 10

This is a must have for lovers of extremely bad and cheezy movies. The original TV version had a very limited release from 'Cheezy Flicks' in 2005. The DVD's were pulled from the shelves because of copyright infringements, but you can still find some copies for sale on for around $30. A 'Good Times Video' VHS copy will on run you about 6 or 7 bucks (used). If you're looking for both versions, 'Attack of the Phantoms' is included on the 'Kissology: Vol. 2' DVD boxset and will set you back around $30, but just over $10 for a used copy.

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