The grand spectrum of camp spans everything from The Importance of Being Ernest to the film oeuvre of John Waters. Somewhere on that continuum, as an extreme outlier, lives Phantom of the Paradise, Brian De Palma’s acid soaked send up of The Phantom of the Opera. Domy Books (1709 Westheimer) screens the camp masterpiece on Wednesday, January 4 at 8 pm.
The convoluted 1974 film tells the story of Winslow Leach (William Finley), a singer/songwriter trying to make it outside of the music industry and it’s overproduced esthetic (remember this is the age of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”). Music producer Swan (Paul Williams) steals Leach’s music as a vehicle for his new music group. Leach confronts Swan, and trough a series of machinations (which involve the revelation that Swan has made a Dorian Grey-like deal with the devil) Swan winds up jammed in a record press and presumed dead. But wait! Leach is not dead, and so decides to haunt Swan’s new music venue, The Paradise, and win the heart of the girl, despite his scarred and twisted appearance (I said it was convoluted). In a fun Texas connection the interior of the Paradise is actually Dallas’ Majestic Theater.
Frankly the film makes absolutely no sense, but it’s still visually interesting and a delightful relic of the seventies’ glam revolution. The screening of Phantom of the Paradise is free, drinks and refreshments are available from Brasil Cafe, located next door to Domy Books.