Arrow has given the world a double Blu-Ray release of Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge. Now, this movie from 1989 has gotten some pretty terrible reviews. I don’t think it’s really deserving of them. Don’t get me wrong, this is no Oscar-worthy film, but as a quirky 1980s slasher sort of film, I think it has plenty of charms.
The story is a re-telling of rhe classic Phantom of the Opera. In this case, though, a young man named Eric, who is thought to be dead, is our phantom, but instead of an opera house, he’s living in a mall. That’s because in order to build that mall, someone burned his house down, killing his parents and disfiguring him. He’s on a mission with a two-fold goal. First, he’s looking to enact revenge on this responsible. The second part of that equation, though is his desire to protect his girlfriend, even though she doesn’t know he’s alive.
The cast of this film is interesting. You’ve got Morgan Fairchild as one of the biggest names playing the mayor of the town. Pauly Shore in a very early role plays the guy who works at the mall’s yogurt shop. Jonathan Goldsmith is the owner of the mall. Now, if you don’t recognize that name, I bet you know who he is. He later became a cultural icon as the most interesting man in the world via Dos Equis beer commercials. Rob Estes, who I know from Silk Stalkings, but who others remember from Melrose Place, plays a reporter. Ken Foree, who should be familiar to horror fans both from Dawn of the Dead and From Beyond plays a security guard.
Those are just the more familiar names in the cast. I would say that some of the acting is very good, while other roles, including the lady playing the object of Eric’s desire, are not as effective. Then again, for a lower-budget slasher film, you really don’t expect award winning performances.
There are some inventive kills, and really that is one of the draws to movies like this. I would say that to me there are some parallels to the Toxic Avenger, but this movie is less over the top and more serious than that one.
The movie has plenty of gratuitous nudity, which is something one expects from horror films of the time. Some cheesy 80s music definitely dates this. Overall, though, I’d consider it a fun film with some inventive aspects that manage to take the whole slasher thing in a somewhat fresh direction.
I mentioned that this is a double disc set. The first disc includes the main movie, along with the usual interviews and commentary and things. The second disc includes several alternate cuts of the film. Those really make this of interest to fans of the movie. Certainly they have their merits. I think the main feature is worth the price of admission by itself, though. Gary Hill