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Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge

USA 1989
produced by
Thomas Fries, Charles W. Fries (executive) for Fries Entertainment
directed by Richard Friedman
starring Kari Whitman, Derek Rydall, Jonathan Goldsmith, Rob Estes, Pauly Shore, Kimber Sissons, Morgan Fairchild, Gregory Scott Cummins, Tom Fridley, Ken Foree, John Walter Davis, Dante D'Andre, Terrence Evans, Kelly Rutherford, Gary McGurk, Jake Jacobs, Dick Hancock, Louise Alvarez (uncredited), Brinke Stevens (uncredited)
story by Scott Schneid, Frederick R. Ulrich, screenplay by Scott Schneid, Tony Michelman, Robert King, based on the novel The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, music by Stacy Widelitz

Phantom of the Opera

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD!

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A small town prepares to show itself in the best of lights when it comes to the opening of its own mall, and both mayor Wilton (Morgan Freeman) and land developer and mall owner Posner (Jonathan Goldsmith) will stop at nothing to make this work and finally put their town on the map. Or course, even before the big ceremony personnel dies every now and again, like a perverted security guard, a bar pianist doubling as rapist, or even Posner's own borderline criminal son, but nothing, nothing, must stand in the way of the big day. Young Melody (Kari Whitman) has just secured herself a job at the mall, even if the place it was built on holds some uncomfortable memories for her as it was formerly the location of her boyfriend Eric's (Derek Rydall) that was burned to the ground with him inside - and even though she witnessed an arsonist on the site, the police hushed this up in favour of the good (?) of the city - in other words, the mall. But now Melody meets Peter (Rob Estes), a young journalist whom she not only falls for (and vice versa), but who also thinks something stinks when it comes to the whole affair. And it's not long before the two find out the guy Melody has seen at the fire is actually one of the mall's security guards, Christopher (Gregory Scott Cummins), and when he finds out they've found out he tries to kill them, he's stopped by ... the phantom of the mall (Derek Rydall). Melody's sure it's Eric, and it doesn't take long until he abducts her and shows her his real face, and even if it's horribly burned. And she also realizes that most of what Eric has done he has done out of love, and she's touched of course that after all this time he's still watching over her - however, this quickly turns into horror when she learns he wants to blow up the mall right for the opening ceremony, when it's at maximum capacity, taking pretty much half the city and then some with it. And now it's up to her, Peter, and their friends Buzz (Pauly Shore) and Suzie (Kimber Sissons) to save the day. Thing is, they not only have Eric to overcome, but also Mayor Wilton and Posner, who won't let a little bomb threat spoil their party ...

 

Now if I said Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge was a masterpiece in any sense of the word, I would be lying. That's not to say the film's terrible, it's well executed and features its fair share of tension, action and scares. But at the same time it's just a straight slasher, despite borrowing heavily from Phantom of the Opera (the novel. in itself something of a slasher blueprint). And unfortunately, the film fails to recognize the satirical potential of its mall-background that sure could have added some subversiveness to its proceedings. And that all said, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge is also wonderful, a film that has most certainly grown on general audiences over the years as its one of the perfect 1980s slasher time capsules. There's really everything there you either like about genre films from that era or find ridiculous or endearing, from music, makeup and hairdos to the obligatory car chase to bits of quite explicit violence to carbon cutout characters. So while the film might not be great, it actually is a glorious trip down memory lane, and certainly a must-see at least if you were both young enough and old enough to watch this back when.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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