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Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park
Attack of the Phantoms

USA 1978
produced by
Terry Morse jr, Bill Aucoin (executive), Joseph Barbera (executive) for Hanna-Barbera, Kiss/Aucoin Productions/NBC
directed by Gordon Hessler
starring Kiss (= Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley), Anthony Zerbe, Carmine Caridi, Deborah Ryan, John Dennis Johnston, John Lisbon Wood, Lisa Jane Persky, John Chappell, Terry Lester, Don Steele, Richard Hein, Brion James, Mary Kay Morse, Sandra Pann, Bill Hudson, Leon Delaney, Steve Boyum, Jim Connors, Billy Hank Hooker
written by Jan Michael Sherman, Don Buday, music by Hoyt Curtin, songs performed by Kiss

Frankenstein (cameo), Dracula (cameo)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Calvin Richards' (Carmine Caridi) amusement park is failing, but a series of gigs by then super-popular hard rock band Kiss (Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley) is to turn things around - much to the dismay of the park's chief technician Abner Devereaux (Anthony Zerbe), who thinks the money spent on Kiss should be spent on developing new attractions and updating the present ones instead. Sam (Terry Lester) works for Devereaux - until one day he disappears. This is much to the distress of his girlfriend Melissa (Deborah Ryan), who desperately tries to find him but is given absolutely no assistance by park security, and when she talks to Devereaux, she finds him oddly evasive. Only the boys from Kiss prove sympathetic to her, and it proves they're actually superheroes, their powers given to them by a talisman from outer space. Devereaux, who's of course a mad scientist, gets wind of this talisman and figures it would give him absolute power, so he lures Kiss to his lair while sending a robotized Sam out to go fetch the talisman from Kiss's hangout. Of course, Devereaux has spiked the way to his headquarters with challenges, so Kiss have to first fight a gang of monkey-like androids, then martial arts androids, before in the house of horrors, they're attacked by all kinds of monsters, including robotic versions of Dracula (Steve Boyum), Frankenstein (Jim Connors) and the Mummy (Billy Hank Hooker). And it's in the house of horrors that Kiss lose their superpowers due to Devereaux having gotten hold of the talisman. They're incarcerated, and their android doubles are sent out to perform in their stead - and badly, too, as it was Devereaux's plan to have fake Kiss perform badly enough for their fans to revolt and wreak havoc on the whole amusement park. It almost succeeds, too, but then by mere willpower, the real Kiss get their hands back on the talisman and teleport onto stage to beat their doubles to a pulp and play a concert that pacifies their fans. And in the end, Devereaux's brain is fried while Sam is returned to normal and into Melissa's arms.

 

Now the idea to cast Kiss, who have always played with horror elements, including in their outfits and makeup, in a horror movie sure was an inspired one - but the outcome is decidedly less so, as instead of giving the band some cool material to chew on, this one feels like little more than a mediocre episode of Scooby-Doo - and in that respect, it makes a lot of sense that Scooby's home Hanna-Barbera has also produced this movie -, with Kiss pretty much performing the duties of Mystery, Inc. in a story that's as bland as it's forgettable. And of course the cheap looks of the whole thing don't help much, as while director Gordon Hessler had Magic Mountain amusement park at his disposal, but does very little with it - as his whole directorial effort is best described as functional. Of course, that Kiss don't feel at ease in front of the camera doesn't help one bit. But that all said, once Kiss appear in this one (and the only do approximately half an hour in), it's at least campy fun, so not a complete waste of time - just a waste of opportunity.

 

PS: In 2015, Kiss did actually appear together with Scooby-Doo in the animated Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery that's actually also (partly) set in an amusement park.

 

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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,
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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
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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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