Director Brian De Palma‘s 1974 rock musical Phantom of the Paradise is now regarded as one of the great films in the cult canon and has an army of fans, including Edgar Wright who cast Phantom star and real-life composer Paul Williams in his own music-driven movie, Baby Driver. Back in the day, however, there was really just one city that went wild for De Palma’s box office flop.
Phantom of the Paradise proved hugely popular among young Winnipeggers, whose enthusiasm for the movie reportedly kept it playing at the city’s Garrick Cinema for 18 straight weeks. Nor did local cineastes ever seem to tire of the film. In 2005, the city celebrated the movie with a festival, Phantompalooza, which featured appearances by cast members Gerrit Graham and the late William Finley. A similar event the following year boasted a concert by Williams.
Now filmmakers Malcolm Ingram and Sean Stanley examine this strange pop culture love affair in the documentary Phantom of Winnipeg, with onscreen contributions from Williams, Graham, Finley, producer Ed Pressman, and Kevin Smith, among others. The film will receive its world premiere at Fantasia in Montreal on July 12, with the directors, Williams, and Pressman in attendance.
Watch the trailer for Phantom of Winnipeg above.