The 1990 miniseries, based on the Yeston and Kopit musical. This is probably my favorite film adaptation. I have a few quibbles with it (WHY DOES ERIK HAVE TO HAVE AN AMERICAN ACCENT? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. BRING BACK THE ENGLISH ONE), but overall, it’s the only Phantom adaptation I can think of that takes the time to develop Erik’s character—including actually giving him a name! And the right name, at that. He’s very snarky in this one, reminiscent of Kay’s Erik, which I love. And yay! Blonde Christine! Carlotta’s also fabulous in this version.
The 1925 silent film in all of its melodramatic glory. You can’t not like this, cheesiness aside. It’s a must-see for any Phantom fan.
Big Finish’s radio adaptation is absolutely fantastic if you can get your hands on it. I don’t think it’s very expensive. I keep it permanently on my iPod and listen to it whenever I need a good Leroux fix. Wonderful voice acting (…..although the actress playing Christine is….meh…), especially Raoul and Erik. Oh, my gosh, James D’Arcy is one of the best Raouls ever. He’s fantastic. And the Persian plays a HUGE role in this. He’s also fantastic. So is Madame Giry. I LOVE it. Andre and Firmin are absolutely brilliant, as well. Now that I think about it, this is one of my favorite Phantom adaptations ever.
The 1943 Claude Rains version, which I have never seen! I really, really, REALLY need to watch this one, mostly because Susanna Foster actually sang for the part.
The 1962 Herbert Lom version, which I saw and, I’m just going to be honest here, I did not like at ALL. Good Lord, it was bad. So bad. At least, in my opinion. The acting was wooden, the plot lagged, and Erik inexplicably has this Igor-type henchman who is just the most distracting addition ever.
The 1983 version. I never finished this one because I remember being exceptionally bored. Jane Seymour looks beautiful as the Christine character, though, so I suppose there’s that.
The 1989 Robert Englund version. (WARNING. HERE THAR BE SPOILERS…This is a clip from it…I couldn’t find the film itself). Okay, hammer horror ridiculousness aside, there are actually elements of this version that I really like. Erik gets some fantastic lines, and the score is really beautiful. I also love the time-traveling aspect of it. But it’s a very gory, vicious, serial-killer-esque Erik, a far cry from Webber’s suave, passionate Erik.
The Dario Argento version. This one has become somewhat of a legend in the fandom because it is easily the worst Phantom film ever made. It is so bad, it’s good. It’s so bad, that Erik isn’t even deformed. He just has 90s grunge rocker hair and a thing for rats…..he really likes rats. I mean he really. Likes. Rats. On his face. On his back. Down his trousers. This version makes absolutely no sense and it is hysterically awful. To top it all off, the woman who plays Christine is the director’s daughter. This would not necessarily pose a problem were it not for the gratuitous sex scenes she stars in throughout the film, which were doubtless acted out in front of Daddy Argento. It’s a disaster.
The 1980s animated version. Campy and cheesy to the max and the voice acting and animation are awful, but it’s actually the most Leroux-faithful adaptation out there, which I really appreciate. I also appreciate the periwinkle blue leisure suit the animators dressed Erik in. We need more blue leisure suit Erik. That would have lightened the mood a bit.
The Phantom of the Paradise, which I’ve never seen. People seem to enjoy this adaptation quite a bit. I will watch it eventually, but I’m not keen on discotheque Erik. Unless he wears his blue leisure suit to get down with his bad self on the dance floor.
The Yeston and Kopit musical. which, as I mentioned before, inspired the 1990 miniseries. Again, I love the fact that Erik’s character is really fleshed out here, though I’m not too big on several plot elements and some of the music. All in all, though, this is a fun adaptation.
The David Staller version, which is another one that’s so bad, it’s good. It quite clearly rips off several elements from Webber’s musical, except this Erik takes it up a notch with a bedazzled mask. The Phantom Reviewer pointed out that David Staller sounds like Sideshow Bob from this Simpsons when he laughs, and now I can’t un-hear it. The acting is dreadful, except for a really great scene involving Erik pranking the managers, which I really, really like.
Speaking of The Phantom Reviewer, if you haven’t already, go check out his hilarious YouTube channel. He covers pretty much every single adaptation—film, music, books, you name it—and he’s a great resource for tracking down all things Phantom. And he’s so funny, holy crap. I would like to personally shake this man’s hand for the amount of times his videos have made me laugh.
I hope this helps! I am clearly not obsessed with this story. Not in the slightest.