Phantom Of The Paradise is a 1974 movie/grammatical disaster that took Phantom Of The Opera, Faust, and The Picture Of Dorian Gray and adapted them into a story that revolves around a rock music concert hall. The soundtrack features plenty of terrible rock and disco, and the titular character looks like a plague-masked former member of Daft Punk currently touring with Meatloaf.
20th Century Fox
After snorting an equal ratio of cocaine to snow in Canada.
This is the type of train wreck not even a genius director could save -- especially not the one who shot this disaster in the first place. The Phantom Of The Paradise was actually directed by a young Brian De Palma, who would've probably needed to move back in with his parents if he hadn't made Carrie right after.
Somehow, Phantom flopped ... except in Winnipeg, Canada's answer to Cleveland. The film played in Winnipeg for four months, despite closing after a week pretty much everywhere else on the planet. It's unclear how the movie managed to thrive in only one city, aside from the obvious explanation that the movie's funky tunes let people groove themselves warm during the 10 months of the year that the city is a frozen wasteland.
Garrick Two Cinema
Incidentally, 108,830 is the maximum number of Winnipeggers who are sober at any given time.
The best actual explanation anyone can offer is that seeing the movie somehow became an essential adolescent social experience, like sneaking out to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show or trying to negotiate a handjob in the back row of a slasher flick. Whatever the cause, the movie was such a hit in Winnipeg that it's been able to maintain a cultural footprint and become a cult classic. Winnipeggers pushed the official soundtrack into gold status in Canada by snatching up 20,000 copies. Then the star, Paul Williams, came and played a concert in Winnipeg not long after the movie finally closed there and got immediately mobbed by fans.
To this day, the legend of Phantom Of The Paradise persists. The movie's made irregular returns to Winnipeg theaters, there's a documentary about its phenomenon, and there have even been Phantom fan conventions, presumably held without a trace of irony.
"DIGNITY ALREADY SOLD OUT!"
While it would be fascinating to explore more deeply the phenomenon of a rock 'n' roll opera becoming a quasi-religion in a random Canadian city, any further investigation would require a visit to Winnipeg itself, which means this will remain a mystery forevermore.
Mark is on Twitter, has a book, and is huge in Romania.
Also check out 7 Things From America That Are Insanely Popular Overseas and 4 Types of Music That Are Bizarrely Popular Overseas.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out The 6 Most Surreal Celebrity Endorsements, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also, follow us on Facebook, and we'll follow you everywhere.