When I was still a gothic teenager, I was visiting my grandmother and asked her about a movie I had seen clips of at her house when I was a child. It was The Phantom of the Opera. I was then informed that one of my older cousins had watched it so many times that she had ruined the VHS tape. I expressed sadness over it, because I had already tried to get my hands on a copy and failed. When I was 16, my grandma surprised me by bringing me a copy she had made from off the TV. I was so moved. Seriously – it was intensely thoughtful (just as a P.S. to everyone – always be mouthy about the things you want – someone might make your dreams come true).
Anyway, I watched it and discovered that I found the ending where the Phantom gets shot indescribably satisfying. I wish I had been able to enjoy the film more since my grandma went to so much effort, but really … when he dies – I’m relieved. What can I say? I don’t really sympathize with murderers. But even though the Phantom is not a great character to root for, he wears that gorgeous mask and sings with that gorgeous voice and all the female population is swept away. If he’d left his mask on like V in V for Vendetta I’ll bet he would have got the girl.
The other day, a French film came out on Netflix called A Monster in Paris. It’s a cute little G rated animated film and it made me so happy. It’s like someone took The Phantom of the Opera and said to themselves, “I’m going to take all the stupid out of this.” And they did! Seriously, it was marvelous.
But women who are enchanted by the idea having a lover who is kind of monstrous will be disappointed. It’s obviously a pretty popular theme. I’m the type who likes the story of Cupid and Psyche more than Beauty and the Beast even though one is based off the other. It’s just that Cupid is not a monster even though Psyche and everyone else believe that he is. Actually he has no horns, claws, tentacles, extra arms, fangs or bat wings. Just being ridiculously good looking doesn’t seem to win many points these days.
And it’s not that I don’t like stories where guys turn into dragons (Spirited Away) or where men have to be highly mutilated in order to die (Highlander) or where men are dead throughout the whole love story (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir). The Phantom’s haggard appearance was not what repelled me. It’s not even that he has a tortured soul (women love men with tortured souls). It’s that he kills people for basically no reason. I just don’t have a soft spot for that.