Julian Sands and Il Fantasma dell’ Opera

Like every other sentimental mooncalf who watched too many Merchant Ivory flicks as a young girl, I continue to allow the actor Julian Sands to occupy a very special place in my heart, despite everything. Never mind Warlock. Or Harem. Forget Boxing Helena and Biker Mice From Mars. Put these sundries from your minds, my dears. Recall only A Room With A View, and Sands’ convincingly heterosexual ravishing of Helena Bonham Carter in a field of poppies.* It remains, to this day, one of my top picks for Most Romantic Moment in Cinema (seconded only by this tender scene from Myra Breckenridge).

I also happen to be a HYOOOGE fan of the Italian horror director, Dario Argento, so when I heard that he and Sands worked together ten years ago on an adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera, I was quite curious! Why had I never heard about this movie before? Why?! I promptly Netflixed it.

“I gotta be MEEEEEEE.” Julian Sands in Il Fantasma.

Why, oh, why, indeed. Yes, Sands and Argento work seamlessly together… in a So-Bad-it’s-a-Festering-Masterpiece kind of way, their combined efforts cradling the budding psychosexual genius of Asia Argento like two slices of moldy sourdough bread wrapped around a generous dollop of indeterminate ooze in a rat salad sandwich.

The movie is quite long, and something tells me few of you will appreciate the full length version as much as I did. Luckily, Genevieve, a brilliant columnist over at Defenestration Magazine, has provided us with this MST3K-worthy “abridged version”. I laughed, I cried, it was better than… that other Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Enjoy:

Parts II and III under the cut.