Monday, February 6, 2012

Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park - 2 out of 5

When I was a small child, my father instilled two things into me, a love for kick-ass music and a love for movies.  One day, he sat me down and pull this gem out of the cabinet and set it into the VCR and, even as a little boy, I found myself saying, "What the hell is this crap?"

Seriously, what the hell is this crap?  This is the film's villain.

In 1978, the rock band Kiss was at the height of their popularity and long before we truly understood the depths they would dive in the ocean of marketing and selling out, they agreed to be a part of a Hanna-Barbera produced film that starred them, as themselves with superpowers.  The end result was something that even the band has denounced and proclaimed they despise.  Shocking considering that they green lit the Kiss Kasket.

That wasn't a joke.  This actually exists.

The story goes as follows:  An amusement park is going to host the band in order to sell tickets to kids, mostly the Kiss Army.  However, the tortured genius behind the park's state-of-the-art animatronics (nothing really "state-of-the-art" about them as they are actually just human actors doing bad robot impressions) is livid with this as he feels it hurts the integrity of the park.  So, being the tortured genius he is, he decides to use his creations to destroy the band and replace them with his own robots in order to get the fans riled up and riot, causing destruction to the park he lost control of.  Oh, also Kiss has special powers.

Isn't that adorable...Gene is pretending to be menacing.

Yep, that's the movie...and Kiss agreed to it.  But, in they're defense, they did so without reading the script.

Meanwhile Paul is looking FABULOUS!!!

The film was hated by the band, fans and regular joe-shoes who had the opportunity to watch it when it first aired on TV.  However, like all things hated, over the years, it developed a cult following and people have come to love it for ironic reasons, albeit less pretentious ironic reasons--we're not PBR swilling hipsters here.  However, despite the fact that the film has a huge underground following, it's nearly impossible to find on DVD--at least the US edit of the film.  I'm a proud owner of a VHS copy (which I inherited from my father) and just recently, got my hands on a DVD versions that was edited for foreign markets.

I'm not entirely sure what Ace is doing in this scene.  I think the Best Boy brought in his new baby boy
and the man from space is making faces at him...and Peter looks like he's ready to catch a football.

You're probably asking yourself, "Other than the stupid story, what else is wrong with this film?"  How about everything!  The acting, especially by the band is just awful.  In fact, Ace Frehley was such a terrible actor and an unreliable presence on set that he wasn't given a lot of lines and often has his stunt double doing his scenes--and his stunt double was African-American!  That's right, if you look closely, you can actually see Space Ace turn from white to black to white.  

You did hear me say that Kiss has magic powers in this right?

The audio is terribly re-dubbed and, even more amusing, Peter Criss refused to re-dub his audio and all his lines were done by voice actor Michael Bell, who you might recognize from the animated program hit from the 80s called Transformers.

"Boy, people are sure easy to pick up when they're connected by strings to a pulley system."

Kiss is made to look like a bumbling bunch of crime-solvers as they try to figure out what is going on in the park and is one of the biggest complaints the band had about the movie.  But should this have really been a surprise?  Hanna-Barbera produced this, we should just count ourselves lucky that Gene Simmons didn't say, "jinkies."

Wow!  That's...something.
However, the true thing that makes the film hard to sit through is two fold:  The silly, cartoon special effects and the fact the movie clearly didn't know how to end.  After the robot-maker guy (who, I guess is suppose to be the Phantom but the film never makes that clear) kidnaps Kiss and replaces them and when they break free and stop these impostures, the man dies.  Withers and dies.  How?  How the hell should I know because it's never explained.

Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park is crap, but golden crap.  The movie is awful and not a single aspect of the movie works--not even the great Kiss tracks added to the film.  Somehow, the movie's level of suck is able to obliterate the amount of rock we know Kiss is capable of.  However, in its wake of death and destruction, this film leaves a wasteland of humor and hilarity that makes the journey of trying to find this gem completely worth it.  Why isn't MTV or VH1 playing this movie for 24 hours one day a year like TBS does with A Christmas Story?

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