MURDER À LA MOD
1968, DistribPix, 80 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Rarely seen after its initial release in a single New York theater, Brian De Palma’s feature debut is a stylish murder mystery set in the adult-film business in 1960s New York City. Exhibiting many of the same styles and thematic preoccupations that the auteur would soon be famous for, the film is a thrilling homage to great genre films before it, equal parts Powell’s PEEPING TOM, Kubrick’s THE KILLING and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. The story begins when seedy filmmaker Christopher (Jared Martin) tries to trick his girlfriend, aspiring actress Karen (Margo Norton), into starring in one of his partner’s skin flicks. Obstructing his plans is the bizarre prankster Otto (William Finley), who stalks the building where they’re shooting. In Hitchcockian fashion, Christopher’s luck runs out when a series of seemingly unconnected events leads to a shocking murder scene.


PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


Syndicate content