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Film / KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

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KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park is a 1978 Made-for-TV Movie which aired on NBC shortly before Halloween of that year. Produced by Hanna-Barbera (yes, that Hanna-Barbera, who treated the film as an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, and later had KISS guest star on the cartoon!) and starring the band KISS.

The story revolves around KISS playing a series of gigs at the Magic Mountain amusement park (now Six Flags, but they never address the park by its name in the movie) simply because the park needs more guests and the owners think the hottest band in the world will bring 'em in. This does not sit well with Abner Devereaux, the park's co-founder who makes animatronics and robots, which he takes pride in making and thinks they're the reason that people come. Abner decides to destroy KISS and/or the park itself, with help of Sam, a brainwashed park employee. It's up to KISS, with the help of their superpowers and Melissa, Sam's fiancée, to help stop Abner and save the park.

It was panned by fans and the band themselves upon release. It was later re-edited and released outside the United States as Attack of the Phantoms; this version can be found on the "Kissology Vol. 2" DVD set.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Amusement Park of Doom: A really lite version, more implied than seen.
  • Artifact of Power: The superpowers KISS possess are explained by their magic talismans.
    Catman: Without them, we're ordinary humans.
    Demon: Not ordinary.
    Catman: If they fell into the wrong hands...
    Demon: There are no right hands but ours. We must protect the power!
  • Attack Reflector: Paul can use his guitar thusly.
  • Ballroom Blitz: A variant; Abner's ultimate plan is to discredit KISS by using his robo-KISS to incite a riot during their concert at the amusement park.
  • Big Damn Heroes: KISS end up crashing their own concert to defeat Abner's evil robo-KISS.
  • The Cameo: "The Real" Don Steele (a popular radio DJ who appeared in A LOT of movies made in this time period!)
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The guys on Best of the Worst noted that KISS should have just paid the scientist for Robo-KISS and had them do their concerts for them, since they were identical to the band in every way.
  • Eyebeams: Paul's main power. He can even use them to eavesdrop (!).
  • Frame-Up: Abner sends a robot duplicate of the Demon out to smash up the park and rough up some security grunts. See also Ballroom Blitz.
  • Hanna-Barbera: One of their very few live-action offerings.
  • In a Single Bound: KISS (or at least their stunt doubles) can jump like Wonder Woman.
  • I Sense a Disturbance in the Force: When the brainwashed Sam bypasses the forcefield protecting KISS; talismans, they can instantly sense something is wrong but are unable to pin it down.
  • Jukebox Musical: The soundtrack consists mainly of old KISS songs, with some stock 70s action music mixed in. (There were apparently supposed to be some new songs featured, but they couldn't be worked in.)
  • Mad Scientist: Abner Devereaux invents lifelike androids and animatronics (and also has a way to put people under his electronic control) and seeks to avenge being fired.
  • Magical Eye: Paul Stanley's eye (the one with the star design around it) is this.
  • The Movie: For KISS.
  • Oh, Crap!: The band's reaction when Abner depowers them. The look on Gene's face when he fails to breathe fire is priceless.
  • Power Echoes: All of the Demon's dialog is overlaid with a reverb/distortion effect. Oddly, it doesn't apply to his singing voice, and none of the others have it either.
  • Pun: Peter Criss AKA Cat Man sprouts a lot of these of the feline variety
  • Re-Cut: as "Attack of the Phantoms".
  • Robotic Reveal: KISS discovers the robotic nature of their foes during the first big action sequence when they knock some android heads off. Of course, the audience is already aware of this plot point.
  • Stock Sound Effects: If you didn't know this was produced by Hanna-Barbera, the sound effects recycled from their cartoons will confirm it for you.
  • Teleportation: Ace's main power is his ability to zap the guys out of danger.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Chopper, Slime and Dirty Dee, the three punks who Abner dupes into going his haunted house
  • Tragic Villain: The "Attack of the Phantoms" cut attempts to make Abner seem like this, even playing a somber song (Gene Simmons' Mr. Make Believe) and showing him walking away alone over the end credits.
  • Verbal Tic: Ace barks out the word "Ack" a lot. Reportedly this is because he didn't take the scriptwriting sessions seriously; he would respond to all the writers' questions with "Ack", so they wrote it into his character.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Abner's main motive is his jealousy of KISS and he thinks nobody cares about his robots.