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Theatre Phantom

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Elegance and terror in one package

The Phantom of the Opera, based off the book and play, is a considered by many to be one of the best movies of all time due to its gripping combination of drama and horror. The title character himself is very intriguing, being a masked madman with a lot of tragedy and sadness has made him one of the most iconic villains (if not characters) in movie lore.

As with most successes, the concept of a "phantom of the X" has since been used countless times since its introduction. In comparison to the original, characters based on the Phantom are often varied. Sometimes they are a Captain Ersatz, sometimes they're a thoughtful parody of their inspiration, but they often share a few key features:

  1. The character will almost always wear some kind of mask.(Oftentimes people forget the original novel's Phantom had a full black mask; the movies and the play made the popular White Mask of Doom a staple.) Usually this mask covers only half of the character's face, but full masks aren't unheard of.
  2. The Theatre Phantom will often haunt a place of entertainment, with live action theaters being the most commonly used as the characters stomping grounds because the Phantom can potentially harm the people who attend, as well as damage the establishment's revenue and reputation. Sometimes, they aren't associated with a single location at all.
  3. The Theatre Phantom will either be depicted as a Badass Normal, or actually BE a supernatural creature when finally confronted.
  4. They'll often be dressed in evening clothes.
  5. They tend towards being a Large Ham, due to where they dwell and the efforts they make to inspire fear.

If a character like this does appear, don't expect much reference to the original story. The Theatre Phantom may act similar to the Trope Namer in the original story, but often the other characters and the plot of the original work will never be alluded to at all.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, the episode "Vissi d'arte, Vissi d'amore" centers around one. He turns out to be the boyfriend of the opera singer Aiyan, who is living underground with him since people wouldn't approve their relationship.

    Comic Books 
  • The Elseworlds story Batman: Masque has 1890s version of Batman fighting a villain called the Phantom who is terrorising the ballet. The Phantom is Harvey Dent, once a proud and accomplished dancer, who was horribly scarred on stage when his costume caught fire from one of the stagelights. He is now obsessed with up and coming ballerina Laura Avian, and will do anything to make her happy. Even commit murder.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jason and Marcus of FoxTrot once wanted to go to start attending the opera. Andy saw they were up to this, since they made the mistake of applying the Phantom's well-known mask before asking her for permission.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Phantom of the Paradise, a disfigured composer writes his music for a woman he loves so that she will perform his music. However, a record producer betrays him and steals his music to open his rock palace, The Paradise. Betrayed, the composer dons a new appearance and exacts revenge on the producer.

  • The Trope Maker is, of course, The Phantom of the Opera, with its subsequent film and theatre adaptations keeping the archetype in the public eye.
  • Goosebumps: In The Phantom of the Auditorium, Brooke Rogers and Zeke Matthews are chosen to play Esmeralda and The Phantom in their school's version of The Phantom of the Opera, but a chain of accidents impede production and threaten to have Zeke kicked off the cast.
  • Maskerade presents the Discworld's take on The Phantom of the Opera, with the mysterious 'Opera Ghost' haunting the Ankh-Morpork Opera House. Ultimately there turns out to be two different Opera Ghosts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", Magnus Greel is a disfigured genius dwelling the cellars of a theatre; his mangled face concealed by a mask. Occasional sightings of him by the theatre staff give rise to a belief that the theatre is haunted.
  • The Dingo Principle had a sketch parodying The Phantom of the Opera and then-current events in Australian politics with a theatre phantom dropping a Falling Chandelier of Doom on members of the Liberal Party.
  • Uncle Deadly in The Muppet Show. In episode 121, he is "the Phantom of the Muppet Show". One by one, the Muppets tell Kermit that they have seen a phantom, but Kermit refuses to believe them until he sees Uncle Deadly with his own eyes. Once revealed, Uncle Deadly explains that he used to perform at the Muppet Theater, where he played Othello until he was killed... by the critics.
  • The villainous "Phantom of Vaudeville" and his ventriloquist dummy, Elmo, as featured on The Ghost Busters may be a reference to the Phantom, as both are masked, and, as Kong notes, "the only way to send a Phantom back is to unmask him."

    Video Games 

    Western Animation