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Theatre Phantom

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Elegance and terror in one package

The Phantom of the Opera, based on the book and play, is 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.note  The mask usually covers some kind of gruesome deformity, though as with the original Phantom, the derivative characters have gotten Progressively Prettier over the years.
  2. The Theatre Phantom will often haunt a place of entertainment, with live action theaters being the most commonly used as the character's 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.
  6. They may play scary music on a pipe organ.

If a character like this does appear, don't expect many other references 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 
  • In All-Ghouls School, minor student Christine is implied to be the niece of the original.
  • The Elseworlds story Batman: Masque has an 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 stage lights. He is now obsessed with up and coming ballerina Laura Avian and will do anything to make her happy. Even commit murder.
  • In Detective Comics (Rebirth) #950 Cassandra Cain is shown to live in the attic of the Gotham opera house, giving rise to a rumor that it is haunted due to her eerie, stitched-up black mask, and she has taken a particular interest in a ballerina named Christine. The allusion is very obvious, though unlike usual examples she is both silent and entirely benign.
  • The Judge Dredd story "Phantom of the Shoppera" features a phantom that hits all the marks, except for haunting a shopping mall instead of a theatre. It's also a robot.

    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 Bruiser, Henry becomes one during the company's masquerade. Having organised the masquerade, he attends dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, incorporating his white mask of doom. As usual, most people fail to notice him. He then skulks around backstage and uses the props he arranged to be present to take his revenge on Miles Styles.
  • 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.

  • Angels of Music features Erik, the original Phantom of the Opera, now seemingly immortal and still dwelling beneath the Paris Opera House. Although he now largely delegates things to his Angels of Music, the climax shows that he can still haunt a theatre with the best of them and instill terror into his enemies.
  • Goosebumps: In 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.
  • Monster of the Year: One makes a brief cameo in one scene. He has exactly one line of dialogue, suggesting they try to improve their reputations via an appearance on Broadway, and is never specifically mentioned again.
  • 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.
  • The Trapdoor Daemon in The Vampire Genevieve by Kim Newman, who haunts Detlef Sierck's theatre, and has his own box. This being Warhammer he is much more deformed than the original, with warpstone having transformed him into something utterly inhuman.

    Live-Action TV 

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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.


    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: When Gil is listing the threats he had to rescue Deliberately Distressed Damsel Zola from, one of them is "some overly dramatic maniac who lived in the Paris Opera House", who is depicted as a theatre phantom playing a bass drum.

    Web Original 
  • Neopets had a Phantom who lived in a chapel, waiting for his long-lost love, Riyella. Takes cues specifically from Lloyd Webber's version.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


The Phantom

The Phantom is an obstructive force that has wreaked havoc within Gloria's mind.

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