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Nightmare Fuel / The Phantom of the Opera

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The Novel:


The 1925 Silent Film:

Has its own page.

The 1943 Film:

  • Claudin snaps when he accuses the publisher of plagiarizing his music and strangles him to death. Immediately afterward, the publisher's wife throws etching acid in Claudin's face and he screams in agony.

The 1962 Hammer Horror Film:

Has its own page.

The 1989 Film:

Has its own page.

The Musical:

  • While there are charges of Lighter and Softer leveled at the musical, there are several sections that are extremely dark and frightening, such as:
    • The Phantom’s first appearance, when his face slowly becomes visible in Christine’s mirror.
    • A freakishly realistic doll in the Phantom’s lair, who looks identical to Christine and even moves, making Christine faint.
    • The Phantom laughing wildly as he makes Carlotta croak. He already sounds completely insane - "Behold! She is singing to bring down the chandelier!!!" - and takes malicious, gleeful delight in humiliating the poor woman.
    • The ballet scene that immediately follows this, as he casts ominous shadows on the backdrop, the dancers get more and more frightened and agitated, and the music more sinister. If you haven't seen the show before, you're just waiting for something horrible to happen; if you have seen it before, you're waiting for Joseph Buquet to be hanged from his Punjab lasso.
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    • Just after the sweet love song "All I Ask Of You" is over and Christine and Raoul depart — the Phantom emerges from behind the statue of the angel, having heard everything. Audiences have been known to gasp in horror, knowing that the man who's already killed tonight has heard everything...
    • The chandelier first shaking as the Phantom screams in rage, and then swinging down from the rafters into the stage, appearing to nearly hit the characters. Even if you know what's coming it's still a terrifying sight (particularly if you're sitting in the stalls near the stage).
      • The famous chandelier scene was altered in the Las Vegas production, where it's moved from the end of Act 1 to the end of "Point of No Return" (like the 2004 film). But it doesn't swing into the stage as per tradition; instead, it drops right into the audiencenote . Audience members who were lucky enough to be sitting right below the chandelier were in for quite a treat, to say the least (there were even reports of people jumping out of their seats to get out of the way!)
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    • Depending on the actors, the majority of the second act is Nightmare Fuel because the audience gets the sense that the Phantom is hiding somewhere close by, ready to strike.
    • The scene where Christine publicly unmasks the Phantom, the authorities try to shoot him down and stage workers discover Piangi’s strangled corpse.
    • The Phantom attacking Raoul in the cemetery, hurling fire all over the stage while cackling madly and daring Raoul to come closer.
  • The soundtrack of the original London production has Carlotta about to sing "Think of Me", only to be interrupted by the shrill screams of the ballet dancers. This wouldn't have been too out of the ordinary in the context of the show itself (see previous entries), but it's especially startling to hapless listeners that have their guard down while listening to the soundtrack, not expecting any of the show's scares to creep into the soundtrack. The effect is exacerbated by how "Think of Me" is one of the most gentle songs in the soundtrack.
  • The Lloyd Webber Phantom is the scariest of them all for one simple reason: Strip away the deformity, the genius, all the iconography, and you are left with someone we have known—or been—at some point in our lives. A workplace bully; a fella who steadfastly refuses to take a hint; a would-be lover who puts on a façade, and who would do anything for love except for "All I Ask Of You"...

The 2004 Film: