While it failed when it hit the silver screen in 1996, The Phantom endures as a genre favorite for those who enjoy superhero and pulp-style movies. And on April 3, Hollywood in Toto published a retrospective on the film. The retrospective examined what worked and what didn’t. And there’s some interesting trivia in the piece as well.
Before I excerpt a bit of the HiT commentary (and link over to the rest of it), make sure you also check out “Four ‘90s Superheroes with Retro Roots.” It’s a piece I wrote for HiT in 2018, and I included The Phantom in it. So read it and find out my thoughts about the movie.
With that said, here’s a little bit from the April 3 retrospective at HiT on the Golden Age superhero.
In the vast history of comic book characters and their origins, The Phantom, also known as The Ghost Who Walks, is noted as being the first superhero to don a skintight costume.
The character, which was created by Lee Falk and first appeared in newspaper strips in 1936, also lives in a cave, rides a horse, battles pirates and evil doers and, indeed, wears purple spandex and a black mask. He also goes by the alternate identity of Christopher “Kit” Walker and wears a skull ring to signify his secret life as…The Phantom.
Billy Zane stars as the title character, who battles the Sengh Brotherhood, which includes smugglers, politicians and pirates. He also aides and protects Diana Palmer (Kristy Swanson) as she finds herself entangled in the devious intentions of Xander Drax (Treat Williams).
Simon Wincer’s “The Phantom” (1996) is the first and, to date, the only big-budget film adaptation of the character. Aside from appearing in the “Defenders of the Earth” animated series, the character has no other recent appearances in film or television.
While the film was an instant flop in theaters, it has amassed a large cult following.
Click over to HiT to read the rest on why The Phantom endures as a genre favorite.
Top Image: Still from “The Phantom,” via IMDB.