Sunday, January 26, 2014
KISS MEETS The PHANTOM of The PARK
KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park is a 1978 TV movie. The film starts a little slow while it gets the other characters in the movie, besides KISS, introduced to the audience. Once KISS starts appearing in the film, it's like a train wreck that has come off the rails, which in this case is a lot of fun.
The park referred to in the title is an amusement park (actually Magic Mountain) and the creator (Anthony Zerbe) of the park has gone loopy and became obsessed with turning people into cyborgs. While he's never actually referred to as The Phantom, he does have an underground lair where he performs all his devious misdeeds. Having KISS perform at the park is the last straw for The Phantom and he plans to discredit them. The first thing he does is make a robotic copy of Gene Simmons and have it wreck a Coke stand (one of many bad F/X in the movie, since it's obvious the stand is made out of Styrofoam). As a side note, Coke must have sponsored some of the movie, since their product shows up throughout the film. The Phantom's final plan is to make KISS duplicates and have these clones cause a riot at the final concert where they will sing "Rip and Destroy" and the fans, being mindless idiots in his opinion, will go wild and destroy the park.
KISS, according to this film (which borrows from the KISS comics), are not only a rock band, but they also have super powers. These special powers have been granted to them by secret talismans, which they carry around in a briefcase. Each member has a name to reflect his unique power. Gene Simmons is Demon and he growls instead of talks most of the time and can also shoot fire out of his mouth. Peter Criss is Cat Man and he can jump really high. Ace Frehley is Space Ace and can teleport the group. Paul Stanley is Star Child and can shoot lasers from his eyes. The craziest two scenes in the film (among many crazy scenes) are when KISS fight an army of white cat robots and when KISS fight their robotic selves near the end of the movie. In both these scenes, all the KISS members get to use their special powers.
KISS have distanced themselves from this movie and for good reason. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, the plot is ludicrous. If I said the members of KISS and their acting ability was abysmal, I would still be too kind. In recent years KISS has released the European version of this film on KISS: Kissology Volume Two, but to see the original US TV version, you'll need to either buy a used vhs (fairly inexpensive) or get a copy from the grey market. Over the years, I've watched a lot of movies that were billed as "so bad, they're good". Some actually turned out to be good and some just turned out to be god awful bad, but KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park is truly "so bad. it's good".