Hammer's 1962 version of The Phantom of the Opera was in interesting take on the Gaston Leroux story. By interesting I mean pretty much the only thing it shares with the source material is the name. Oh, and Christine is still Christine. But in this version, the Phantom is one Professor Petrie, a down on his luck composer who sells his life work to a shady Aristocrat for 50 Pounds. That shady Aristocrat, Lord Ambrose d'Arcy, played by the AWESOME Michael Gough, claims the work as his own, driving Petrie to madness.
After a fire, Petrie is thought dead, and d'Arcy is able to go on and live a life fulfillment and contentment. Until shit starts to go down at the Opera House where his new Opera (actually Petrie's) is about to premiere. Seems a ghost be haunting the place, a ghost who has taken an interest in the young inguene, Christine.
In this particular version, the Phantom is kind of an asshole. I mean, much more of an asshole than Chaney's phantom or any of the scores of others (can you believe Gerard Butler played the Phantom?) But he is still a sympathetic character of sorts who earns the trust of both Christine and her lover, Harry. Gough as d'Arcy is the real villain here. Unfortunately, I either got my hands on a chopped up version of the film or they just ran out of money, because d'Arcy never really gets his.
The only thing scary about this film is how bad the Opera they are producing is, and the strange editing. It feels like about 20 minutes is missing, which knowing how chopped Hammer films could get once they reached the states wouldn't surprise me. Still, it has that certain Hammer charm. This came on the same disk as Paranoiac. If you had to choose between the two, go with Paranoiac. You won't be sorry.