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KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park
(1978 TV Movie)
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How Could This Movie Have Been Made Better?
Gene Simmons, The Demon
Paul Stanley, The Star Child
Ace Frehley, The Space Ace
Peter Criss, The Cat Man
Anthony Zerbe as Dr. Abner Deveraux
KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978):
Good idea, bad execution. It figures this was a Hanna-Barbera
production. It has all the depth of a Scooby-Doo cartoon.
First of all, it was cool to make a movie with KISS in the leading
role. KISS as superheroes? Why not? Their
larger-than-life, comic book look fits the concept of a superhero movie
like a glove. As a matter of fact, Marvel Comics had a successful
KISS series at the time, so a KISS film COULD have been a great
success, and could have led to a series of films. Unfortunately,
this movie, and the overall reaction from its viewers, killed any
chances of KISS returning in TV or feature films as action
heroes. I think it's sad, and that they should have been given a
second chance to redeem themselves, because KISS in movies seems a
The movie is not THAT bad. But it could have
been a lot better. The general idea is cool. KISS is a rock
band that has super powers, given to them by four magic
talismans. The origin of their powers is unclear, but we're to
assume there is an outer space connection. They come to an
amusement park for a three-day concert, only to cross paths with Dr.
Abner Deveraux: designer of the park with a keen interest in
robotics. Deveraux is a mad scientist who uses his lifelike
androids to turn the theme park upside down. Quite simply, KISS
battles the scientist and his robots in the park. KISS wins, the
scientist dies, and everybody else has a rockin' good happy ending.
- KISS as superheroes is a great concept for a
- Humor in the movie kept it light and enjoyable.
- I like the fact that kids could watch this
movie. It was clean, with no gore.
- The general idea of KISS battling a mad scientist
who makes robots is appealing.
- The KISS concert performances are the best
moments from the movie. The stage theatrics shown here are a lot
better done than most of their filmed concerts from the era.
- The special effects are great, for the most part.
- The filming is good and the sets are nice.
How Could This Movie Have Been
- ALL music in this movie should have been KISS
music. The only time we hear KISS music is when they perform in
front of someone, and one time where we hear "Christine Sixteen" being
played on the radio early in the movie. The rest of the music is
real garbage, cartoony disco music. It didn't even fit KISS at
that time, because they hadn't yet come out with their short-lived
- The dialogue in this movie, especially that of
the KISS members, is painfully ignorant. These guys aren't actors
(although Gene would later become a great actor in films). They
should have been allowed to be themselves. I think they could
have improvised better lines.
- So many things in the story are poorly explained
or not explained at all. The biggest standout is: How does
Deveraux grow long white hair and die? What exactly happened to
bring about this fate?
- There is too much hand-to-hand fighting from
KISS. It's clear that these guys are not martial artists; the
fight scenes are too wooden. Since they are cosmic superheroes,
they should have done more with their powers, rather than act like four
guys in a bar fight. This also would have made KISS look more
superior and intimidating.
- KISS and hot-looking women are synonymous.
Not even one of the KISS members was shown with a foxy woman. The
female lead was already going out with a guy who worked at the
park. At least one of the KISS guys should have had some
interaction with a woman, even if it was of minimal importance to the
- Gene's voice was incoherent for most of the
movie, because they used a synthesizer to make him sound more
demonic. Most of the time, Gene's dialogue consisted of growls,
which comes off stupid.
Besides my thoughts in THE CONS, I think the writers
were too ambitious for an hour-and-a-half TV movie. A mad
scientist who uses androids to terrorize a park is a story within
itself. There was so much that could and should have been
explained. Dr. Abner Deveraux could have carried the movie
himself, and been given more character definition. This movie, as
it is, doesn't spell out a very clear motivation for Abner. Just
that he's a "very bad boy".
KISS should have been given a much more simple
story, so that the movie could have focused more on KISS. In this
film, we have to wait a long time before we see KISS because it is too
busy setting up the back story. I think a better story would have
been KISS fighting vampires, or a wolfman, or a ghost. Even the
idea of evil KISS clones (which WAS used in this movie) would have been
good if they were just written as visitors from space or something like
that. In other words, the story used in this movie was too darn
complicated to be sufficiently explained away in 90+ minutes.
This is basically a KISS commercial, and it should have been treated as
just an extended music video. If someone behind this movie had
that foresight, this would have been a great success that the band and
the fans could have been proud of today.
I also believe the characters of KISS in this movie
needed more interaction with other characters in this film. Their
only contact outside of themselves is with the girl, Melissa, who is
looking for her missing boyfriend. They didn't do anything with
the cops, the park owner, even the mad scientist! And, what the
heck, KISS didn't have a manager or agent? Who is the go-between
for KISS and the rest of the world?
If KISS was given a better script, they could
have made a movie that would have blown our doors off!
This movie was rushed in production, and it shows. The members of
KISS were simply instructed to do their parts on the spot. They
didn't even know how the movie was going to end.
KISS had planned to write and perform ALL of the music in this film,
but due to time limitations they could not.
The cartoony, disco music used during fight scenes was an attempt to
give this film a lower certification rating so children could watch
this film. KISS is noted for its rather "adult" lyrics.
Peter Criss' voice was dubbed. Like Ace Frehley at the time,
Criss was becoming a problematic member of the band and refused to show
up in post-production to re-record some of his lines.
Ace Frehley's stuntman was African-American, so we can
see Ace go from white-to-black-to-white a number of times. Ace
did not always show up on set like he was supposed to, so the stuntman
had to do some of the acting. The voice was later dubbed over to
sound like Ace during these parts. Whether Ace himself recorded
this dialogue, or if a soundalike was used, is still up for debate.
The late Brion James, movie bad guy mainstay, is in this movie as one
of the anonymous park guards.
All four members of KISS absolutely hate this movie and slam it to this