One thing that is quite noticeable is that Argento did not cast a classically-trained opera singer as the lead...well, opera singer. Of course, we all know why he cast who he did. To be fair, she does lip sync pretty convincingly. Another change is that he does not help her learn to be a better singer. Why this omission is made is completely beyond me. I have never been one to question Argento's ways. Well, okay, I do question why he casts his daughter in the lead when said role 'requires' there to be a rape scene of sorts (both in Stendhaal and this film). Then again, this is the guy who had his eldest daughter 'killed off' in the beginning of Phenomena and has 'killed' his ex-wife on at least three occasions.
The climax of the film is pretty much what you would expect, although with an interesting twist or two. The Phantom actually sends Asia and the royal off to safety as he dies in battle with the police. Why? Because he is afraid that they will kill her off now that they know she has been involved with himself. Incidentally, he actually gives up on Asia and lets her be with the other man. This is another change in the story that you just sort of have to deal with. Dramatically, the pair row off to safety as our heroine cries out in anguish. The End.
I may get some flack for this, but I did not hate this movie. Is it as good as Suspiria or Tenebre? No, not really. Is it a bit silly that Asia plays the lead role here? Maybe a little. I think Julian Sands did a really good job in his role, despite it being a departure from the usual version we get. One curious thing is that the 80s version is actually bloodier than this one. To be fair, the atmosphere and setting is much better done in this version though. It is helped by not actually being shot on a Universal sound stage or anything like that. Moments in the film have the Argento flourish, but many of them are just dirty and grimy. The film is mostly set in a sewer though. Anyone who thinks that Argento has lost his touch in the wake of this film needs to watch The Mother of Tears or Do You Like Hitchcock. Even at nearly 70, the man has still got it. Everyone just has bad times, even directors of classic films. Does Alexander ring a bell?
To finish out the trilogy, one more classically-trained director takes his shot at the tale. This one does have singing...just not the kind that you would think. Stay tuned...