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35 Years Ago: ‘Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park’ Released

Looking for a great… well, good… OK, really cheesy science fiction rock and roll movie to watch on Halloween? Well, you can always travel back in time with ‘Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park,’ which debuted 35 years ago this season as one of NBC’s “Movies of the Week” and is now available on DVD. 

If you weren’t watching your television set that infamous night (Oct. 28) in 1978, consider yourself in the minority. Kids all over America anticipated this film for weeks, trick or treating became secondary. In some countries overseas, it was even released in movie theaters under the name ‘Attack of the Phantoms.’

Kiss were at the top of their game by this point. There was no escaping them (not that you wanted to) and the only territory left for them to conquer was the movies. Based on the superhero-like characters they played in their concerts — Paul Stanley (Starchild), Gene Simmons (Demon), Ace Frehley (Spaceman) and Peter Criss (Catman) — the band set out to battle the wicked inventor Abner Devereaux and his “evil” robot version of the band, all to save a California amusement park from destruction.

Though horror director Gordon Hessler and producers Hanna-Barbera were involved, the film just couldn’t be saved. There was an initial excitement about seeing the band on television, but it soon became painfully obvious that Kiss fared better as musicians than actors — even the biggest of fans admitted ‘Kiss Meets the Phantom’ just didn’t cut it. The band was embarrassed by the end result, but, as tends to happen with such odd projects, the film is now regarded as a cult classic.

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