Paul Stanley Embraces Kiss’ ‘Phantom’ Film Like an ‘Ugly Child’
Paul Stanley of Kiss realizes the band's 1978 made-for-TV film Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park doesn't rank highly on all-time-best-movies lists. Still, recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “I embrace it like an ugly child.”
“You have to realize that we were like these imbeciles who got to take over the school," he explained. "We knew nothing about acting, nothing about filmmaking. We were sold the idea of the film in a sentence that was virtually ‘A Hard Day’s Night meets Star Wars.’ Well, it was far from either.”
The film, which aired on Oct. 28, 1978, featured each band member as a superhero of sorts using their respective stage names: Stanley as the Starchild, Gene Simmons as the Demon, Ace Frehley as the Spaceman and Peter Criss as the Catman. The group is tasked with battling evil inventor Abner Devereaux as it fights to save a California amusement park from being destroyed.
Stanley admitted that he doesn't remember much from the production process, but noted it was a particularly dramatic time for the band, which was at its commercial peak. But the members weren't exactly seeing eye to eye at the time. "I just remember at one point being on set at Magic Mountain and turning to my manager at the time, Bill Aucoin, and saying, 'I think this is going to be horrible,'" Stanley recalled. "And he said, 'Don’t worry.' You should never hear anybody say, 'Don’t worry.' You know?"
Watch Fight Scenes From 'Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park'
Stanley does, however, remember when the film was screened for the cast and crew. He was unimpressed but not distraught. "It was disappointing to me, but I certainly didn’t lose sleep over it," he said.
"Again, you’re dealing with four guys who had no concept of what making a film was, let alone what was entailed in acting. Literally, before each scene, we would yell out 'Line!' and they would feed us the line, and then they’d roll cameras."
Critics condemned the film, but fans couldn't have been happier with the results. "We were used to the sticks and stones that were thrown at us," Stanley said. "That was part of who we were and who we are. We’ve never played by the rules. Our only rule has always been no rules. We do what we want."