For the first time in 20 years, the Phantom’s Revenge will be receiving a new paint job in the upcoming offseason. The Phantom has become an iconic part of Kennywood’s identity, regarded by some as the Pittsburgh park’s flagship ride. It was even ranked as the second-best coaster in the country by a poll conducted by USA Today.
Before the coaster would be graced with a fresh coat of paint, Kennywood fans were given the opportunity to vote on the color that would be chosen for the ride. Voters were given two choices: Terrifying Teal and Petrifying Purple.
Before I go any further, I feel obligated to clarify the context of my stance on this important vote. I, personally, place little nostalgia in the Phantom’s Revenge. I was not born in Pittsburgh, and even after I moved to Pennsylvania it took a few more years before I was comfortable enough with roller coasters that I was willing to ride the Phantom for the first time.
In other words, my opinion on the Phantom’s Revenge, and by extension its appearance, is not clouded by the fog of nostalgia or the tint of rose lenses. I am looking at this issue from a completely neutral, unbiased point of view, forming my opinion based on cold, hard facts.
With that said, I cannot fathom how anyone in their right mind would vote for Terrifying Teal. Currently, the Phantom’s Revenge is a greenish color, with Terrifying Teal being more of a new shade than a new color entirely.
Don’t get me wrong—I understand where this color is coming from. Green is often used in portrayal of ghosts, often being used in media as the color of ectoplasm (the material ghosts are made of which doesn’t really exist and just serves as a MacGuffin in most cases). When used on the Phantom, the green-teal color has a neon appearance that simulates the bioluminescent glow of a ghost.
However, that is not enough to justify Terrifying Teal as the color choice for the Phantom’s Revenge. The key here is the first part of the name—Phantom. When you think of a green ghost, what comes to mind? Slimer from Ghostbusters? Or maybe the Ghost of Captain Cutler from Scooby-Doo? Perhaps a Greenie from Luigi’s Mansion?
There is one thing that all of these ghouls have in common: They’re for kids. Green ghosts often aren’t as scary as they are comical. They’re spooky at best, in most cases. This is not the kind of energy that the Phantom’s Revenge should exude.
Despite what a dictionary might tell you, a phantom is not synonymous with a ghost. Consider the terms ‘beast’ and ‘animal.’ They both refer to the same things, usually, and are technically synonymous in their definitions. However, ‘beast’ carries a much more intimidating implied context, landing with much more weight than ‘animal.’ The same applies to ‘phantom’ and ‘ghost.’ A phantom, much like a beast, is much scarier.
As a result, it is entirely inappropriate for the Phantom’s Revenge to be demeaned with a teal or green color. These colors do not properly convey the terror that the Phantom is owed. If anything, they do a disservice to the Phantom’s Revenge, making it look like a much less intense ride than it truly is. Terrifying Teal is, ironically, not at all terrifying. The ride isn’t “Casper the Friendly Coaster.”
By contrast, Petrifying Purple much more effectively communicates the intimidating aura associated with the Phantom’s Revenge. Purple is a color associated with truly terrifying ghosts, phantoms included. Purple is a much darker color that implies the dark and mysterious nature of a spirit. When you stare into a deep coat of purple paint, the purple paint stares back.
Despite its lackluster name, Petrifying Purple much more effectively communicates the sheer terror and horror that comes with the Phantom’s Revenge. Fortunately, I am not alone in this opinion, as Petrifying Purple decidedly won the vote and will be the coaster’s new coat next year.
In my youth, I feared the Phantom. I respected it. However, my fear was not a result of the coaster’s neon green paint job, it was in spite of it. If a child like myself was frightened by the mere sight of the Phantom’s Revenge even with the bright green color, imagine the terror that today’s youth will experience when confronted with the Phantom’s Revenge in Petrifying Purple.