Director: Michele Soavi
Writers: Lew Cooper and Sheila Goldberg
Starring: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Mary Selleers, Giovanni Lombardo, Radice, Jo Ann Smith, Robert Gligorov, Piero Vida
Shameless Films is giving Michele Soavi’s gory slasher, Stagefright, the 4K treatment with a new Blu-ray release. It includes the classic slasher, as well as interviews with the director and actors. It’s a perfect end of year treat for old-school horror fans.
During rehearsals for a stage musical one of the actors, Betty (Ulrike Schwerk) is murdered outside, leading the director to lock everyone else in to keep them safe and to stop them from leaving so they continue their rehearsals. What they don’t realise, until it’s too late, that the killer is inside with them. One by one he hunts them down.
Stagefright is exactly what you’d expect from a slasher film. It’s full of brutal gory deaths, a large cast of characters that are little more than fodder for the killer. It’s not really doing anything special, but it’s got that 1980s charm that slasher fans will feel right at home with. The deaths are inventive and bloody. The characters are refreshingly smart for a slasher, they don’t act like complete idiots and the way they die is believable.
The director, Peter (David Brandon), is a controlling person who wants everything about his musical to be perfect. He sees Betty’s death as nothing more than an opportunity to make the musical an even bigger success. He changes the name of the villain to that of the suspected killer and out of fear that the cast will want to leave he asks his assistant to lock the place up and hide the key. While Peter is an extreme character, you know he has no reason to suspect the killer is inside with everyone else and everyone being locked in is completely believable. On paper it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it really does.
The opening of the film is really strange, in the best way possible. It starts with a rehearsal of a scene from the musical, presenting it as if it’s the film you’re watching, but everything looks like a little fake. The buildings look like something from the stage, so when the owl faced villain jumps out and a full dance number starts it’s shocking, not entirely unexpected, but really grabs your attention. It’s one hell of a memorable opening, and really gets you ready for something special. The rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to the opening, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Stagefright may not be the most well remembered slasher from the 1980s, but it’s a really good film and maybe a little bit of a hidden gem for horror fans. The new set is the perfect addition to any slasher fan’s collection.
Stagefright is on Blu-ray and digital on demand 27 December from Shameless Films