on 18 September 2014
This is a classic 80's slasher movie with a more than amazing Blu-ray release, basically the story is a group of young dancers are rehearsing for a play one night in an old theatre and get locked in while an escaped mental patient from the hospital has found his way inside and begins to kill them off nastily one by one! If you love the video nasty era and horror slasher movies from the 80's in general then this is a must have, great cast here too, the usual fodder for the killer mainly girls, plenty of great bloody kills all presented uncut, the movie has a great music score too, very erratic and over the top at times! Exposurecinema have done a top notch job of this release lets hope they do more of these classics.
Blu-ray picture looks brilliant. Has DVD version too.
UNCUT, comes with mini booklet about the film 22 pages.
Loads of very cool features including several cool documentaries lasting from 30 - 50 odd minutes.
English language, 90 minutes, REGION B only.
on 14 November 2012
The film opens with a troupe of actors rehearsing in the theatre late at night, it's a musical about a mass murderer known as The Night Owl. During rehearsal, one of the performers named Alicia sprains her ankle. Without telling the overbearing director, she and the wardrobe mistress, Betty, sneak out to go and see a doctor. The only place near by where a doctor would be is the mental hospital, so they decide to take a chance and go there. The doctor on duty decides to make an exception and agrees to help. Whilst there, Alicia asks about one of the patients and is told that it's the notorious mass murderer, Irving Wallace, an actor that went beserk and chopped sixteen people up into little pieces. Whilst Alicia was getting her ankle treated by the doctor, Wallace kills an orderly and puts him in his bed. The two girls leave and head back to the theatre, completely unaware that they're giving a lift to an extremely psychotic hitch-hiker. Once they arrive back, Alicia heads back in hoping the director hadn't realised she'd gone, leaving Betty to park the car. Alicia is then told by the smarmy director to go home, but to clean out her locker before she leaves. She packs her things and heads out to the car where she makes a gruesome discovery, Betty has taken a pickaxe through the face. She runs back inside and the police are informed, they seem certain the killer has left the area but a police car will be parked outside all night. The director being the kind-hearted man he is, decides to change the name of the killer in the script to Irving Wallace and asks everyone to stay behind and continue rehearsals, he also asks one of the actresses called Corinne to lock the door and hide the key. Once rehearsals start again, Brett who was meant to be wearing the giant owl head to play the killer, has been replaced by the real killer. He kills Corinne on stage infront of everyone as he was meant to, but only Alicia realises it's for real. With Corinne dead, no one can get out of the theatre. Their only option is to stick together and hope to survive, or to beat the killer at his own game.
Barbara Cupisti is pretty good as Alicia, she's a veteran of this type of film having appeared in Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper, Dario Argento's Terror at the Opera and a couple more of Michele Soavi's films. I really liked the way she played Alicia with inner strength, but also with vulnerability. David Brandon also plays his character of Peter the director quite well, he makes his character very unlikeable but manages to bring you around a little as the film progresses, despite being a little over the top in certain scenes. Every Italian horror fan will know exactly who Giovanni Lombardo Radice is, he's appeared in a lot of the best known Italian horror films and has even made a few appearances in US films in recent years. His most memorble roles were probably in his first four films, Cannibal Apocalypse, City of the Living Dead, The House on the Edge of the Park and Cannibal Ferox, all good films and well worth watching. I think the whole cast do a good job, director Michele Soavi even gives himself a small role as one of the cops who are parked outside the theatre.
Michele Soavi made his debut as a director with Stagefright, after working as an assistant director for five years for Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Joe D'Amato. I highly doubt that any of those could have directed the film any better than Soavi did, it's quite simply a brilliant debut. I feel quite sad that he only became a director right around the time Italian cinema was coming to an end, many of the best Italian directors from the previous twenty years or so had already retired or moved on to TV movies and TV shows by the late '80s, you could argue that Dario Argento's last really good film was Terror At The Opera from '87. Soavi went on to make the The Church in 1989, the strange but interesting The Sect in 1991 and the brilliant Dellamorte Dellamore aka Cemetery Man in 1994. I think it's fair to say that Soavi was probably the most successful director of horror films in Italy between 1987-1994, if only he had started directing ten years earlier I see no reason why he wouldn't be spoken about the way Argento and Fulci are. After the success of Dellamorte Dellamore he took five years off, he then returned to the wasteland that was Italian cinema and moved into low budget TV movies like most of the best directors, having his talent wasted. The music is outstanding and really helps the film to develop its claustrophobic atmosphere, and the killer wearing the giant owl head is creepy and inspired. There's also some really bloody moments in the film, but it's much more about atmosphere than blood and guts. It's also worth mentioning that it was produced by Joe D'Amato who directed many a smutty film but also some great films like Anthropophagus, Horrible and Beyond The Darkness. The script was written by George Eastman who was a fine actor who gave it up to become a full time writer, surely one of the most talented men in Italian movies. What was achieved for $1,000,000 was amazing.
The DVD is classic Blue Underground, it's another great film that's been beautifully transferred to DVD but lacks any sort of decent extras. The only extras are barely worth writing down, a trailer and a Michele Soavi biography. There's also no option to watch the film in Italian, which isn't a problem as most of the actors seem to be speaking English anyway, there's also no subtitles. Stagefright has more humour in the film than you would think, though that's mostly in the first half of the film. There's a particularly funny part right at the end involving a character called Willy, where he really enjoys repeating himself. I've also heard people call Stagefright a giallo, but to me it's not one. Giallo to me makes me think that the film is going to have some sort of mystery that's going to be solved by a character throughout the film, leading us on their journey to find the truth. There's nothing like that in Stagefright, so I think it should simply be called a horror. Stagefright won't be for everyone, but if you love European horror, you should love Stagefright.
on 22 September 2011
Regarded as a slasher flick but there is not that much slashing,more thudding pick axe!This film is frankly nuts but highly entertaining,and delivers violence wise,some great,inventively gruesome set piece killings,one of which is so surprising I'm tempted to turn spoiler but won't.It's the directorial debut from Italian Horror maestro Dario Argento's most prodigious pupil,Michele Soavi.I was inclined to give it 4 stars for lack of extras,it's a bear bones release,one of Blue Undergrounds earlier releases only offering a trailer&Soavi bio,and that's yer lot but what you do get is an uncut,region 0(usually listed as reg 1 but double check with seller)fantastically enjoyable slice of mayhem!.The murderer uses a Giant Owl mask/costume,I'm not sure of this but it must be the biggest head disguise in horror cinema,knocking off a crew of young actors rehearsing a musical(about a horror no less!)who look amusingly like failed auditions for 80s triple cheese fest"Fame",best of which is John Morgen who really is as camp as a row of pink tents,this is the hard man from Cannibal Ferox&equally,well more,demented guy in Cannibal Apocalypse,prancing and dancing in spandex,classic!The violence thus feels unexpectedly high,stylish but with a knowing sense of it's place,it's purpose is to entertain fans of crazy horror flicks and it's mission accomplished,never a dull moment,nothing complex,It's not"Dellamorte Dellamore"(aka Cemetery Man)or"The Church"(La Chiesa),great films by same director,Stagefright is very different with tongue firmly in cheek compared to the better known,far deeper and darker Soavi films I mentioned,just leave your brain at the door and be entertained!
UPDATE THIS IS FOR THE US REG 0 IT IS NOW AVAILABLE IN BLU RAY WITH ALL NEW FEATURES FROM UK FROM EXPOSURE CINEMA COMPLETELY UNCUT!,Amazon have a £20 tag but plenty sellers on hear for asking less than £10 inc P&P
on 22 October 2015
Stage Fright. R2 DVD, Scandinavian release. 1987.
The picture quality's terrific, widescreen 1.85:1, you
can also watch in 4:3 but you probably won't. Italian
horror where the killer stalks a stage musical production.
The owl mask is nice and different while the acting
varies, the films quite stylish & tense. Things are kept
lively with some decent gore fx. John Morghen provides
the laughs, great!. The films uncut.
Run time:1hr 30min 9sec. Extras:slideshow, John
Morghen text interview & Michele Soavi filmography.