1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fine addition to the giallo subgenre.,
This review is from: Stage Fright [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Stage Fright is the brilliant debut slasher/giallo film from Michael Soavi, it was also produced by joe d'amato's filmirage. A group of actors rehearsing a play about a nameless killer find a new name attatched to the character- Irving Wallace when Wallace escapes from the local mental hospital and kills a wardrobe mistress. The director locks everybody in the theatre overnight to rehearse the play so it can be brought forward to cash in on the murder publicity. But Irving Wallace gets locked in too and he wants to continue his killing spree. The key was hidden by his first victim. Despite the apparently cliche ridden plot this film really manages to shine. It has a bit of everything - strong gore, nice 80's music, great style and some real moments of tension and suspense. The Killer also wears this large owl mask which gives him this really ominous and creepy presence. You can tell that director Micheal Soavi learned alot from Dario Argento since he worked closely with him alot during his career, he was kind of like a protege. The setting is one of the better features of the film. The building is incredible, with several great stalking areas, long hallways, a huge stage for the production and so much more going on that there's a really great feel coming from the location. This one offers up many great moments from the location that really work well. This also has a great air about it, one that feels perfectly comfortable being such a film. It doesn't stay away from any of those typical clichés. This one gets sown and dirty with being a traditional slasher film. There's a whole lot to enjoy from this one due to how much it plays by the slasher rules. That means that it puts in appearances for almost everything the genre has to offer, and it makes the film seem that much more important because of it. This one also becomes more entertaining when it moves into the slasher territory, since this has plenty of goodness from its slasher moments. The stalking is among the best in the genre, as every single one is tense, exciting and wholly interesting, which is exactly what a stalking sequence should be. The chase up into the rafters is beyond glorious, as there's a long battle to get there, followed by several extended stalking scenes and there's even a couple of particularly brutal kills as well. This one gets more points for several scenes it doesn't seem obvious as to what's going to happen, and that is a fantastic skill to having in a film, much less several times within the same sequence. A later scene where the killer attacks a group of victims who have locked themselves inside a small room is another standout scene. The last really big plus is it's blood and gore. The kills here are out-and-out graphic, where one is pulled into view from below sawed in half at the waist with a chainsaw, repeatedly hacked with an ax, decapitated with an ax, drilled through the stomach with an electric drill, set on fire and stabbed in the stomach, among so much more. These here all make it that much more important. This is one of the best of the genre. Highly recommended to all Italian or giallo fans, as well as those into the late 80s slasher scene.