Thursday, October 25, 2018

Movie Review: "StageFright" (1987)

Director: Michele Soavi
Year: 1987
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A group of theater actors gets locked in an auditorium during a rehearsal with an escaped homicidal psychopath begins a murder spree, slaughtering them one by one.

Stagefright 1987 movie still
"A whore! You're supposed to be a whore! Is that so much to ask?!" (Image Source)
"StageFright" takes the phrase "break a leg" literally and adds "slice a throat," "dismember a body," and "get gutted like a fish" for good measure. "StageFright" is an Italian slasher film directed by Michele Soavi, who has helmed other horror films like "The Church," "The Sect," and "Cemetery Man." It is written by George Eastman with dialogue by Sheila Goldberg. The story revolves around a theater troupe working on a horror show musical. When one of the actors hurts her ankle, she goes to the nearest hospital to get it checked out. It happens to be a mental hospital, but hey, they have doctors, right? While there, a homicidal maniac escapes and hides out in the back seat of the car of the injured actress. He then sneaks into the theater and begins picking off the actors one by one.
Stagefright 1987 movie still
"Do we carry on, or do we all go home?" (Image Source)
"StageFright" has a basic story, one that has been used in many horror films. An escaped lunatic goes on a murder rampage. Simple, right? The things we look for in slasher movies are whether or not has a proper atmosphere, ample amounts of tension, we care about how are death scenes are handled and want to make sure the screen presence of the antagonist has the right creep factor. In "StageFright," what sets it apart from other movies like it is the killer, who dons an owl costume meant for the antagonist of the stageplay this theater troupe is rehearsing. It may be a little strange that the killer is wearing an owl head, but we found this to be extremely effective and even a little disturbing at times. The killer gets creative in how he attacks his victims, too. Sometimes, he kills people with a knife, but he quickly moves on to other more intimidating weapons like chainsaws or pickaxes. Some of the murders are done in spectacular fashion as limbs and heads go flying frequently. There also seems to be some weirdly dark humor going on. The whole time the killings are happening, two police officers are stationed outside but are completely oblivious to everything happening inside the theater. In fact, until they are shown again at the end, we totally forgot they were there in the first place.
Stagefright 1987 movie still
"He's enjoying himself! Do you realize he's enjoying himself?!" (Image Source)
Overall, we were extremely entertained by "StageFright." It isn't all that groundbreaking and the characters are thinly written, but Soavi creates enough striking visuals and an overall fun aesthetic that kept us watching and waiting to see what would happen next. This movie should please most horror fans. 

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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