The Terrifying First Film from the Director of THE CHURCH and CEMETERY MANWhile a group of young actors rehearse a new musical about a mass murderer, a notorious psychopath escapes from a nearby insane asylum. But when the... more » show's director locks his cast in the theater overnight, the madman is accidentally locked inside as well. Now, a killer with acting in his blood has gone berserk for the blood of actors (including several scenes that EuroHorror fans worldwide consider to be the most violent of the decade) and the stage is set for one unforgettable evening of shock, suspense and unstoppable carnage.STAGEFRIGHT marked the stunning directorial debut of Dario Argento protege Michele Soavi and instantly sealed his reputation as the leader of Italian horror's new generation of filmmakers. Also know as AQUARIUS, DELIRIA and BLOODY BIRD, this brutal shocker has been restored from original Rome vault materials and is presented unrated, uncensored and totally uncut.« less
"I bought "Stagefright" because it had been reviewed/advertised as a giallo. I was disappointed to learn that it is not. A giallo involves an unknown murderer who is systematically killing people for a reason other than that he/she is insane. Usually, they kill for revenge or to prevent a past crime of theirs from coming to light. In "Stagefright," the killer's identity is known - an escaped psychotic killer. And, he, like Jason Voorhees, merely wants to kill as many people as he can.
"Stagefright" does have a high body count and the death scenes are gruesome. However, few, if any of the death scenes were truly original. I felt like I was watching "Slumber Party Massacre" in which the killer slaughters innocent girls, without reason, with a portable drill. It also reminded me of Jason Voorhees of "Friday the 13th" with his hockey mask and machete. The girl being ripped in half and her torso pulled upward into the room above, reminded me of "Alligator" where the police officer in the water is bit in half by the giant alligator and his torso is lifted up out of the water and pulled into the boat.
I kept expecting a twist ending that would make me feel that I didn't waste my money. I expected to learn that the killer was not the escaped psychopath but one of the cast members or stage hands who wanted the play to fail; therefore proving that this was a true giallo. Unfortunately, that twist ending never came. The escaped psychopath was the only killer.
The play that the performers were rehearsing was very strange. It involved too much glamorization of rape. It wasn't anything that I would pay to see.
"Stagefright" had potential to be much better than it was. Unfortunately, it was merely a collage of slasher flicks from the grand slasher era that was winding down when "Stagefright" was released in 1987.
Overall, the movie was entertaining if you like slasher flicks from the 80`s. I did jump a couple of times. Furthermore, Michele Soavi, the director, of "Stagefright" learned his craft from Dario Argento and Mario Bava`s son, Lamberto Bava. For that reason alone, I am giving the movie three stars in lieu of two. "
Great giallo/slasher combination!
Slasher Movie Fan | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great giallo/slasher hybrid movie! The murders were a little tame though, they weren't that brutal at all (in my opinion) You always see that kind of stuff in slasher movies. The setting of the movie was great! Overall great giallo/slasher hybrid movie, check it out!"
Michael A. Mccullough | Delaware | 12/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Out of all the Argento-inspired giallo films of the 1980's, this is one of the best, if not THE best, with it's quirky character banter, quotable lines, off-the-wall camera moves, and phenomenal musical score by Simon Boswell and Stefano Mainetti. I only heard about it thanks to home video because, disappointingly (but certainly not surprisingly), the film was never shown theatrically here in the States. And that, my friends, is a damn shame when you consider that DR. GIGGLES was distributed by Universal Pictures."
Clinton Enlow | Kansas | 10/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Say what you will about Italian horror cinema, from the sixties into the eighties they were some of the best at mixing art and cheese into something more interesting than most other countries. Stagefright is a slasher flick from the eighties and with its opening dance number its a film that feels its age. Apparently a theatre group is rehearsing a play that involves rape, dance sequences and killers dressed in giant bird heads. The director is prick, theres a gay guy, and other assorted characters who start dying when a madman escapes conveniently locking himself in with the troupe and offing them in a bevy of ways (the best on set in an owl mask strangling a girl as the director shouts "Kill Her" for direction). The film as it is marks the debut of Michele Soavi, one of the names outside of Argento and Bava that marks one of the directors that must be watched. His films might be an aquired taste but they do remain artistically beautiful if perplexing in that arthouse way that the Italians do. The film is very photogenic and beautiful to look at even if it reminds you totally of the decade known as the eighties. The characters are thin with some cliche thrown in which makes it easy to watch when they die, and what the film does well is kill off characters. Plus for a slasher film I will have to say that having a killer wearing a well made owl mask is rather interesting from the perspective of this viewer. The film isn't for all tastes but its fun to view in my opinion."
Nightmare in the Theatre...
R. Pepper | Los Angeles | 05/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Stagefright is simply put a fun, scary movie to behold! Although there is quite a bit of gore which is not really my style so you may want to close your eyes in parts if that turns you off. But what could be a better premise in a horror film than a group of actors being locked in a dreary theatre for the night with a psychotic killer stalking them at every turn dressed in an owl suit. And then the lone, final girl must try and defeat the villain before she becomes his last victim. All the elements of the post-slasher era are here as this was made in 1987. You have the infamous thunderstorm, people making bad decisions, a variety of interesting deaths and even a black cat crossing someone's path. Still, this is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy these films. This was originally released on DVD by Anchor Bay and now is being distributed by Blue Underground. I wish one of these companies would release the 1980 horror gem Curtains next (although released in 1983)."