An escaped lunatic (and former actor) dons an owl mask and hides inside a theater where he picks off a troupe of actors one by one in this gory, but unremarkable slasher flick that plays like a cross between Phantom of the Paradise, A Chorus Line, and Friday the 13th. The killer dispatches his victims in a variety of ways. There’s a needle to the neck, a pickaxe to the mouth, a drill to the stomach, an axe to the chest, a chainsaw to the sternum and heads, arms and torsos get lopped off during the maniac’s killing spree.
This unoriginal slasher flick comes with a pedigree: it was directed by Michele Soavi, the man who directed the classic Cemetery Man, it was written by the Grim Reaper himself; George Eastman, and was produced by the legendary exploitation guru Joe D’Amato. Unfortunately their considerable talents couldn’t turn Stage Fright into something approaching a good film.
While the murders are stylishly done and are pretty gory, the erratic pacing ruins the show. I mean the psycho goes from killing nobody for a half an hour to killing six people in a span of five minutes, then nothing again. Had Soavi spaced out the kills evenly throughout the film, Stage Fright may have rocked. The part where the killer created a “scene” using the corpses of his victims was a nice touch, though.
And for a movie written and directed by actors, the acting in this flick pretty much sucks. Only Italian exploitation genre vet John (The Gates of Hell) Morghen manages to leave an impression as the bitter, practical joking gay dancer.
AKA: Bloody Bird. AKA: Deliria. AKA: Sound Stage Massacre.