Horror genre musicals aren’t a new idea, but there has been somewhat of a resurgence of them in the past few years. I loved Darren Lynn Bousman’s Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival, but I may have a brand new favorite with Jerome Sable’s 2014 foray into the sub-genre, Stage Fright.
Ten years after her mother’s death, Camilla (Allie MacDonald) is chosen to perform in the revival of the summer camp musical, “The Haunting of the Opera.” The night of the final production turns into a bloody mess, as a killer lets loose on the cast and crew, making sure the “The Haunting…” can never be performed again.
Most horror films that are as ambitious as Stage Fright usually fail in one way or another. If they are funny, they don’t succeed at being ‘horror’ enough… if they are gory, they aren’t entertaining enough. This is where Sable’s film really shines, though. The musical numbers are hilarious and performed beautifully, clearly by professional vocalists, while the kills are innovative and some of the best I’ve seen in recent years.
I was highly impressed with the acting in Stage Fright, especially by the performances delivered by Meat Loaf and Douglas Smith who play the camp director and Camilla’s twin brother, Buddy, respectively. Both actors bring life to their characters, exploring various aspects of human nature from being supportive and nurturing to absolutely psychotic.
Even after all of the slasher films I’ve seen over the years, and especially in the last year since starting this site, I am still able to be impressed. Then again, it is easy to be impressed when a filmmaker makes a movie as good as this one. Stage Fright doesn’t have the highest body count, but the inventiveness of the deaths do more than enough to make up for that and the entire film is remarkably coherent with splendid storytelling.
If you like your horror films filled with multiple musical numbers, then you definitely need to check out Stage Fright. You won’t be disappointed.
You can pick up a DVD or Blu-ray of the film today from Magnet Releasing’s official website.
I give this film 4 kabuki masks out of 5.