An old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass grave, develops strange powers which trap a number of people inside with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon from the bowels of the Earth.
Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
A troupe of struggling stage actors is rehearsing for a small-town production of a play. Everything seems to be as it should until one of the cast members turns up dead. In a panic, the others try to get out, only to find they are now locked in the theater with the killer! Which one of them committed the murder, and who will get out alive?Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During a screening at the Fantasia Film Festival fans threw white feathers from the theater balcony which showered down on the audience in a homage to the haunting finale of the film. See more »
Peter's "severed" head blinks several times during the final sequences. See more »
You know that people have a morbid curiosity about murder. And they're going to line up for blocks to see a show in which one of the actresses has been murdered by the real-life maniac in the plot!
See more »
The original 1986 UK Avatar video release was pre-cut by around 11 secs before BBFC submission with edits to a pickax murder, the drill murder, and the stabbing of Laurel. Later issues on the Redemption and Vipco labels were fully uncut. See more »
I recently acquired Italian horror director Michele Soavis Cemetery Man which was released recently for the first time on DVD. I had seen it before, but somehow now it became one of my favorite horror films. It has a style, beauty and grace that many horror films seem to miss nowadays. So naturally I set my eyes on seeing all of Michele Soavis horror films. I had already seen two of them The Church and Cemetery Man, and The Sect isn't out on DVD so I decided to see his only other movie on DVD which is Stagefright. This was Michele Soavis directorial debut, so I didn't really know what to expect. A flawed film made by an at the time rookie? A promising film with glimpses of greatness here and there?
The story is about this group of actors that are putting up a play. They have very little time to practice some of the dance moves and songs so they are all under a lot of pressure. A psycho killer finds his way to the theater and locks everybody inside with absolutely no way out. Then he begins to systematically kill all the actors on the play in some really gruesome ways.
Well its no secret that Soavi was Argentos pupil and I think that out of all of Soavis horror films that I have seen Stagefright is the one in which this is most evident. There's the killers point of view, some strange and interesting camera angles and even an animal themed killer. But thats not a bad thing in my book because eventually Soavi found his own voice and style as evidenced by his last horror film Cemetery Man. Still, Stagefright has a great style and look. What I love the most about Soavis films is that they deal with all these horrible killings, yet the film has a class and a finesse about it that kind of elevates the sleaziness of the slasher genre to a high that it rarely reaches.
Don't get me wrong here, this movie may be artsy and classy, but its still very very much a slasher film. There's some truly brutal deaths here! After the movie sets up its premise the ball gets rolling really fast! Thats one of the things I liked the most about this movie it had a fast pace and wasn't boring in the least! Once the killer puts on that cool as hell Owls Head mask on his noggin things get really gory and interesting. From people being cut in half with chainsaws (great scene man!) to some cool decapitations this movie had me cheering for more! So slasher fans and fiends, you wont be disappointed!
Another excellent thing about this movie was that it wasn't an incoherent mess. I've seen a lot of Lucio Fulci films, a lot of Dario Argento films and a few other Italian directors and they all suffer from the same illness. They cant seem to bring together a story and tell it in a coherent understandable fashion. Not so with Soavis Stagefright. I was surprised at how smoothly the story flowed and I was surprised that I was actually understanding it without any extreme effort. In a sense I would say that Soavi took everything that Argento and Fulci did wrong and did it right. He learned from their mistakes and therefore he is a better filmmaker for it. He is the next step in the evolutionary ladder as far as Italian Horror goes. This might also be why Soavi is heralded as the savior of Italian Horror by many a horror connoisseurs.
So in conclusion, Stagefright is a solidly well directed slasher. One that showed promise for what is one of horrordoms best directors,even though his body of work is comprised of only four movies. I hope Soavi wakes up from that dream soon and delivers us with something as good or better then what he has already done. Soavi you the man! Rating: 5 out of 5
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