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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Theater > Stage Fright (1987/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Stage Fright (1987/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B+ Extras: B+ Film: B

Stage Fright is a solid Italian horror film released in 1987 from the acclaimed director Michele Soavi (Cemetary Man, The Church who also happened to be a protégé of Dario Argento) and inhabits all of the great things that the Italian Horror Genre has to offer in top notch cinematography, next level gore, and moments that capture a true feeling of terror and suspense. Blue Underground has really pulled all the stops with this fantastic release giving us the film in stunning 1080p high definition and a brilliant DTS mixed soundtrack. Stage Fright stars EuroCult favorites David Brandon (Delirium, Beyond Darkness), Barbara Cupisti (Opera, The Church), and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (City Of The Living Dead, Cannibal Ferox, The Church). This is also not to be confused with the 2014 remake or the Hitchcock film also named Stage Fright.

The film takes place in a theater late at night as a troupe of actors are rehearsing a musical about a mass murderer known as the Night Owl. The show's leading lady, Alicia (Barbara Cupisti), sprains her ankle and she and the wardrobe mistress, Betty (Ulrike Schwerk), sneak out of the rehearsal to go to a doctor. But the closest medical facility is a mental hospital. The psychiatrist on duty is only happy to help, but the wardrobe mistress notices a restrained patient on a bed lying in a room behind bars. The doctor tells them that it is Irving Wallace, a former actor who went berserk and killed over a dozen people. Unbeknownst to any of them, Wallace has killed one of the attendants with a syringe and sneaked out of the asylum, hiding in the back of Betty's car.

Once they arrive back at the theater the over-bearing director (David Brandon) fires Alicia for leaving during rehearsal. She packs her things and gets ready to leave. Betty gets back and forgot something in the car, she looks around and find something strange, she feels scared and gets out of the car. she was later on killed with a pick axe shoved in her mouth. Alice searches for Betty, but makes a terrifying discovery in the parking lot - Betty's murdered corpse.

After the police have taken the body away and stationed two patrol officers in the parking lot to keep an eye on the premises, the director has one of his actresses, Corinne, hide the theater's key so no one can leave, as he has decided to alter the play's script. Instead of being an anonymous killer, he renames the show's antagonist Irving Wallace, and he wants everyone to stay the night and begin immediate rehearsals with the new material. But things become even more nightmarish when the real Wallace disembowels the actress who hid the key, and the remaining members of the cast and crew realize that there is no way to escape the psychopath's evil clutches.

This is a great slasher film that isn't quite as artsy as Dario Argento's masterpiece Opera, but bares a vague influence. Some of the exterior rain scenes and solid color lighting schemes also remind me of Argento's Suspiria and even maybe a little bit of John Carpenter's Halloween to throw in for good measure. What is great about the inspiration though is that it is just that - not a rip-off by any means. If you are a fan of slashers, I would definitely say that the Owl Man is a pretty solid murderer. He has no problem using a small hand held chain saw, an axe, a big knife, or even his bare hands to get his point across. (He definitely needs his own action figure.)

As mentioned above both the transfer and sound mix on this release are fantastic. Presented in 1080p high definition with a Widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 brings us the best visual presentation of the film available. The sound mix is a beautiful lossless DTS-HD (MA) Master Audio track mixed in 5.1 surround sound. There is also an English 2.0 DTS-HD version on the disc as well. Subtitles on the disc are in English, French, and Spanish.

The extras are plentiful and include

Theatre Of Delirium - Interview with Director Michele Soavi

Head Of The Company - Interview with Star David Brandon

Blood On The Stage Floor - Interview with Star Giovanni Lombardo Radice

The Sound Of Aquarius - Interview with Composer Simon Boswell

The Owl Murders - Interview with Make-Up Effects Artist Pietro Tenoglio

Theatrical Trailer

Poster & Still Gallery

This is great work by Blue Underground - now why won't SOMEONE do a special edition release of Suspiria on Blu-ray in the U.S.?

- James Harland Lockhart V



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