In the last decade or so, the horror film genre has faltered in many ways. The classic slasher formula has diminished and the only genuine scares come from loud crashes caused by malevolent spirits. The Paranormal Activity franchise has dominated the horror film market and originality and freshness has sadly gone out the window. However, there is hope with schlocky little satires like Stage Fright, a unique hybrid of the horror and musical genres. This film seemed to come out of nowhere and if you want some mindless entertainment that will scare as well as amuse, then this is the film for you.
The story begins 10 years ago when a horrible tragedy takes place and young Camilla feels the brunt of the experience. This unfortunate event sets the tone of the film and we are fast-forwarded to the present where Camilla (Allie MacDonald), now older, works in the kitchen at a performing arts summer camp run by Roger McCall, played by none other than Meat Loaf! Camilla wishes to audition for the camp’s revival of “The Haunting of the Opera”, a fictionalized version of The Phantom of the Opera, and her desire to be in the show somehow sets off a series of events involving a crazed masked killer.
With an unusual cinematic tone, Stage Fright is a horror/musical that manages to scare while tickling the funny bone. This tongue-in-cheek feel is created by a number of things such as Meat Loaf’s chewing up of the scenery and a slightly awkwardly cast Minnie Driver as Camilla’s mother. Stage Fright has a lot of things going for it and the beautiful and talented Allie MacDonald (House at the End of the Street, The Barrens) gives a performance worthy of any scream queen from yesteryear. That and the lack of CGI and emphasis on “in camera” death scenes is a pleasant nod to the slasher films of the 70s and 80s.
The film’s ridiculous and corny soundtrack and musical numbers are also reminiscent of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and this provides for a very Glee-like feel. That coupled with the bloodbath left by the film’s killer, the movie seems to be in a perpetual volley between genres.
Over-the-top acting also propels the film into an awesomely cheesy stratosphere. MacDonald seems to be the only actor in the movie taking things seriously and with her straightwoman persona, everything else around her is either extraordinarily goofy or downright creepy. Stage Fright is a surprisingly unique and fun horror/musical that will no doubt, entertain, so prepare yourself for one heck of a ride.
Stage Fright is now available on iTunes and OnDemand and will be released in theaters on May 9th.