Stage Fright (2014) | Shriek and shriek again – The summer camp slasher genre gets a Gleeful musical makeover

Stage Fright (2014)

On the opening night of her Broadway-bound musical The Haunting of the Opera, diva Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver) is brutally murdered. Ten years later, her producer Roger (Meat Loaf Aday) is running a theatre summer camp where Kylie’s twins, Camilla (Allie MacDonald) and Buddy (Douglas Smith), are helping out. But when the campers decide to revive the cursed musical and Camilla lands the lead role, the deranged killer returns. But who’s behind the kabuki mask and why does the fiend hate musical theatre so much?

Stage Fright (2014)

When it comes to horror musical spoofs, few can top Brian De Palma’s perfect pastiche Phantom of the Paradise and its Oscar-nominated score by Paul Williams or Richard O’Brien’s cult favourite sing-along The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The idea of sending up the tired clichés of musical theatre and the slasher genre really is just too delicious to entertain, and that’s what Stage Fright sets out to do. However, its not going to be stealing Phantom and Rocky’s crown anytime soon.

Stage Fright (2014)

It’s a shame because Stage Fright starts so well – imagine John Waters’ Hairspray and Serial Mum fused with Friday the 13th and TV’s Glee. But the spoof quickly loses its way, becoming very predictable (the killer’s identity is obvious from the start), and wastes a talented cast who have a rollicking time with their kooky characters. The musical numbers are also unmemorable, especially those squealed and shrieked by the deranged metal killer (my ears are still ringing). And as for the neat horror film references, they just get lost in the mayhem.

Stage Fright (2014)

It’s a careful tightrope act to get the horror/comedy balance just right in a spoof like this, but 1973’s Theatre of Blood proved you can be gory and gleeful at the same time – so long as you have someone of the calibre and range of Vincent Price to make it work. Meat Loaf (bless him) is a poor substitute.

Stage Fright (2014)

The death scenes are also too violent and too gory to chuckle at. They’re done without finesse, and feel at odds with the bright ‘gay’ musical numbers and the cast of mainly young children singing their little hearts out (bless them, too). Sorry Stage Fright, but it’s a ‘Next!’ from me.

Director Jerome Sable got this gig on the back of his 2010 sing-a-long short The Legend of Beaver Dam (watch it below). Let’s hope Ryan Murphy’s upcoming TV project Scream Queens might just be the ticket to give the slasher genre a bloody good send up.

Check out the official Facebook page and website

Stage Fright is available on DVD in the UK from Metrodome


Watch The Legend of Beaver Dam here


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on January 28, 2015, in Comedy, Horror, Maybe-Miss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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