I'm late to the party, but apparently a new boo-ray release of this movie is out there in the void. Seek it out my skull crushing cretins and let ole Cropsy know what the dealio is.
Saints preserve us; it’s Stage Fright the Euro-splatter-trash feature that never strays too far from the gutter, and I love it for it. Ripe at the spandex seams with golden cheesy goodness, Stage Fright is a brutal mash up of American power drill horror and Italian giallo panache sure to sate any slash-head’s fiendish appetite for decapitations and dismemberment. Stage Fright centers around a night of mayhem as a crew of off color thespians (including a Sting look alike, and a flamboyant homosexual dancer) are chopped to bits by the maniac owl masked killer Irving Wallace in a locked down theatre. I bet “reheating tacos at Mexico Joes” doesn’t sound so bad to these struggling actors with Irving Wallace on their scent; some choice cuts include the chainsaw evisceration of a pregnant chick, a loin to groin power drilling, and the classic decapitation by axe maneuver.
There are some quieter moments in the film that seem to acknowledge the movies trashier influences; the director of the play within the play explains his production as a feature about “the victim raping the murderer”, a shameless ploy at shocking people out of their money. He seems to understand that people want to see death and will pay to see it, going as far as to exploit the death of a recently murdered cast member to drum up interest in his stage production. Between all the movie’s interpretive dancing and wailing saxophone playing we are treated to a scene of a nurse closely watching a fish devour other smaller fish in a neon lit tank in a mental asylum and aside from the fact that fish tanks were en vogue during the 80’s I can’t help but wonder if the director is again bringing attention to people’s morbid fascination with watching death unfold. A stray black cat named “Lucifer” witnesses the entire night of horror as Irving picks off the cast one by one. Perhaps dubbing the cat with the demonic surname “Lucifer” is a sly jab at the audience, seeing as how the feline seemingly occupies the same logistical space as the viewer.
Whatever the case, the main focus of the film is on the splattering red stuff, not on some ham fisted moral message about feeling guilty about watching exploitive horror yarns, so sit back, relax, watch the feathers fly, and get hit “right between the eyes” with Stage Fright.