“Stage Fright” is an uneventful slasher about a theater company and the murder of its actors by the least mysterious killer in cinema.
An actor battling PTSD watches her cast mates murdered one by one. Let’s dig into 1980’s STAGE FRIGHT, directed by John D. Lamond!
As I See It
Also released as Nightmares, there isn’t much more to this film than the proceedings of pretentious theater types.
That element, at the least, keeps with the stereotype, but there is hardly anything to chew on in this film. The score of tension-building string instruments occupies an overbearing amount of the soundtrack. It’s a slasher, so there are ample amounts of running, stabbing, and the killer’s hand close up as the killer slays their victims.
When not dealt a serving of pomp, we’re watching flashbacks of sexual violence.
Is there ever any mystery? No. There is never any mystery as to who the killer is. The only “twist” is the naivety displayed at the end as the news report characterizes the killer-at-large as a man. Surely a woman could not perform these horrific acts.
This film is not enough.
Gary Sweet (Terry) is featured in the TV show based on the classic Ozploitation slasher Wolf Creek.
Max Phipps (George) had a role in another Australian classic, George Miller’s The Road Warrior – Mad Max 2.
Of Gratuitous Nature
It’s a common trope in horror films for a young kid to walk in on a sexual encounter, especially involving at least one of their parents. It’s a shared fear of everyone for time eternal to walk in on their parents bumping uglies. In Stage Fright (aka Nightmares), they double up. Not only does she walk in on them having sex, but she witnesses her mother die in a violent car crash. We go back into the trauma in the “present day” as we stumble upon a couple having close-up, heavy petting sex in an alleyway. They, of course, get slashed to bits.
Yes, Jenny Neumann has “leading lady, good looks”. Most of her performance is spent playing with her hair and staring off into the ether of nightmarish flashbacks. Not exactly inspiring material for any actor to work with.
Ripe for a Remake
The only unique angle I see is the theater angle, but it’s not all that original. There are plenty of other half-cocked ideas to waste time on.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
Way back in 2011, Severin Films released a DVD. Umbrella Entertainment has the most recent release (2021) as part of their “Ozploitation Classics” series under the title Nightmares.