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Stage Fright (1987) (US Blu-ray review)

Specs

Specs

Details

Director: Michele Soavi
Writer: George Eastman, Sheila Goldberg
Cast: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore
Year: 1987
Length: 90 min
Rating: NR
Region: A
Disks: 1
Label: Blue Underground
Release Date: September 23, 2014

Video

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Type: Color

Audio

Audio:  English:DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Extras
  • 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 Owl Murders: Interview with Make-Up Effects Artist Pietro Tenoglio
  • The Sound Of Aquarius: Interview with Composer Simon Boswell
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Poster & Still Gallery
91-xdQxZllL._SL1500_More Italian horror brilliance gets the fantastic Blu Ray treatment from the fine folks at Blue Underground. This time it’s Michele Soavi’s Stagefright AKA Aquarius AKA Deliria AKA Blood Bird, the slightly Giallo style slasher set around a bizarre stage troop putting on an equally weird play in a big, old theatre.

The Film

A troop of struggling thespians, under the strict guidance of their diva director, get locked inside a warehouse sized theatre over night with an escaped psychotic killer. They get picked off one by one in ever more gruesome ways. The play they are attempting to stage, features an owl headed serial killer and the madman on the loose quickly appropriates this outfit for himself.

It’s immediately apparent, to anyone who knows the genre, that through his work with Agrento, Fulci and Lamberto Bava, Michele Soavi clearly learned a great deal. Their influence is everywhere throughout the film, from the setting to the subject matter, and, of course, the gory deaths; although, Stagefright never quite gets as gruesome, as mean, or as innovative as the work by the aforementioned filmmakers. The film does, however, have rich cinematography, an interesting sound design, a wonderful and dramatic score, intentionally theatrical performances, and some violent set pieces, most notably one with a chainsaw. It is well executed and, for slasher fans, a delight.

Michele Soavi's Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

If you ever wanted to see Marilyn Monroe play fierce 80s sax, while a man in a black leotard body suit and a giant owl head performs Flashdance over the body of a dead hooker, then Stagefright is for you. It’s just a shame that the ridiculous invention and startling images really only crop up at the very beginning and very end of the film.

Michele Soavi's Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Although the cast are really trying their hardest, belting most scenes out to the cheap seats, they are probably the film’s weakest aspect. The line reading, especially—through a little bit of ropey overdubbing—is more stilted and awkward than what would be expected. It suffers more than the average Italian horror film. Also, had the play within the film been developed better, they could have played heavier on life-imitating-art, art-imitating-life.

If you are coming to the film with high expectations, based off the loose connection to Bava and Arrgento, you will probably be disappointed; but from the costumes, to the lighting, to the gruesome climax, it’s certainly a visual treat and a worthy debut, only helped and enhanced by Blue Underground’s incredible transfer.

Video/Audio

The AVC encoded 1080p transfer on this disc is incredible. It’s crisp with deep rich colors, nice blacks, and very-very low, but nicely intact, film grain. The transfer has been sourced from the original filmic elements, so nothing is left out for the true film fan and collector. The audio compliments the transfer perfectly, with a great, clear, nicely mixed 5.1 DTS-HD track.

Michele Soavi's Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Extras

The extras, a series of individual interviews with various people involved in the film—from Director Michele Soavi, who would go on to work with Terry Gilliam and make the cult hit Cemetery Man, to composer Simon Boswell—are a great added value to this disc. Each one is insightful and interesting and the fact that they are there at all is surprising, welcome, and shows a thoroughness in creating a comprehensive package. In addition, the original theatrical trailer and a poster and stills gallery has been included.

Michele Soavi's Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Bottom Line

If you are already a fan of the film then this is a definite purchase. Blue Underground do incredible work when it comes to restoration and remastering. If you haven’t seen it yet, but you’re a fan of either Italian cinema in general or the Giallo genre, then this is a disc you’re going to want to own. It’s an important, iconic title that’s been given a strong, worthy Blu-Ray edition.

Michele Soavi's Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987) [click to enlarge]

Details Director: Michele Soavi Writer: George Eastman, Sheila Goldberg Cast: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore Year: 1987 Length: 90 min Rating: NR Region: A Disks: 1 Label: Blue Underground Release Date: September 23, 2014 Video Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Resolution: 1080p Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Type: Color Audio Audio:  English:DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French Extras 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 Owl Murders: Interview with Make-Up Effects Artist Pietro Tenoglio The Sound Of Aquarius: Interview…

Review Overview

The FIlm
Video
Audio
Extras

Bottom Line

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About Jon Cross

My earliest movie image, that I can remember, is that of the demon/devil in the Night on Bald Mountain segment of Fantasia which I saw at the cinema when I was around 3 years old. Although it wouldn't be till my early teens that my serious love of the horror genre would flourish, it's interesting to me that my earliest memory is of something scary. I have been writing as long as I can remember but since 2010 I have been writing a movie review blog and since 2011 I have hosted my own podcast over at www.aftermoviediner.com. While producing the show I have had the chance to interview genre favourites like Barbara Crampton, Jim Wynorski, William Sadler, Brian Trenchard-Smith, William Lustig and Herschell Gordon Lewis among others. My writing has also been featured in the 'I Love Bad Movies' Zine and on Bruce Campbell's personal website.

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