If nothing else, I've gotta give Writer /
Director / songwriter Jerome Sable and his horror / musical
and A+ for effort. Here's the thing though… I watched this
movie with my Stage Enabled son, who as it happens, as he is
graduating in a few weeks, will be a camp counselor at some
drama camp. I mention this because in his Stage Enhanced
opinion, the music numbers were awful. I didn't think
so, but then I'm not a song and dance guy. No, but I am
sort of a horror movie type guy, and that wasn't all that good
either. But then my sissy of a son winced or turned his
head every time someone took a knife to the throat. What
am I trying to say? Who the hell knows?
It's opening night and Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver) is
breaking every leg in her body during her performance of
Haunting of the Opera as it is awesome. Her twins
Camilla and Buddy come to congratulate mom, along with her
husband Roger (Meat Loaf) and it is all good.
Unfortunately Kylie has got a little bit of the slut in her as
a man in the opera mask comes around to feel her up a
bit. It's not who she thought it was. A knife in
the throat later, the world is less one slutty, aging, but
still pretty hot diva. Note that Minnie Driver gets top
billing in this film, though her participation is wrapped up
about five minutes in.
Fast forward a decade or so and now it's time for drama camp
where the kids sing show tunes and dance on cue and at the
drop of the hat. In particular we are going to focus on
camp cleanup girl Camilla (Allie McDonald), Kylie's little
girl all grown up now, and her brother the camp chef Buddy
(Douglas Smith). Roger is still around, running this
camp, but note that he is not these kids biological father
though he has been kind of enough to raise them. In a
completely Cinderellaesque evil stepmother kind of way.
The problem, however, is that the Drama Camp
is in financial trouble and Roger needs a splash to get it
back on the map. Or more accurately, to get himself back
on the map and back to Broadway, and he figures revising the
Haunting of the Opera is the way to do this. Camilla
might still be seriously traumatized by the brutal murder of
her mother, but Broadway is in this girl's heart and she feels
that she should be the one who plays the role that made her
mom famous. And got her killed.
So the production begins and eventually really annoying song
and dance people start dying from mysterious
circumstances. Actually, it's not so mysterious as they
are clearly being brutally murdered. Maybe somebody
should call the police or something, or at least send these
kids home to safety… but the show must go on. Roger said
that. He sang it actually.
But who is killing these amazingly annoying people? And
why? And why did he let some of them live? That
upset us. The who is fairly obvious. The why… not
so obvious but kind of silly. Our concern is that on
opening night, will poor Camilla be the next one to fall at
the hands of this diabolical killer with the powerful rock
star singing voice?
'Stage Fright' is unique, we can at least give it that.
Somebody went to the trouble to write songs and craft some
rudimentary choreography all for the purpose of murdering
annoying people. Kudos for that. Having been
around my share of hyper serious amateur stage performers,
seeing some of them bite the dust in a somewhat funny way did
have its moments. But something about 'Stage Fright'
just didn't completely come together. I will admit I was
a little shocked when Minnie Driver took that first knife in
the throat. And I will admit I did laugh when the
busload of drama camp kids broke into song. But
unfortunately that would pretty much be the end of my laughter
and my horror shock, which might be a bit of an issue for a
film striving to be something of a horror comedy.
The musical that would follow, while amusing at times, never
could quite reach that comedy apex they needed for 'Stage
Fright' to be a successful comedy, and horror elements were
lukewarm at best. One of the issues with the horror is
that we really didn't mind watching the people die that our
crazed slasher was killing, then eventually our crazed slasher
became about as annoying as the annoying people he was taking
out. If not more so.
But the premise was a good one, Meat Loaf seemed to be having
a good time, Minnie Driver was great in this movie for the few
minutes of her time she donated to it, and Allie McDonald is a
lovely young lady and was solid Final Girl material.
This horror comedy just needed a little more comedy and a lot
better horror to completely seal the deal of its original