Stage Fright has to be a first of its type to be shown at Fright Fest. A festival that is known for its obscene and shocking film list, does not often mix with the likes of this. A cross between Glee, High School Musical and Halloween, Stage Fright is a whole sub-genre onto its own, Musical Horror I like to call it. The director, writer and producer Jerome Sable has reached out to two very well-known actors Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver to act as the spearhead the unusual film, giving it more credibility and likelihood for a captive audience.
The theatre is full, and the audience are rowdy after watching 5 horror films previously, this type of atmosphere is exactly how a film such as this should be received. Something light-hearted and raucous tops off the gruesome and intense last 9 hours of viewing. It all begins with the opening night of The Haunting of the Opera (a spin on the Phantom of the Opera) which rocks the theatre world by storm. Minnie Driver as Kylie Swanson the main actress is full of excitement and wondering, fantasising about her future after this performance. Flash to 10 years later, and the beginning of summer means it’s time for Musical Theatre Summer Camp run by Kylie’s agent Meatloaf, with Kylie’s daughter as a budding young theatre star waiting for her moment to take the stage.
What follows is a combination of the highest form of cheese and intellect. The whole production and aesthetic look of the film is Disney-esque, but the song lyrics throughout the film are witty, cutting and offensive in an entertaining way that Disney is not. In fact the sooner the cast sing their lyrics the better, the film, unbelievably, is spoiled by dialogue. This could be why Fright Fest picked this little surprise up along the way, unexpected laughter is a different way to finish the third night of the film festival on. Jerome Sable put everything into this film and got so much out of it, despite the name and the blurbs written about the plot, do not let it detract from the remarkably fun and gory feature film.
Meatloaf is slightly ridiculous as the Head of the Summer Camp, stressed, depressed but happy to have the happy campers back for another year. A very unusual role for him to take on, but one that oddly fits. One of the young actors casted as Minnie Driver’s child is impressive, Allie MacDonald (House at the End of the Street) who plays Camilla Swanson is fresh faced and perfect for the teen horror flick, it helps that she can also hit those high notes when singing. The whole host of other children that play the bulk of the summer campers fit all the right generalising characters, the un-closeted gay, nerdy geeks, unpopular pre-teens and the beauty’s but in a sarcastic way.
Whilst the film is meant to be a tame horror with the ˜light’ hearted chorus lines, duets and solo artists singing, the audience is treated to a little 80’s metal screaming emanating from the Japanese Kabuki Serial Killer. This by far is the highlight of the film, hilarious and absurdly fitting, providing a great contrast throughout the whole film to the permanently happy teenagers. Singing is what this film focuses on, as well as clever script writing, so having this ultra-non-mainstream serial killer that screams brings the edge and quite frankly steals the show.