Stage Fright (1987 film)

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Stage Fright
Deliria poster.JPG
theatrical release poster
Directed by Michele Soavi (as Michael Soavi)
Produced by Joe D'Amato (as Aristide Massaccesi)
Donatella Donati
Written by George Eastman (as Lew Cooper)
Sheila Goldberg
Starring David Brandon
Barbara Cupisti
Music by Simon Boswell
Guido Anelli
Stefano Mainetti
Cinematography Renato Tafuri
Edited by Kathleen Stratton
DMV Distribuzione
Release date(s) January 1987
Running time 86 min.
Country Italy/America
Language English
Budget $1,000,000 (estimated)

Stage Fright (also released as StageFright: Aquarius) is a 1987 horror film directed by Michele Soavi. The film stars Barbara Cupisti, David Brandon and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Written by George Eastman (writing as Lew Cooper), the story combines elements of the giallo and slasher film genres. Joe D'Amato served as the film's producer. It was Soavi's first feature film as director; he had previously worked as an assistant director for Joe D'Amato, Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava and had previously directed the music video "The Valley" for Argento's Phenomena as well as the documentary Dario Argento's World of Horror.


The film takes place in a theater late at night as a troupe of actors are rehearsing a musical about a mass murderer known as the Night Owl. The show's leading lady, Alicia (Cupisti), sprains her ankle and she and the wardrobe mistress, Betty (Schwerk), sneak out of the rehearsal to go to a doctor. But the closest medical facility is a mental hospital. The psychiatrist on duty is only happy to help, but the wardrobe mistress notices a restrained patient on a bed lying in a room behind bars. The doctor tells them that it is Irving Wallace, a former actor who went berserk and killed over a dozen people. Unbeknownst to any of them, Wallace has killed one of the attendants with a syringe and sneaked out of the asylum, hiding in the back of Betty's car.

Once they arrive back at the theater the over-bearing director (Brandon) fires Alicia for leaving during rehearsal. She packs her things and gets ready to leave. Betty gets back and forgot something in the car, she looks around and find something strange, she feels scared and gets out of the car. she was later on killed with a pick axe shoved in her mouth. Alice searches for Betty, but makes a terrifying discovery in the parking lot—Betty's murdered corpse.

After the police have taken the body away and stationed two patrol officers in the parking lot to keep an eye on the premises, the director has one of his actresses, Corinne, hide the theater's key so no one can leave, as he has decided to alter the play's script. Instead of being an anonymous killer, he renames the show's antagonist Irving Wallace, and he wants everyone to stay the night and begin immediate rehearsals with the new material. But things become even more nightmarish when the real Wallace disembowels the actress who hid the key, and the remaining members of the cast and crew realize that there is no way to escape the psychopath's clutches.

Sybil feels sick and feels like she does not want to continue but David asks her to stay. Laurel makes her way to the dressing room, while dressing up she feels somebody is inside the room, she goes inside the fitting room and locks the door, but someone tries to open it and she screams, and the others come to her immediately, unknowing who was trying to scare her. Peter accuses Brett as the culprit, but he refuses to accept. While he practices alone in the dressing room, a strange man in owl costume appears at his back. Alicia keeps searching the key, while Corinne was practicing, her role, Peter calls Brett, who was now in owl costume, strangles Corinne as a part of the scene, and later stabs her with a knife. Alicia refuses to continue on for the scene as the man in owl costume stabs Corinne repeatedly, everyone goes on the stage to find out if its real or not, but find out that Corinne was stabbed for real and everyone came on panic. They come into the main door and yell so that the police can hear them. The killer cut the power source and the telephone lines so no one can escape. The group them find a way out but Ferrari was separated. as he was walking on the stage, he found the man in owl costume, He begs him not to kill him and pleased to give him the money, but the killer stabs him. Peter, Danny and Mark searches for Ferrari but found him hanging upside down.

The group then barricaded themselves inside a room. Peter and Danny leave Alicia, Mark, Sybil and Laurel in the room and searches for the killer. laurel notices that someone is opening the door, and calls Mark. Mark blocks the door, with the help of Alicia and laurel while Sybil screams. The killer breaks the door and grabs Mark, as they try to help him, he was killed when the killer shoves the drill into the door hitting Mark's chest, killing him. Peter and Danny hear the girl's scream, and followed them. They plan that everyone must have a defense for themselves and stick together. Peter notices someone is walking at the top so he puts the light up, and found the killer, he asks Danny to block his way while he follows the killer. Alice and Laurel climb the starts as well and follows Peter, while climbing Alicia panics and holds Laurel's feet, but Laurel accidentally pushes Alicia down, making her unconscious.

They make their way to the attic. Peter finds the man in owl costume and stabs it with an axe. When they open the mask, it is revealed to be Brett who was tied. Sybil who was standing at the middle was pulled down by the killer, they tried to help her but when they finally pulled her up, she was cut into half by the killer. Danny immediately goes down and follows the killer but he was split into half by the killer using a chainsaw. Peter and laurel then make their way to destroy the gate but the killer appears on their back, Peter accidentally pushed laurel into the killer's chainsaw and bruises her chest. The killer then attacks Peter and cuts his left arm, and decapitates his head. Alicia wakes up and finds herself alone. she searches for everybody but only finds Laurel who was barely alive but suffers a severe wound on her chest. Alicia then hides on the near shower room as she hears somebody is walking towards them. She watches in horror while the killer stabs the helpless laurel to death.

Alicia then makes her way to find a way out. She searches the key and finds a gun on the officer's office. As she is trying to unlock the door, she finds the killer who puts the dead bodies of the crew and others on the stage. while watching she finds the key lying on the stage behind the killer who is sitting. She makes her way under the stage and tries to grab the key which is stuck between the wood floor, but when she unlocks the key which is stuck it falls on the ground and the killer notices it. she immediately runs out of there but the killer grabs her, she then stabs the killer in the eye with the screwdriver that she found. She runs into the door but found out it is still not opening, the killer barely stabs her with an axe as she runs away. she climbs up and reaches a dead end, the killer cornered her, and the killer was ready to stab her with an axe until she grabs a fire extinguisher. she sprays it into him that makes him lose control and fall, but he barely hangs on, as he climb back, Alicia cuts the wire which he was hanging on making him fall on the ground. she makes her way into the exit door, until the killer grabs her feet. she stumbles and pulls down the burning bin into the killer making him burn. she then unlocks the door and runs down to the police officer. While she was being interviewed by the reporters, she saw the bodies of her friend one by one being deliver outside. after a day, she returns and found her missing watch, as she discovers that the police only recovered eight bodies instead of nine, the killer appears, now with an unmasked & brutally burned face, behind her back holding the axe. Willy shoots the killer and saves Alicia. As the credits roll, Alicia makes her way out and the killer mysteriously looks toward the camera, as if he's still alive.


  • Barbara Cupisti as Alicia
  • David Brandon as Peter
  • Mary Sellers as Laurel
  • Robert Gligorov as Danny
  • Jo Ann Smith as Sybil
  • Giovanni Lombardo Radice as Brett
  • Martin Philips as Mark
  • Piero Vida as Ferrari
  • Loredana Parrella as Corinne
  • Ulrike Schwerk as Betty
  • Domenico Fiore as Police Chief
  • Mickey Knox as Old Cop
  • Clain Parker as Irving Wallace
  • James Sampson as Willy (as James E. R. Sampson)
  • Richard Barkeley as Dr. Porter
  • Danny Gordon as Dancer
  • Claude Jurman as Dancer
  • Mark Parkinson as Dancer
  • Helen Porter as Dancer
  • Dominique Portier as Dancer
  • Rackel Roskoff as Dancer
  • Frank Senica as Dancer
  • Simone Sadon as Dancer (as Simone Sardon)
  • Albert Schultz as Dancer
  • Sandi Schultz as Dancer (as Sandy Schultz)
  • Luigi Montefiori as Irving Wallace (in masked scenes only) (uncredited)

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally positive critics. AllMovie called the film "a good example of how style can triumph over substance in a genre effort", praising Michele Soavi's direction.[1]


  1. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Stage Fright (1987) - Review - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 

External links[edit]