SXSW Film Review: 'Stage Fright'

Sharp notes meet sharp knives in the delicious operatic bloodfest

Finally, a movie for people who love Glee and for people who want to see everyone at William McKinley High get stabbed in the throat.

Mixing bloodshed and Broadway, horror musical Stage Fright balances Carrie sight gags with xylophone comedy. It begins on a night 10 years ago, when Broadway star Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver) is viciously murdered by a masked stranger. A decade later, her children Camilla (Allie MacDonald) and Buddy (Douglas Smith) are cooks in a summer music camp run by their mother’s now-humbled producer (Meat Loaf in a Gilbert & Sullivan-esque portrayal of ruptured pomposity). Desperate to restore his ailing career, he decides to re-enact their mother’s final show with the overly chirpy kids of the camp. That is, until more bodies start piling up. But, hell, the show must go on!

Can horror and musicals really mix? Well, Sondheim pulled it off in Sweeney Todd, and Stage Fright deliciously adds hilarity to the already rich mix. Writer/director Jerome Sable (“The Legend of Beaver Dam”) finds kissing cousins in Freddie Kreuger and the Phantom of the Opera. He keeps the bloodshed gross if sparse until a final massacre that’s a clear nod to summer camp classic The Burning, while co-composer Eli Batalion’s ear for subversive show tunes makes this the best unconventional operetta since South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.


Stage Fright


Midnighters, World Premiere
Tuesday, March 11, 7pm, Marchesa
Wednesday, March 12, 11:15am, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Adds 102 Movies to 2019 Film Festival Lineup
SXSW Adds 102 Movies to 2019 Film Festival Lineup
After Us, what else does the film fest have in store?

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 16, 2019

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Joins SXSW Speaker Roster
AOC For SXSW
A$AP Rocky, Olivia Wilde, and the Fonz all join conference

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 15, 2019

More by Richard Whittaker
Watch The First Trailer For Rooster Teeth's <i>Gen:LOCK</i>
Watch The First Trailer For Rooster Teeth's Gen:LOCK
New show starring Michael B. Jordan debuts next week

Jan. 18, 2019

Replicas
What hath science wrought? A dull cloning thriller, that's what.

Jan. 18, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

South by Southwest, SXSW, SXSW 2014, SXSW Film 2014, Stage Fright, Midnighters, Jerome Sable, Alie MacDonald, Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf, The Phantom of the Opera, Glee, horror

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle