Meat Loaf in STAGE FRIGHT

One of the best aspects of SXSW is its dedication to the finding exciting titles for its Midnighters section. These are the genre movies, usually horror, frequently violent, and almost always a refreshing change of pace from the usual festival film.

This year looks to be no different with a particularly stellar-looking lineup of ten films from around the world. They also offer up a fine mix of genre veterans, including Daniel Stamm, Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo, Eduardo Sanchez, and Adam Wingard, and newcomers hoping to make a splash with festival goers.

One of the newcomers is writer/director Jerome Sable who’s making his feature debut with the slasher/comedy/musical, Stage Fright. It’s a cross-genre mashup, but while horror comedies too frequently skimp on the red stuff Sable’s film gleefully promises otherwise.

Check out the gloriously bloody and tantalizingly funny trailer for Stage Fright below.

In case you’re wondering, in case you noticed a particular actor and thought to yourself, wait a minute, isn’t that… yes. Yes it is Minnie Driver. She and Meat Loaf co-star in this fun-looking mix of Friday the 13th, Scream, and Glee, and the result seems pretty damn promising. The official synopsis is below, and while concise it gets across everything it needs to get me in a seat on opening night.

“A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.”

Bam. Add in a morbidly dark sense of humor, and it looks like we have the makings of a blood-drenched winner. The trailer goes heavier on the gore than the singing or jokes, but it’s unclear if the film follows suit with that share of the screentime. Happily, what little we see of the laughs and musical numbers lands perfectly. “Isn’t it wrong to sing and dance when someone just died?” Love it.

Interestingly, while the title is fantastic it’s not the first slasher film to latch on to it. Alfred Hitchcock most famously used it for a 1950 thriller about suspense and murder amid a gaggle of actors, and international horror fans will recognize it from Michael Soavi’s 1987 debut featuring a killer wearing a giant owl head. Both films are worth seeing if you haven’t already, but if you’re jonesing for one more Stage Fright thriller and aren’t that concerned with quality, there’s an Australian slasher (also known as Nightmares) from 1980 floating around too.

Stage Fright will premiere at this year’s SXSW, and Magnet will open it in theaters on May 9, 2014.


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