Sable and Eli Batalion's original music and lyrics are irreverent and witty, playing up to the classically campy nature of musical theatre life, while the numbers themselves add necessary lightness to the shadowy goings-on. The term "camp" is utilised to is fullest, not only as a signifier of location but also of the dominant tone of the film. Riffing on theatre stereotypes of power-hungry directors, sexually ambiguous male leads and the frenzied nature of production, Stage Fright manages to make the performative process a metaphor for psychological and physical horror while never taking itself too seriously. The serio-comic performances also work well in this alchemical brew of horror and comedy. MacDonald shines as dewy ingénue Camilla, playing the genre staple of innocent virgin well. Never letting a gasp go un-gasped or eyes go out of widened terror, watching Camilla as a pawn is enormous fun. The campers are equal parts dramatic, oblivious, baleful and work as a mirror to the serial killer lurking in the shadows. Which begs the question of who is more terrifying: a slew of maniacal theatre geeks or a menacing serial killer? In Stage Fright, they're one and the same.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem