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Film / Stage Fright (2014)

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"Sing your heart out!"

Stage Fright is a 2014 Canadian comedic Slasher Movie that's also a musical featuring the talents of Meat Loaf.

Camilla Swanson is a teenage girl who desperately wants to be an actress like her deceased mother. She auditions for a musical production at the performing arts summer camp where she works as a cook, and wins the lead. Despite it being a revival of the production her mother was starring in when she died, all goes well. Then the murders begin.

Not to be confused with the animated short, the 1950 Hitchcock film, or the similarly-named 1987 slasher.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: One kid mentions being beaten by his dad a dozen times for singing Stephen Sondheim songs.
  • Advertised Extra: Minnie Driver gets top billing, but her character is killed before the opening credits. Her only other appearance is in a brief flashback during the climax.
  • All Part of the Show: The audience at the climactic play thinks the film's climax is part of the reinterpretation of The Haunting of the Opera, and give it a standing ovation.
  • Asshole Victim: Buddy's first victim is a director who sexually harasses his female stars.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: In-Universe example; the camp produced a musical adaptation of The Vagina Monologues the year before the film's events. Averted for the film itself, which is original.
  • Based on a True Story: Parodied. A disclaimer at the start of the movie claims that it is based on a true story, with the names changed out of respect for the victims and their families. But the songs were performed exactly as in real life.
  • Big Bad: Roger McCall killed Camilla's mother, and spent ten years forcing her twin brother to keep quiet about it, eventually inspiring Buddy to go on his killing rampage.
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: Liz rigs up a bucket to pour red paint over Camilla and ruin opening night. It later ends up dumping on her instead.
  • Camp Straight: One of the theatre kids invokes this trope with a Have a Gay Old Time bit
    "I sleep with women but musicals make me feel gay!"
    • It's revealed to be an act, in that he is in fact gay.
  • Casting Couch: After Camilla gets cast, Artie keeps trying to get into her pants. He eventually gives her an ultimatum that she puts out or he'll put her rival on stage opening night.
    • Not the first time, either; when Artie is announced as director, Liz (who will eventually become Camilla's rival for the lead) mentions that when Artie cast her as the lead last summer, he kept wanting to make out with her.
    • Intentionally employed, in a downplayed fashion, by Camilla also, who isn't actually allowed to audition (she works there vs. these kids paying to be there) and uses flirtation + sex appeal in order to even be allowed to audition for the role at all.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Roger rips out the phone to the camp office to prevent any of the campers from calling their parents and telling them about the murder.
  • Dead Star Walking: Deliberately invoked; Minnie Driver is one of the top-billed actors, and she dies four scenes in.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: The killer knocks out Liz and leaves her bound and gagged in the opera ghost costume and kabuki mask to take the fall for the murders and probably get killed in the process.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The film opens with a man in evening dress being stabbed by a figure black robes and a White Mask of Doom. This turns out to a staging of the musical The Haunting of the Opera.
  • Generation Xerox: Camilla wants to be a Broadway star, just like her mother was about to become when she died. the final scenes show Camilla about to make her professional debut in the same role she played at camp, and that her mother originated the last night of her life.
  • Foreshadowing: the Stage Manager vows to the cast he'll do anything to keep the play going to the end, no matter the backstage crisis - except go on stage, because he has horrific stage fright. With his villain unknowingly killed, his leading lady on the run from the killer, and a hoodie- and masked-clad Liz stumbling blindly around on the stagenote , the Stage Manager has to put on a straw hat, run onto the stage, and work with Liz and the wildly improvising orchestra to run a comedy sketch to get the play through to the finale.
  • Harmful to Minors: The climax reveals that Buddy witnessed his mother being stabbed to death by his stepfather, who persuaded Buddy that it was his fault. This eventually drove Buddy insane, leading him to hate musicals and stage a string of murders intended to prevent his sister from becoming an actress like their mother.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Sam takes every opportunity that he definitely sleeps with women despite being interested in musical theatre. It's an act. He actually is gay.
  • Meaningful Name: Karen Swanson. Add one more letter and it becomes Swan song; just to rub it in, Karen is murdered the night she makes her successful Broadway debut performance. Poor woman doesn't even make it to the afterparty.
  • Mirror Scare: The last scare of the film is a nightmare or hallucination Camilla has of the killer bursting through a mirror to kill her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Camilla gets a Toplessness from the Back scene, and an Impossibly-Low Neckline during the play.
  • Prima Donna Director: Artie is a Smug Snake prone to pretentious rants about art and sexually harassing his leading ladies.
  • Setting Update: The camp's production of The Haunting of the Opera is transplanted from 1800's France to feudal Japan, and done in kabuki style.
  • Shear Menace: The killer stabs Tom with a heavy pair of dressmaker's shears.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: A major plot device in the film is The Haunting of the Opera, a horror musical that's a pretty obvious riff on The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Toplessness from the Back: When Camilla succumbs to Art's Casting Couch techniques, the camera shows her removing her top and her bra from behind.
  • White Mask of Doom: The killer wears one. Starts off as a generic ghost mask, but he later adopts a kabuki mask to account for the play's Setting Update.