Stage Fright

Score and Songs By: Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The musical comedy horror film Stage Fright stars Allie MacDonald as Camilla Swanson, a young teenager who wants to follow in her Broadway Diva mother's footsteps.  Camilla's mother (Minnie Driver) performed in front of a packed audience in The Haunting of the Opera.  She was found murdered backstage after the musical.  Now, ten years later, a new revival of The Haunting of the Opera is being performed at Roger McCall's (Meat Loaf) musical theater summer camp and Camilla has set her sights on landing the lead role.  But there is a fear that history may repeat itself as strange things begin to happen around the set.  Could Camilla follow in her mother's footsteps literally, ending her performing career before it has ever really begun?

                The songs and score of Stage Fright were created by the film's director Jerome Sable and longtime collaborator Eli Batalion.  Childhood friends sharing a long history in music, the two have been composing, writing, acting and directing together for over two decades.  They have written music for many media platforms and spanning many genres and even recorded an experimental hip-hop album together called G Marks the Spot in which the two rapped to an accompaniment of jazz, Latin, pop and R&B music.

                The musical score of Stage Fright contains some classic horror cues such as the blasts of horns, rising in crescendo, piano key solos that seem a bit out of tune and the like.  The songs are a mix of classical theater meets heavy metal.  According to Jerome Sable, "The Stage Fright score was like a musical experiment borne out of equal love for both Beethoven and Black Sabbath, and the na´ve hubris that we could combine two disparate musical traditions without compromise. We were like Doctor Moreau on his island, performing vivisections on the classical orchestra using a heavy metal band for a knife."  Eli Batalion adds, "For us, the fusion is a musical fantasy, but just like with those grotesque humanoid island beasts, we expect that most listeners will be horrified."

                I wouldn't say horrified...more like utterly surprised.  I knew that this film was supposed to be a comedic horror flick, but had no idea that it was a musical.  Thus, when the songs began playing, my eyes sort of popped.  Then, I started laughing.  There are quite a few funny moments in this soundtrack.  Where We Belong is rather hysterical when you listen to the incredibly politically incorrect lyrics.  the album booklet contains the lyrics to all the major songs on the album.  They are well worth taking a look and laugh at. 

                Then there are the Metal Killers who bring in the heavy metal sound, mixing it in with the classical theater as they cut down members of the musical.  For some reason, I found their singing parts to be hilarious.  My favorite song by them appears at the end, Exit Stage Fright, featuring a mockery of all the songs throughout the movie, a thank you for watching the credits, a realization that you are probably watching the credits at home, wonderment over how you ended up with a copy of the movie and a brief discussion about piracy.

                Though probably a B movie at best, the Stage Fright Soundtrack is actually quite funny and well worth listening to for anyone who wants a little sick humor included in their Halloween horror-fest.  I certainly enjoyed listening.


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