a.k.a. StageFright: Aquarius, Deliria, Bloody Bird
***/**** Image A- Sound A+ Extras A-
starring David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Robert Gligorov, John Morghen
screenplay by George Eastman
directed by Michele Soavi
by Walter Chaw After years spent working alongside such luminaries as Joe D'Amato, Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento, Michele Soavi made his directorial debut with 1987's StageFright (onscreen title: StageFright: Aquarius)--not an update of Hitchcock's underestimated Jane Wyman vehicle, but a carrying of the giallo torch from one generation ostensibly into the next. For the uninitiated, giallo, when done right, is a perpetual-motion machine that runs off its own mysterious energy. Taking its name from the yellow covers of lurid Italian paperbacks, films in this genre split, broadly, into two sub-categories: the ones that give a passing nod to ratiocination; and the ones that don't bother to make any rational sense at all. StageFright is of the latter school, aligning it with stuff like Argento's Three Mothers trilogy over something like his Tenebrae (on which Soavi served as second assistant director). Sense is antithetical to StageFright. It's a vehicle for atmosphere and delivers it in spades.