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'Stage Fright' latest addition to summer camp killer genre

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Stage Fright (2014)

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Canada is becoming increasingly well known for original horror content. From runaway hit "Pontypool" to "Tucker and Dale vs Evil", the Great White North has long been known to sneak in good horror when you least expect it.

Written and directed by Jerome Sable, shot in beautiful Ontario, Canada which is bordered by three great lakes, the storyline centers around Center Stage, a summer camp for theater-minded youngsters who want to get some experience in before heading to the Great White Way. The camp director, Roger McCall (Meat Loaf), has decided to revive "A Haunting at the Opera", a production he produced which fatally tanked after the leading lady (Minnie Driver) was mysteriously murdered on opening night. The leading lady's daughter, who is a cook at Roger's camp, tries out and lands her mother's old role of the leading lady. While preparing for opening night, tragedy strikes at the hands of a kabuki-mask-wearing madman who sings falsetto and shreds a guitar harder than Yngwie Malmsteen.

Writing a slasher flick to a musical score seems a daunting task, but Sable makes it work, and has appeal for both theater fans and slasher fans alike. With a few nods to Argento's "Opera", the lead, Allie MacDonald is the perfect choice for Camilla Swanson, daughter of ill-fated Soprano Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver). She has the wide-eyed innocent look down cold, with a good strong character to get through the killer scenes.

Meat Loaf, who plays the camp director with a secret, only sings twice in the show, leaving it for the younger actors to carry the story. He makes a wonderful anti-hero and brings in strength to the plot without overtaking the scenes from the younger actors.

"Stage Fright" is a satisfying addition to the 'horror camp' genre and a worthy example of the budding Canadian horror scene. It is available now on iTunes but can be bought on DVD July 8th, 2014 on Amazon.com.

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