STAGEFRIGHT sees a new theatre show about a serial killer dressed as an owl. He is stalking the back streets of New York city for fresh victims. He dances and they die. All is going well. They are in final rehearsal, the kicks are in place, the flips are in synch but then all is rudely interrupted by the presence of an actual serial killer who has escaped from a mental asylum nearby. Now this might be a very paper thin plot, a plot familiar and well trodden but for many, this was release is a reason to cheer. The completion of the quadrilogy of Michele Soavi films from Shameless screen entertainment, is truly a moment of joy. Previously we had DELLAMORTE, DELLAMORE, THE SECT and THE CHURCH. Three great films and three above average transfers (with middling extras). These feature all the signature elements of Soavi but are arguably are more clinical and cleaner than his first, blood soaked film. So I was tickled pink. A great Christmas was to be had and maybe, finally, we would have his first feature available in a stunning new 4K restoration. The announcements updated that this was to be and I was set.

If you have followed the STAGEFRIGHT release issues, then you know that it has been sent out on a standard Blu Ray (with a Dual release) version that dampened the light badly. Then an improved 1080p riff that had terrible artwork and no extras of note. We have had before this an average US DVD release, then the really ok Blue Underground version that was nicer and had something in its extras. What we get with Shameless STAGEFRIGHT is a very good restoration indeed. Texturally ups previous editions to the max. Colour corrected. Rich in light and shade. Tone and depth. This means in layman’s terms that Soavi, who loves visual playful things (be they surreal or scenic) gets them to look nearly as good as he no doubt wanted. All very good indeed here. Shameless have been given flack in the past for this and, I feel unfairly so. They are a smaller label and are bringing

When we come to the extras however, it is a mixed bag. The director interview, sees Soavi dither but also point out his desires for a good release. He talks the film up, but needs more time to deliver a pay off.  The great Giovanni Lombardo Radice talks more and is really great. In fact, I love him dearly. He knows the Italian film world and understands art and commerce well. He also is charismatic and that helps. David Brandon interview is a walk along the boards but, personally, it adds few elements that need to be re addressed or are exciting.

So buy it for the film and just enjoy the extras another time.

• New 4K restoration
• ‘Staging the Fright’ – Interview with director Michele Soavi
• ‘The Theatre of Blood’ – Interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice
• ‘The Last Performance’ – Interview with actor David Brandon
• New subtitles
• Hard-of-Hearing Closed Captions
Runtime: 90 mins

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