Stage Fright (original title Deliria, also known as StageFright, Aquarius, StageFright: Aquarius, and Bloody Bird) is a 1987 Horror film directed by Michele Soavi. The film stars Barbara Cupisti, David Brandon and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Written by George Eastman (writing as Lew Cooper), the story combines elements of the giallo and slasher film genres. The movie follows a group of stage actors and crew rehearsing for a small town musical production. While they lock themselves to do rehearsing, they are unaware that a psychopathic actor, whom inspired their play has escaped nearby and (insulted by their portrayal of him) commences a murder spree while locked inside the theater with them.
Joe D'Amato served as the film's producer. It was Soavi's first feature film as director; he had previously worked as an assistant director for Joe D'Amato, Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava and had previously directed the music video "The Valley" for Argento's Phenomenaas well as the documentary Dario Argento's World of Horror.
Late at night inside a theater, a troupe of actors and crew consisted of the director Peter, Alicia, Mark, Sybil, Betty, Corrine, Laurel, Danny, Brett, and Ferrari are rehearsing a musical about a mass murderer known as the Night Owl. When Alicia sprains her ankle, her and Betty sneak out of rehearsal for medical assistance, the closest being a mental hospital. When speaking to the psychiatrist, Betty notices an imprisoned patient named Irving Wallace, who was a former actor gone insane and committed a killing spree (due to his treatment by his fellow cast and crew). Unbeknownst to any of them, Wallace killed one of the attendants with a syringe and sneaked out of the asylum to hide inside Betty's car (having overheard their production he partly inspired). Upon returning, Peter fires Betty for leaving during the rehearsal. Outside, Betty returns to the car upon Wallace murdering her with a pickaxe. Moments later, Alicia finds her body and contacts the police, resulting the body removed and stationed two officers on the outside premises.
Meanwhile, the director creates an idea by altering the play's script; he renames the show's antagonist to Irving Wallace instead of an ambiguous killer, and insists that everyone stay the night to begin immediate rehearsals with the new material. The group reluctantly agrees to stay with promise of additional cash, and Corrine hides the theater's exit key. Unknown to the group, Wallace has donned the theater's owl costume (incensed over the mocking portrayal of him), having overpowered Brett.
Peter shoots a scene with Corrine, and Wallace appears in the costume to strange her before stabbing her to death (as Peter unknowingly encourages him). Without the key's whereabouts, the group begins to panic and the killer disconnects the phone lines to prevent them from contacting the officers. While the group tries to find an escape route, Ferrari is stabbed by Wallace (offended that Ferrari tries to bribe him) then hangs his body upon being found by the group (Peter notes Wallace is likely enjoying himself as classical music starts to play). While Peter and Danny leave the group inside a room and search for the killer, Laurel notices Wallace outside trying to open the door and the group barricades the door; the killer then breaks the window to grab Mark before killing him with a power drill through the door. Peter and Danny return from Mark's murder and they plan to stick together and defend themselves (arming themselves with implements like Wallace has). While Wallace ties up Brett and puts the costume on him, Peter goes up to the upper catwalks despite Alicia being knocked out and accidentally hacks up Brett with an axe, thinking it was Wallace. Soon, Sybil is pulled down by the real killer and as Danny tries to free her, she is disemboweled. Danny immediately goes down and is also killed by Wallace with a chainsaw. Cornering Peter, Wallace cuts off his arm containing the axe before the chainsaw runs out of fuel. The killer takes the axe and ultimately decapitates the director.
Alicia wakes up and finds a wounded Laurel hiding in the shower room. While she hides, Wallace grabs Laurel and stabs her before dragging her body. Alicia arms herself and searches the key, only to see Wallace sitting next to the group's bodies (that he's positioned into life like poses) placed around the stage and covered with feathers (having performed some amateur improvisation to music). Underneath the stage, she successfully finds the key, but alerted by Laurel and Betty's pet cat is caught by Wallace, she defends herself against him by a stab to his face before going up to the catwalks. Just as Wallace corners her, she sprays a fire extinguisher into his face and the killer hangs onto a loose cable. After the cable is severed and the killer falls, she makes her way to the door but Wallace attacks again and she dumps a burning bin onto him, igniting him. She then escapes the theater (as he staggers about on stage, partially engulfed in flames) and goes to the police about the events. The next morning, Alicia returns to the theater and finds her missing watch, just before an unmasked, badly burnt Wallace prepares to attack her. Willy shoots him in the head and a disturbed Alicia walks out with him. As the credits roll, Wallace survives from his headshot and while secretly watching Willy and Alicia leave smiles into the camera.
- Barbara Cupisti as Alicia
- David Brandon as Peter
- Mary Sellers as Laurel
- Robert Gligorov as Danny
- Jo Ann Smith as Sybil
- Giovanni Lombardo Radice as Brett
- Martin Philips as Mark
- Piero Vida as Ferrari
- Loredana Parrella as Corinne
- Ulrike Schwerk as Betty
- Domenico Fiore as Police Chief
- Mickey Knox as Old Cop
- Clain Parker as Irving Wallace
- James Sampson as Willy (as James E. R. Sampson)
- Richard Barkeley as Dr. Porter
- Danny Gordon as Dancer
- Claude Jurman as Dancer
- Mark Parkinson as Dancer
- Helen Porter as Dancer
- Dominique Portier as Dancer
- Rackel Roskoff as Dancer
- Frank Senica as Dancer
- Simone Sadon as Dancer (as Simone Sardon)
- Albert Schultz as Dancer
- Sandi Schultz as Dancer (as Sandy Schultz)
- Luigi Montefiori as Irving Wallace (in masked scenes only) (uncredited)