Lady Stay Dead (1981)

Night of Fear and Inn of the Damned are two of Australia’s first horror films. Their director, Terry Bourke, would go on to create this film, a quasi-slasher stalker film that’s packed with plenty of weirdness.

Gordon Mason is a handyman that’s obsessed with Marie Coleby, a young singer who treats everyone around her with snarling contempt. The film starts with what seems like him taking care of her needs, but he really just has a blow up doll that he pretends is her. She treats everyone around her like garbage, but Mason demands an apology from her, unlike everyone else. Later, he spies on her being tied up by a boyfriend.

Later that day, he breaks into her apartment, continually plays one of her songs and rapes her, thinking that it’s what she wants from what he watched before. Oh yeah — this dude also spends much of the film wandering around in mirrored shades, wearing a speedo and showing off one hell of a porn mustache.

After all that, she ends up biting Mason, so he holds her upside down and drowns her in a fish tank. Welcome to Australian film!

Mason gets caught by a neighbor, so he kills the man and his dog, too. But the killer had no idea that Marie’s sister, Jenny, is coming to visit. She instantly finds Marie’s jewels in the fish tank and the neighbor’s dead dog. Soon, Mason has transferred his stalkerly affection to her and only two policemen (the younger one being Roger Ward from Mad Max and Turkey Shoot) can save her.

What follows are the kind of antics that set Australian films apart: cops being set on fire, dead bodies being hidden in sheds, people being shot over and over, cops trying to drown their suspects and so much more.

This film didn’t come out in the US until 1986 and has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray in this country. Is it worth a release? There have certainly been worse films put out. It’s cheesy and not a little ridiculous, but it ends up being pretty tense by the end.

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