Guest blogger Blake Simonsen files this report.
What do you get when you mix Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers?…Leslie Vernon, sort of. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a mockumentary about a serial killer in the same vein as Freddy, Jason, and Michael. The movie attempts to, and mostly succeeds, to walk a fine line between origin story of a slasher film serial killer and mockumentary embracing the entire slasher genre. This embrace includes dissecting the plots and symbolism in slasher films, numerous references and homages to previous slasher films, and casting the likes of Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger himself), Kane Hodder (one of the actors who portrayed Jason Voorhees), and Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina of Poltergeist’s “This house is clean” fame) in smaller roles.
The story is about a documentary crew consisting of graduate film students following around a serial killer as he plans out and performs his next massacre. It’s extremely self-referential to the slasher genre along the same lines as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Scream, but with a twist. This serial killer is more than happy to reveal the secrets of “mystical” mass-murderers.
The mockumentary material is far stronger than the actual slasher material. Also, the slasher material doesn’t necessarily hold up with what modern audiences will expect in terms of tension and gore. However, if you are a fan of slasher flicks, this Oregon based film is definitely worth a viewing. It’s readily available at most video rental stores and through-the-mail rental services, including being available for streaming through a certain online rental service that you can probably guess the name of.
This dissection was performed by Blake Simonsen, Oregon Movies, A to Z’s designated slasher film connoisseur. Blake is the second guest blogger to appear on Oregon Movies, A to Z, after Ellen Thomas.