Jun 11, 2008

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

One thing about me, I love surprises. When I watch a film that I expect to be utter crap, and it turns out to be good, let alone amazing, my heart skips a beat. This little gem is everything that was used to success in a film like Evil Dead II; part comedy, satire, and a mean horror film. Behind the Mask is a mean film to an extent. The first half of the film encompasses a mockumentary of sorts, depicting a would-be serial killer. This first half can be highly related to Belgian's Man Bites Dog, and then out of nowhere, it shifts horrifically.

Behind the Mask takes place in a fictional world in which Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Chucky, and Freddy Krueger all exist. This world is also inhabited with reporters willing to follow around a young serial killer who wants to make his mark. Such cliched rules are explained which often end with humorous results. The "Survivor girl" and "Ahab" are explained. While this should have been a stale approach which can be read in books such as How to Survive a Horror Movie?, It is true that the aforementioned absurdities commonly occur in slashers.

Slashers. I hate that title. I hate the genre. Just the very word brings up painful memories of the chances i have given, and the hours that i have wasted attempting to adapt to the modern horror film. Even though I appreciate the slasher-esque ending, I can't help but discriminate against it as a whole. The twist in the film certainly was predictable, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. Once again, Horny teenagers find themselves trapped in a horrifying situation. Things might have not been so bad if they would stay away from substance abuse.

As with any Anchor Bay release, you can expect a cameo from Robert Englund as Leslie's "Ahab" These days, "cult" icons probably get pitched a couple hundred to a thousand dollars to appear in the next bargain bin horror film. Ken Foree's role in Devil's Den comes to mind. I do respect Robert Englund's role and career though. He has that face that is recognizable. His grizzled facial hair makes for a good supporting actor for films such as these.

This isn't a perfect film, nor is it great. Being a good film is still tough business. Nathan Baesel (Leslie Vernon) is one of the most over-charismatic, pompous asses i have ever experienced in a film. Near the climax of the film is the only time when he acts as an iconic horror villain. I do appreciate his mask though. For the task of creating a memorable mask, Scott Glosserman has created a chilling caricature of a muppet skull.

Behind the Mask is a film that stands out on its own. No matter how many other films are titled this, whether they be Slipknot films or documentaries on Rob Zombie's Halloween, this is a film that deserves its title and brandishes playful originality. Speaking of originality, I loved watching the credits. Too bad a really shitty band was playing in the background, or It might have had the benefit of being creepy.


1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I wonder if Zelda Rubinstein was a tasty bird when she was 18? (its possible). By the way, i want to bugger Angela Goethals (as she was when she was 18, not as she is now obviously).