Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Review by Marc
Welcome to the 1st meeting of Horror Fans Anonymous. Hi, Iâ€™m Marc and Iâ€™m a jaded horror movie fan (all together now: â€˜Hi Marc!â€™). Iâ€™ve been watching horror films for â€¦ Letâ€™s just say a number of years. Iâ€™ve tried to stop myself, but itâ€™s tough; you all know how tough it is.
I started out with the classic Universal flicks (No, not first run; Iâ€™m not that old! Geez!): Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Then I moved on to the Japanese monster movies like Godzilla, Gamera, and Rhodan. I discovered the great 50â€™s Drive-In movies like Them and the original version of The Thing. And then came the Hammer films; sex and horror all in one movie! Now that was heaven.
But such things start to get old after a while. I started looking for bigger thrills. John Carpenter stepped in to fill the void with his version of The Thing. He changed the look of monsters in film, and reinvented the genre.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre showed people that the monster could be human. Friday the 13th, and Halloween expanded on that theme, but grew tiresome quickly. Freddie brought your nightmares to a whole new level, but I still managed to sleep peacefully through most of the sequels.
Alien melded the science fiction and horror genres into one and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat through the whole movie. Unfortunately, the many imitators had me falling off of my seat and rooting around on the floor looking to see if there was any popcorn left in the bag I had trashed earlier.
And then came Scream. They not only recognized the mythos of the slasher films, they explained it and allowed the characters to fall prey to it anyway. I felt good about being a horror addict, because it allowed me to laugh at myself. It was a true reinvention.
I still grew jaded, but some films rose to pique my interest again. More and more of them came from the independent film-makers. Saw made me see things in a different light. Feast had me, and the Horror Diva, laughing at the audacity of it all; reinvention once again.
And then, last night, I saw Behind the Mask. I hate to say this friend, but Iâ€™m addicted once again. I left the wagon I fell off of in the parking lot of the Tivoli, and I havenâ€™t seen it since.
Independent film makers Scott Glosserman and David J. Stieve have created a slasher flick that not only acknowledges the formula (as Scream did), but adds a whole new dimension to it. You see the planning of a series of murders to create the desired, at least by the killer, fear factor. And a reporter covers the story from the inside.
The film starts with Leslie Vernon played by Nathan Baesel (the now you see his arm, now you donâ€™t, and there it is again, deputy from Invasion) inviting a reporter and film crew to follow him around as he plans his series of murders. His idols? Of course the aforementioned Jason, Michael, and Freddie.
Angela Goethals (Maya from Day 4 of 24) plays Taylor, the reporter whoâ€™s both repulsed and fascinated by Leslieâ€™s view of the world. And much of the first half of the movie is seen through the lens of two, unseen until later in the movie, cameramen as Leslie is making his plans, and Taylor is interviewing him and his mentor. There are more in jokes than you can shake a butcher knife at in these sequences; and Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll appreciate all of them.
Throw into this mix Robert Englund as a shrink turned psycho hunter, and Zelda Rubinstein (the small medium at large from Poltergeist) in a brief, but essential, cameo as a librarian, and youâ€™ve got a movie that will draw you into it body and soul. While you may guess whatâ€™s happening before its revealed (I did), you wonâ€™t care because youâ€™re enjoying the ride so much. BTW, you will definitely want to stay through the credits, and you will see this one coming.
That, my friend, is the true definition of addiction. Thank you, Misters Glosserman and Stieve, for hooking me on horror once again. I now have someone new to blame it on.
Originality: 4.5 Spikes out of 5
Gore Factor: 2.5 Spikes out of 5
Black Humor: 5 Spikes out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 Spikes out of 5