Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006)

Entertainment: 5++++++

For those of you with a subscription to premium cable channels, this is probably one of the best produced documentaries that I've seen in a long time--horror film related or not. For those of you who subscribe to Starz, try catching this movie that's running all month long.

I'm a young buck and compared to my other cohorts on this site, I'm not as well versed in all the crazy horror movies that came out in the 70's and 80's. If you are new to horror, and are looking to get into the 'back catalogue' of this genre, there are many films highlighted in this movie that will keep your NetFlix queue loaded for months. Even if you aren't a neophyte to the world of horror, I am sure there are some smaller, lesser known flicks talked about that just might peak your interest.

The film begins, as it should, mentioning some of the first entries into this genre with a main highlight, of course, being Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The movie progresses from each stage of the film genre's life cycle from early classics that spawned the generation, Halloween and Friday the 13th, to Prom Night and Slumber Party Massacre, to more modern slashers like the Scream series that gave the genre what seemed like a much needed shot in the arm.

I am not going to pretend to know everything about horror films of the 80's. Heck, my first exposure was Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master. I was a wee lad of about 9 and my friends and I decided to rent it for a sleep over (I think we also rented Return of the Living Dead). Anywhos, this movie scared me shitless, not because of Freddy per se but it was my first exposure to female breasts being shown on screen. The part where Freddy takes the form of the hot nurse only to strap the poor kid looking for some action to the bed with a onslaught of spewing tongues, freaked me the fuck out. My point being that I obviously missed a lot of other, better, movies that came out at this time due to my relative youth. But I digress.

So what this film does a great job of doing is telling the story of the folks that lived it, the John Carpenters and Wes Cravens that had this vision and passion, only to be rebuked by money hungry studio execs. They pressed on, and as a result, ushered in a new era of horror movies. What's so great are the perspectives told by these people who are just as passionate about horror movies as I am and as the other folks that write for this site. I loved the scenes with Tom Savini. Outside of Maniac and the Night of the Living Dead films, I had no idea how many other movies he had his hand in. The man is truly maniacal.

So find a way to see this flick, have someone TIVO it for you, subscribe to Starz for a day, get a bootleg copy, its well worth almost 2 hours spent. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a laundry list of movies that I must catch up on.

Cortez the Killer

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