Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

May 6, 2012 - 10:07pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: Angela Goethals, Behind the Mask, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Ben Pace, Bridgett Newton, comedic, Hart Turner, Kane Hodder, Kate Lang Johnson, Krissy Carlson, Leslie Vernon, Nathan Baesel, Robert Englund, Scott Glosserman, Scott Wilson, Teo Gomez, Zelda Rubinstein

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Scott Glosserman
Nathan Baesel, Robert Englund, Angela Goethals, Zelda Rubinstein, Krissy Carlson, Scott Glosserman, Teo Gomez, Scott Wilson, Kate Lang Johnson, Bridgett Newton, Ben Pace, Hart Turner, Kane Hodder

Similar to the 1992 Belgium film, Man Bites Dog, Behind the Mask is part mockumentary and part slasher movie, with the film following a young female journalist and her crew of two (camera man and mic operator) as they document a man called Leslie Vernon -- a fairly new killer hoping to climb the ranks of the likes of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Leslie explains the ins-and-outs of being a killer, as he shows the crew how he picks his victims and plans out the murders down to the littlest detail, from plotting their routes they take when they try to escape, to what weapons they will choose when they stand and fight.

Like what Scream did to the slasher sub-genre in 1996 poking fun at the standard clichés and yet somehow still getting caught up in'em, Behind the Mask takes it one step further and goes into detail about the typical plot-holes that we encounter in numerous slashers and oddly-enough a lot of what he has to say seems to make sense. You can't help but love actor Nathan Baesel as the character Leslie Vernon, with his constant jokes with the crew and even showing his emotional side when discussing his thoughts and feelings about the events that will unfold. He seems so nice that you almost want him to be a good guy, but in the end we all know that when he dawns that mask he'll become the persona that he feels he was destined to play.

The movie has received a lot of praise from fans of the genre, and I have to admit that I thought I would like the film more than I actually did. I might have bought into the hype a little too much and expected more than I should have. It's a good movie, but I felt that there were some parts that might have dragged on a bit, and when it turned into an actual slasher flick after the first hour, the film just seemed to lose that fun comedic edge it had before. Throughout the entire documentary we're witness to Leslie training and plotting his next kill. With his sights set on a young virginal high school student named Kelly, Leslie walks us through what will happen (using the average clichés we've seen numerous times in slashers as a reference). Of course the crew steps in to try and foil Leslie's plans, essentially turning themselves into his latest victims.

Despite them supposedly knowing everything he had mapped out, they still fall into some of the typical clichés, which we all knew would happen. Even the "twist" towards the end was seemingly predicted very early on, but I suppose that can be overlooked since the first hour was pretty creative and witty. You'll spot a lot of horror references as the movie progresses, with the obvious nod to Halloween, with Robert Englund playing the Donald Pleasance role as the doctor who supposedly once looked after Leslie. Don't expect a lot of gore in the movie -- we get a decent amount of blood and at one point a victim's heart is put in his hand, but we don't actually see the heart being removed from his chest. When it boils down to it, Behind the Mask shows that low-budget horror can still deliver something interesting and original, and at the same time bring a funny light-hearted look behind the scenes of the typical slasher.

Creative, informative, funny, and smart; the film shows how a little low-budget mockumentary can succeed where big-budget genre films failed. Behind the Mask is an interesting and comedic look behind a beloved sub-genre that still manages to dish out the hacks and slashes when it's called for. Though, it may drag on a little at times, and essentially becomes what it pokes fun at, the movie still rises above many in the genre. Worth a rent.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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