October Extras #15 - Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon

OCTOBER 15, 2007


Not sure why I didn’t just write a review for Behind The Mask when it was in theaters for a minute or so last spring. According to my records, I watched Bloody Birthday the same day, and only wrote about that. Then again, this was prior to doing “Non Canon” reviews, and since I first saw the film at Screamfest last year, I guess I just opted not to write it up.

I didn’t say it would be an interesting anecdote.

The film is great, though it doesn’t hold up to subsequent viewings as much as I would have liked. All the slasher references are great (and more importantly – not very distracting), and one bonus to re-watching the film is picking up on a few others. According to director Scott Glosserman, there’s a Halloween reference in the film that NO ONE has picked up on yet, and I am determined to find it (after the Screamfest screening, he told me I was one of only two people, the other being the film’s composer, to point out another obscure one. *Nerd beams*). But some of the humor doesn’t really resonate on a 2nd or 3rd viewing as much as it originally did, and the film’s 3rd act loses some of its initial punch.

The 3rd act was reviled by some when the film first came out, and I am not sure why. It seems a perfectly logical payoff to the film, and it’s far from badly done. But again, as it was sort of a surprise the first time, watching it again, you just kind of wish they kept with the documentary stuff.

But the film is still incredibly well made, and sort of makes you proud to be a slasher fan. All of the little clichés are torn apart (and utilized), but in a loving and honored way. The scene where Leslie Vernon explains how slashers have to do cardio and tai chi in order to do that whole “Walk after someone running but still keep up with them” thing is possibly the most genius idea in the history of mockumentaries, and Nathan Baesel’s performance is pretty award-worthy if you ask me (and no one has). Also, it’s a nice touch to have Robert Englund more or less playing Sam Loomis, right down to the trenchcoat. It’s the best tribute I’ve seen to the character/actor (why hasn’t anyone made a Loomis talking action figure???).

However, the commentary track is pretty much the most annoying track ever recorded in all of DVD history. It’s four of the actors, and throughout almost the entire track, they are carrying on two separate conversations or just making in-jokes and laughing at them. It’s probably the first time in history I have felt like a 3rd wheel when I was technically by myself. When a track comes out like this, you gotta wonder why the DVD company (in this case, Anchor Bay) bothers putting it on at all. I admire anyone who can get through the entire thing in one sitting (took me three). The other extras are interesting, if nothing as unique as the film itself.

Roughly 20 people went to see this in theaters. All of the 5.9999999 billion other people in the world are on my shitlist. I kind of like the irony that Anchor Bay released the year’s two best horror films in theaters (the other being Hatchet), but no one showed up, presumably because they were broke from re-buying all the Anchor Bay titles that get re-released every other week or so (Halloween, with a new cover!).

What say you?


  1. I'm definitely adding this to my netflix list and bumping it up near the top. I hope to (make my husband) watch a lot of horror movies in the next couple of weeks.

  2. I liked the third act a lot too. I thought it fit well with thr rest of the movie.

    I get a kick out of the line about putting near dead batteries in the flashlights!

  3. Scoring the tree branches kills me. Also "Why don't they try to break the first floor windows?" "You know, I have no idea..."

  4. "i only keep pets that i can eat" was what sold me.

  5. I watched the movie over the weekend based on your recommendation and it was really funny. Thanks!

  6. I honestly don't understand how anyone can think the third act fits with the rest of the movie. It goes from documentary style to regular old shitty boring slasher. God, what a disappointment.

  7. i saw this once and Hatchet twice in theaters!

    were you at the midnight showing at the sunset 5 for Behind the Mask? there was a q and a after teh movie at like 2am and Robert Englund told people that if they would bring their friends to see this movie he woudl buy them a drink and sleep with them. then he said he would even wear the glove. one of my fav geek out moments ever.

  8. This was primarily a comedy, and the third act was a (respectful) extension of that. (Ex: "What kind of survivor girl jumps on the nerdy kid's Johnson like it's a pogo stick?!") On the other hand, you gotta love the post-hole digger!

    I'm mainly pissed about the scenes they chose to delete, namely the walk-run demonstration (They always trip!) and the bizarrely named "Groundhog Day" ("The worst is the holy water . . . little cesspools of bacteria. It's disgusting!")

    This is one of my new favorite movies!

  9. i've been sitting on this film for two years, couldn't be bothered to watch it, even with all the good reviews. finally watched it. and all i can say is that this is a very entertaining film. if you like slasher films, then this mockumentary is perfect for you! the explanation of why these guys do what they do is like a big in joke, but works very well in the context for leslie's beliefs. the 3rd act is perfect, it makes the the actions of leslie before the third act totally pay off, because that is what he was aiming for!

  10. I know this is like 3 years too late - but I just watched this film, and my favorite part has to be the song from the Shining (Midnight, the Stars, and You) playing softly in the background as Leslie is applying his make-up. Subtle and awesome.

  11. Love this film. It's completely underrated and it feels like it's practically unknown. I agree with all you've said!

  12. Absolutely dug this movie, and unless I'm functionally a twit, couldn't get the captions to work without muting the TV. Had to rewind quite a bit to get some of the dialog. Some of the throwaway lines are so great 'nice working with you man'

  13. I think you may have answered the question about the Halloween reference without realizing it. You said Robert Englund reminded you of Sam Loomis, well maybe that's the "nod to Halloween" right there. If it's not, I have a few scenes in mind that may have some potential, but it's been at least 2 years since I've seen the movie, so I don't remember much about it.

  14. According to IMDb the Halloween reference is the name of the pub, Red Rabbit. Same as the matchbook Loomis finds.


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