Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Okay, its been WAY too quiet around here.
A week? We went a whole week with no posts? What the hell is wrong with us broads, huh!?
Okay Stac DID post...so that just makes me the loser. I'll admit that.
So one great thing about when I go home to visit my mom and dad other than the cooking is that they have premium cable. We're talking the works. EVERY channel. So at night when everyone is asleep except me (because I have issues sleeping in a different bed than I'm used to) I get to catch up on movies or laugh my ass off at soft core porn until I finally pass out.
One of the films I managed to catch was Behind the Mask: The Rise of Lesley Vernon. Now I've been curious about this movie for a while now. What I've read about it was mostly mixed. Some people think its wonderful, some people think its lame. I was pleasantly surprised by the film.
Now I wouldn't go on to say that Holy Crap! this is the end all be all of horror movie shaky cam comedies!...wow, that is a bit of a specialized niche. The movie has some flaws, mostly with its pacing but overall I found the film fun, pretty darn clever, and almost sentimental.
Here's the trailer
Behind the Mask is about a documentary team who is working with a gentleman named Lesley Vernon. Lesley is a killer much in the same vein as Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers. In fact I was lead to believe that the trio mentioned above were real people in this movie's universe. Lesley invites the crew to follow him on his little escapade into slaughter, showing them and us the ins and outs of the biz.
Now the summary sounds pretty basic. When I read it I thought I had the whole movie figured out. But Behind the Mask does take some unexpected turns. I expected Lesley to be a creepy hulking fellow but he really is just a guy. And not just a guy but a really nice, funny, and charming guy. Lesley is probably a guy who you'd love to go out and have a few beers with, maybe shoot some pool. And Hell, if he said one day 'Hey! lets go slaughter some teens!" chances are you'd get so caught up in his enthusiasm you'd reply "Sure!" followed by a long "Woooooo!". You can give that to the credit of actor Nathan Baesel who plays him with such sweetness that you really find yourself rooting for the guy to get his kills in.
The movie gives you a very tongue in cheek inside look at the head of a slasher killer. throughout the film, Lesley gives the crew an explanation of various horror film cliches such as how a killer picks out his victims or how they just keep coming back to life. I think my favorite part of the film was when Lesley takes his crew to meet his mentor, an old slasher killer from the late sixties/early seventies. He's settled down with an adorable wife and they all sit around swapping war stories and such. The whole scenario is so incredibly normal that you don't even think about what they're really talking about.
Behind the Mask is shot in a mockumentary style way, less like the nausea inducing camera work of Cloverfield and more steady and sure like Spinal Tap. While most of the film is shot in this style, it does switch to "Real Horror Movie Mode" where you jump out of the documentary and go right into an old fashion horror movie complete with creepy lighting and mood music. It jarred me a bit at first but after a second I found the whole idea really hilarious and just went with it.
The movie starts out pretty light hearted even borderline parody. Then it slowly starts to take a left turn and you catch glimpses Lesley's dark side. The becomes tense and suspenseful with really great old fashion slasher chase sequence. While the parody moments are fun and cheeky, the movie is rather well rounded showing humor, suspense, fear, and even sadness.
Overall Behind the Mask is a labor of love. You can tell the film makers love the genre they're working in and what could appear to be a mocking parody comes across more as a loving tribute to slasher films. The characters are appealing, the story is clever, and it also has Robert Englund in a small part and frankly, that makes about any horror film better.
So if you're looking for a fun film, definitely check out Behind the Mask. Its not life changing but its entertaining and worth the rental fee for sure.