Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007)
Directed by Scott Glosserman

Starring Angela Goethals Nathan Baesel Robert Englund

A rather funny "Scream"-like cross between a mockumentary and a direct-to-video slasher movie, "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" is custom-made for horror fans, but it isn't remotely scary and people that aren't already steeped in the lore of the genre won't quite get the joke. In fact, some people who are steeped in the genre won't get the joke either.

The film opens documentary-style with a film crew led by an intellectual interviewer (Angela Goethals) meeting and interviewing an almost metrosexual, Prius-driving nice-guy named Leslie Vernon, who also happens to be a serial killer stalking his latest victim. In the universe of this movie, Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers are all real – and referenced to early on the film – and Vernon is another killer. The idea of the movie is to take us behind-the-scenes of what the world of these masked killers lives are really like. "We have a code of ethics," explaining his craft to his documentarians. "The closet is the safest place."

Vernon (played by Baesel) is obsessed with enforcing horror movie cliché's – leaving clues for his victim at the library, finding a good-guy protector to oppose (Englund, this time taking over for Donald Pleasence in a Dr. Loomis-like role), and of course wearing a mask.

While some critics have dissed the film's last act, which is more straight horror film, I thought it was the best part. The best moments in "Behind the Mask" are when the film transitions from documentary film to traditional film. And it's kinda cool to think this film is set in the universe of the slasher titans. So if you're looking for something to check out over the weekend, a horror title that you've never seen before, definitely check out "Behind the Mask." Better than a lot of the horror fare that's out there -- and at the end of the film it is a horror movie, despite it's pretensions early on.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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