Truth be told, a serial killer mockumentary has been done before and with great effect in Man Bites Dog. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a little more tongue-in-cheek than that modern classic, and it's a decently good time, too. As in Dog, here we have a camera crew following around murderer Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel). Only rather than in gritty reality, Leslie lives in a pseudo-real-pseudo-movie-world where Jason Voorhees and Freddy are actual people. We catch up with Leslie as he plans his comeback, having been vanquished long ago, which will occur in a spooky farmhouse full of co-eds and jocks, with macabre methods of impaling and otherwise dispatching his victims being planned.
Director Scott Glosserman milks the horror genre for all it's worth, making fun of the usual hiding places, useless defensive tactics, and poor decision making abilities of the usual killer fodder characters. Throughout it all he explains to the camera crew how his kind of people work, why the closet is a safe place to hide, for example.
Glosserman trots out numerous horror regulars (most notably Robert Englund, as Leslie's nemesis), and the joke doesn't quite wear out its welcome before the end, when Leslie puts his plan into place and the TV crew capturing all of this suddenly has a crisis of conscience over abetting his crimes. Fun stuff, though the jokes ultimately miss as much as they hit. It's hardly a masterpiece, but horror fans will definitely get a charge out of it and those looking for something out of the ordinary on the video shelf wouldn't go astray with Behind the Mask... provided Man Bites Dog is already rented, that is.
DVD extras are copious, including deleted and extended scenes, commentary track, and making-of and casting-of featurettes.
Choke yourself. With my hand, not yours!
Run time: 92 mins
In Theaters: Friday 13th October 2006
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 9
IMDB: 6.8 / 10
Director: Scott Glosserman
Producer: Al Corley
Screenwriter: Scott Glosserman, David J. Stieve
Starring: Nathan Baesel as Leslie Vernon, Angela Goethals as Taylor Gentry, Robert Englund as Doc Halloran, Scott Wilson as Eugene, Zelda Rubinstein as Mrs. Collinwood, Bridgett Newton as Jamie, Kate Lang Johnson as Kelly
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