Following In Their Footsteps (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, 2006)

BHtM_PosterFreddy. Jason. Michael. Pinhead. Leslie.  You’ve heard of Leslie right? No?  Well, of course you haven’t…yet.

The conceit of Behind the Mask is that all the slasher villains are real land live in one big old extended universe. A news team with the hopes of making a name for themselves have connected with Leslie Vernon, an aspiring slasher villain.

Leslie’s back story is that he committed some evil acts as a child, a mob threw him off of a bridge and now a couple decades later, he has returned to seek vengeance. His plan revolved around teens going to have a party at his old family farmhouse.

The movie plays with the tropes of the slasher, such as when Leslie explains to the reporter and her crew that his training is important…because while everyone is running as fast as they can…he has to keep up while making it appear that he is walking. Then there is the obsessed psychiatrist who is in dogged pursuit of Leslie, Doc Halloran. In a brilliant bit of stunt casting, the Doc is played by Robert Englund.

Part of what works so well is how you have these human moments between Leslie and the news crew. For instance, they have dinner with a retired slasher Eugene (played by the late Scott Wilson) and his wife. It is this regular setting as Eugene cooks dinner, but is reminiscing about killing and then getting philosophical about how guys like Freddy and Jason totally changed the game.

The filmmakers have a lot of fun with their premise, and it is clearly made by people who have a love for horror. This is one of those films that seemed like it might make a splash…but it seems like I don’t hear people talk about it much anymore.  Which is to bad, it is a lot of fun and makes the most of its high concept.

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