Random Movie of the Week: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

(I do not own this photo)

Good horror movies are hard to come by these days.  That is not to say there are all duds but only a few have been worth remembering.  To me some of the most attention worthy horror movies are the ones that have you rethinking and in a way poking fun at the genre.  Ever since Wes Craven’s Scream it has been a sort of fad to recognize and point out the obvious path that horror movies take and the characters in the story.  Tucker & Dale Vs Evil managed to show us an alternative side to the victims in slasher movies that maybe the alleged ruthless, psychotic killer(s) are actually just misunderstood.  Then most recently there was Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.  If you have seen it you know where I am going with it but if you have not then just go see for yourself.  Which brings me to this week’s random movie that take a look behind the scenes of what it take be a serial killer, Behind the Mask:  The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Here is a brief synopsis of the plot:  A film crew working on a documentary about what it takes to be a real life serial killer work alongside a young man, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), who is showing them the tricks of the trade.  Vernon enlightens the crew on how he developed the spoken word of his legend among the crowd, physical/cardio training, picking the right candidates to be his victims, how he plants the seed to spark their interest, scoping out the locations, rigging them in his favor, and so much more.  But the film crew faces a dilemma of whether or not to let Leslie go through with his vision.  Here is the trailer:

There is a lot to take in from the story of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  The first is that in this reality Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger actually exist!  And I think they mention Chucky too.  I mean the idea of them really existing is both cool and scary but what this movie eludes to is that the famous cinematic slashers are an alternative persona from who they really are.  When you think about it, it is a crazy thing to toy around with in your head about how Leslie was inspired by them and that they trained and prepared just as he does.  It answers a lot of those questions like “who did the killer know they would go there” or “how do they know so much about the house” and so much more.  But I must add this is and indie flick so it is low budget so there is not much gore because a lot is left to imagination.  For example, we know what a person getting there neck snapped looks like so all they need to do is play the sound.  You will know what I mean when you see the movie.  Plus it is cool how it starts out with a found footage feel and switched over to being like a real movie.

The cast was great as well which is why the story is so well told.  Nathan Baesel was amazing as Leslie Vernon, he could go from an energetic, happy, and funny guy to a cold, aggressive maniac effortlessly.  One of the best scenes is actually in the trailer when he is talking about the cardio he has to do, just hysterical and clever dialogue throughout the movie.  And I have to acknowledge the legendary cameos by Robert Englund as the Ahab, Zelda Rubinstein (short woman from Poltergeist) as the story telling librarian, and Scott Wilson as Leslie’s mentor, Eugene.

Final verdict, this is easily a 9/10 because it is just a genius horror/comedy/thriller.  If you consider yourself a horror movie fan you have to check this one out.  You will be glad you did.

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  1. #1 by AndyWatchesMovies on June 28, 2012 - 9:47 AM

    This one sounds really interesting. I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t heard of it before. Thanks for the great recommendation!

    • #2 by rochpikey on July 1, 2012 - 8:26 AM

      Any time! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Let me know what you think and thanks for reading!

  2. #3 by robotvampireproductions on July 1, 2012 - 11:14 AM

    This is definitely a gem. I rented it from Blockbuster once and watched it twice, then listened to the audio commentary immediately after. I really hope the Kickstarter campaign they have going for the sequel is successful. I want more Leslie Vernon.

    • #4 by rochpikey on July 1, 2012 - 3:26 PM

      Yeah the makers of the movie definitely had a great grasp of what they wanted accomplished with this and it came out great. I too hope for a sequel and am very curious about what it might be like. I loved the documentary style in the beginning and that it transitioned to a movie feel. Which makes you think what angle they will play with the next one. If it is like the Scream series there are rules that I am sure Leslie has set for what has to be done in the next installment of his legend.

      • #5 by robotvampireproductions on July 1, 2012 - 10:01 PM

        It really was a great unique look at the horror genre. It may never have happened if it wasn’t for Scream but it exists all on its own and takes an entirely different and fresh look at the slasher film genre. There’s so little original in the slasher genre it’s always nice when someone finds a way to breathe new life into it. My writing partner and I are trying to find a hook ourselves. I have always loved the sub-genre and want to write something in it. I just hope what we came up with works on paper and not just our minds.

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