Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) – By Brian Morton

 Sometimes, when you hear about a movie for a long time before you actually see it, the hype overshadows the movie. That’s the feeling I had going into Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon. I had been reading about this movie for the better part of a year, and actually had the chance to see it about a year ago slip through my fingers, so when Anchor Bay sent me a screening copy of the movie, my shirt barely touched my back, I ran so fast to my DVD player! And, to say that the movie lives up to the hype might be the understatement of the year.

Behind The Mask is set in a world where Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers are real life serial killers, and Leslie Vernon is planning on being the next iconic masked killer of teenagers. The movie is mostly a documentary, following Leslie as he plans his massacre. Leslie has chosen his group of kids, he’s carefully set up the scene to allow himself the maximum advantage and has even get together a nice back-story for himself. As the documentary crew follow him, Leslie seems at times to be an almost loveable weirdo and at others a dangerous psycho who they really shouldn’t be around. The movie follows Leslie through this night of horror, and, I’d tell you the amazing last half hour of the movie, but I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone, let’s just say, you won’t be disappointed, and, if you’re like me, you’re going to leave wanting more!!

Scott Glosserman, who co-wrote and directed the movie, has put together a love letter, of sorts, to the 80s slasher genre. And, while he could have made the movie a straight parody of the genre, Behind The Mask takes all the things that we love (and recognize) from the genre and uses it to full advantage without making it feel forced or fake at any time. Nathan Baesel, who plays Leslie, is so perfectly cast that, if I ever meet him on the street, I may run the other way! Nathan embraces Leslie with such zeal that he makes you really root for this guy who’s about to kill off a bunch of kids for, really, no reason whatsoever…but there are times that you’re just as excited at the prospect of the massacre as Leslie is, Nathan’s that good in this! Angela Goethals, who plays Taylor Gentry, the documentarian who’s following Leslie as he plans his night of horror, is also great. Angela’s character is really the one that makes the transition in the story, I’d tell you how, but that would give away too much, and this is a movie that deserves to be seen without too much insight into the story, let’s just say that, in a fair and balanced world, Angela would win many, many awards, as would Nathan!

I’m giving Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon four out of four cigars, because it’s a rare thing that a horror movie parody can capture both the humor and the horror of these great movies, this one does all that and so much more!! But, don’t just take my word for it, check this great movie out for yourself by heading over to the Anchor Bay Site to get your own copy, this is one movie that you need to add to your collection! So, until next time, when I’ll tell you about the time I planned to massacre a bunch of people…but then decided not to go to the family reunion after all…remember that the best movies are bad movies.