BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON
“That boy is about to seek revenge over the town that murdered him. He knows this, he says, because he himself is the heir apparent to that throne of terror so long held by the likes of Voorhees, Myers and Krueger. This man’s name is Leslie Vernon” Taylor Gentry
Year Of Release
A Grey freaky looking mask
Not so much the kill but the ingenious planning by Leslie that will change your view on all Slasher films ever made!
You know legendary maniacs Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. Now meet Leslie Vernon, the next great psycho-slasher. Vernon is a good natured killing machine who invites a documentary film crew to follow his every move in his preparation to become the new kid on the block. Taking advice from his murder mentor Eugene, the film crew watch in amazement as this guy who becomes their friend, sets up a life where he too will become as infamous as those he is trying to follow. As he plots his upcoming murder spree and also evade his nemesis Doc Halloran, the film crew see what it takes to become a slasher icon but when the actual carnage begins, where do you draw the line between voyeuristic thrills, mythic evil and good old fashioned slasher movie mayhem? When night falls, the mask comes on, the knife is in hand and the crew with their cameras running watch on while Leslie goes to work……..
Sometimes I watch a horror that makes me totally lost for words. Its very rare it happens with all the crap I go through, but when it happens I get a mighty thrill to what I am witnessing. I am going to start this review with a huge statement and one that will shock many that read my reviews and know how much I love my horror, especially the slash genre but here goes:
BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST SLASHER FILM I HAVE SEEN IN OVER TWENTY YEARS
I can not possibly write the words to tell my readers in how I have fallen in love with this film. If I was made to do a top 10 of all time great Slash films then this will be in the Top 6, I know that is a staggering quote but I have deeply fallen in love with this film and yet despite my best intentions in trying to watch and buy every horror film that gets released, this masterpiece never caught my eye until a few weeks ago.
When I was scanning the films to watch for my Slasherthon, I was looking at the many Top 100 official Best Slash Films Of All Time and what I found was this film in many of the Top 20’s. I read fans lavishing praise on such a brilliant film and I saw many quotes that said “How they wish many horror fans knew this was out!”. Checking for more info, I discovered that Behind The Mask was released in 2006, a long five years before I had even heard of it. How this never came to my attention is beyond me because as you lot know my biggest thrill for my love for the horror genre is finding gems not heard of to the main public. MaleVolence, The Torment, Session 9 and The Objective are many films that I have shouted through the roof tops for fans to watch and the HCF intention is to bring our readers the films that deserve to be known, so why did this film not come my way is a shocker. They do say that “the best things comes to those who wait!” and that phase totally fits this review, because when I finally bought this film and watched it only this week, my black horror heart melted into a pure rush of admiration for the makers of this horror. Any one who trusts my judgement after these past few years of reviewing for you then take my advice, “This horror film is the most original Slasher you will have seen” and it recalls the impact of Freddy Krueger way back in 1984. There is a new boogeyman in town horror fans but you have never seen one quite like this!
Right from the off you are subjected to the most ingenious of openings that will take your breath away and its not to do with an actress being chased up the stairs while she should be heading out of the front door. Let me tell you know guys, we do not meet Leslie way until the final half hour so I hear you cry. what happens till then?. Well the opening scene shows Colleague Student Film Maker Taylor (Angela Goethals) starting her film about evil serial killers. She shows us the three worst places where murders have taken place, they are Haddonfield, Camp Crystal Lake and Elm Street and I do not need to tell any horror fans who was responsible for those places. Straight away Behind The Mask establishes the quiet surreal and ingenious logic that this film is in a world where Myers, Jason and Freddy are not fictional characters but real people where the residents of those three places are too scared to even go to sleep at nights. Taylor is making a film where she believes the next Slash icon is going to be born, a man who will strike fear into a small town, that man being Leslie Vernon who has agreed to have a film crew document his every move in preparation for his murderous mayhem.
He then takes them to his childhood home, a place that will become his Camp Crystal lake where each year, on the anniversary of his “death,” the local kids dare each other to spend the night in the rundown house, a set up you see in all slash films. This year though its going to be different, because while the kids are drinking and smoking and having the usual sex, he will appear and start his legacy, its going to be fun, bloody and nothing but mayhem. This moment of the film is fantastic because it tells you all the things you have always wanted to know in the world of Slash. Remember the many Halloween and Friday films that show the kids having fun and then the lights go unexpectedly out, well Leslie shows us how the lights suddenly go out like that. Also recall the scenes of broken flashlights and weapons that the victims try to use, again we see why this happens and you can not help but be thrilled by what you are seeing, remember those TV shows called Breaking The Magician Code, a programme that showed a masked Magician giving away all the trade secrets. Well this is the equivalent of that show and the strong focal point after watching this film is that you never ever look at Jason and co in the same light again.
The Many Homage’s that litter the film, Behind The Mask:
* The Film’s Dr Loomis type character Doc Halloran is named after the cook in The Shining* Leslie’s real last name, Mancuso, is the surname of the actor who portrayed Billy in the 1974 Classic and of Frank Mancuso Jr a producer on most of the Friday 13th Films
* The scene where Leslie is showing the crew his intended victims at a school, look closer at the background and you see girls dressed in white and skipping, an image that has been shown in nearly all of the Elm St Films.
* The Lament Configuration can be seen next to a lamp in one scene, which all fans know is the infamous puzzle box from the Hellraiser films
* There is a scene where Leslie is standing next to sign advertising a bar called The Red Rabbit, a reference to the bar name spotted in the matchbook of the original Halloween film
* Music from The Shining can be heard in numer
ous scenes and in one, some blocks in the blockground spell out the word “RedRum!”
* Kane Hodder (Jason) is the guy seen walking into 1428 Elm Street. This was the address that Nancy lived in the original Freddy Film.