SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

SXSW Film

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

D: Scott Glosserman; with Nathan Baesal, Angela Goethals, Robert Englund, Scott Wilson, Zelda Rubinstein, Kate Lang Johnson, Britain Spellings

Is it possible to do a slasher film today that isn't self-reflexive? After Scream, is the horror flick that winks at horror flick icons old news? Not in Behind the Mask, which somehow is self-reflexive about self-reflexive films (wink, wink). A film crew is given exclusive access to a would-be Jason Vorhees/Freddy Krueger/Michael Myers. Our antihero Leslie Vernon spells out the cardinal rules of the slasher hero: First, pick the potential survivor – and she'd better be a virgin. The film starts off treading goofy ground, but somewhere along the way, Glosserman slaps us across the skull and confidently turns the switch to gruesome. Give big props to Baesal, who is frighteningly perfect as Vernon, a horror fan who takes his genre bloody seriously. His fellow screamers will delight at appearances by Freddy his own bad self, Robert Englund, and Zelda Rubinstein of the Poltergeist films. And how can you not love a film that includes a cameo by a Kreuz Market gimme hat? Two severed thumbs way up.

12mid, Alamo Downtown

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