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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

I had Behind the Mask on my ‘pending’ list for a long time and now that Eyesore Cinema is open again, I was very happy to come across it while browsing for new movies to watch. For those of you who are wondering, Eyesore Cinema is a video store located in Bloor St W that specializes in rare, old, out of print cult movies (specially horror movies). Eyesore has been around for a long time now in Toronto. I try to rent only two movies a week, but the quality and extension of their catalog is such that picking only two movies a week is sometimes a difficult task and one can lose himself in the store for hours. Anyways, as soon as I found Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon I new I had to watch it, so I rented it.

The film was released in 2006 and it plays homage to our loved classic slasher films like Halloween or Friday the 13th. In Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon a film crew is preparing a documentary on next big horror icon, the next Freddy/Jason/Michael. They follow a man named Leslie Vernon, an average American man at first sight, who claims he will be this next icon in horror history. The crew is initially pretty skeptical of Leslie’s claims, as he seems to live a simple, normal, suburban life. The film crew follows Leslie while he portrays and explains every single cliché of the slasher genre. From explaining how he chooses his group of victims to why he needs a nemesis, Leslie deconstructs all the topics and conventions of the genre in hilarious detail. He is a man so passionate about his job that the film crew can’t help but feel sympathy for him. They fall for his charisma, almost forgetting it all leads inevitably to his murderous grand final act. And when the night of the final act arrives, the crew must decide if they finish the documentary they started or if they put an end to Leslie’s gory plan.

With cameos the size of Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist), Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th) this movie is one of the greatest horror mockumentaries ever made, and the perfect homage to the genre. If you ever watched a slasher movie and said “Omg, this is so duuumb…eeeewww! I don’t get why people like this…” well, then you’re probably not reading this… but if you’ve ever wondered about the philosophy behind slasher movies, you’ll find Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is worth a watch.

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