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Scream and Scream Again: A History of the Slasher Film (2000)

Documentary tracing the rise of the 'slasher' movie.
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Documentary tracing the rise of the 'slasher' movie.

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28 October 2000 (UK)  »

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An excellent introduction to some 'fundamentally nasty' films. This documentary is a perfect way to get excited by the ORIGINAL slasher classics all over again.
6 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Originally shown as part of a C4 season of slasher films, including the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare' and 'Scream', this documentary, presented by Mark "the-Exorcist-is-the-best-film-ever-made" Kermode is a very interesting and thorough journey through the films from which modern day horror icons such as Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface were born. With interviews from Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Sean S. Cunningham, Tom Savini, Gunner Hansen, and exploring the origins of their creations in real life cases such as that of the Wisconsin man Ed Gein, the film explored the fascination with the 'mad and macabre' and tries to shed light on why people enjoy being scared. With the Nightmare on Elm Street series, the bizarre celebrity status that the child-molester Freddy Kruger enjoyed (with even Freddy Pyjamas being available at one point)is touched upon, as is the in-depth look at the Friday 13th series of films. As Kermode walks around the filming locations for such iconic horror moments as the closing scenes at Camp Crystal Lake, and the suburban stillness of 'Haddonfield' it is very easy to become interested in these much forgotten films of the 70s and 80s. Even the lesser known entries into the genre such as 'Chopping Mall' 'Prom Night' and 'Graduation Day' get a mention. Noticing that Bob Clark's 'Black Christmas' was a forerunner to 'Halloween', and acknowledging Hitchcock's 'Psycho' and Mario Bava's 'Bay of Blood' deserves praise in itself, but credit must go to the makers for managing to compile an interesting and impressive collection of interviews with the masters of horror, talking even to John Carpenter. Whilst occasionally seeming apologetic for its own interest in the genre, the final tone of the documentary is that of defiant enjoyment. As Kermodes final summary at the end of the film clearly states. What with the embarrassingly never-ending torrent from Hollywood of the remakes of films such as 'Texas Chainsaw', 'The Hills Have Eyes', 'Black Christmas', 'Amityville' 'The Hitcher' 'When a Stranger Calls', and numerous others, watching this introductory documentary is a perfect way to get excited by the original masterpieces all over again.


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