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Phil Nobile Jr.
This historical and critical look at slasher films, which includes dozens of clips, begins with "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," and "Prom Night." The films' directors, writers, producers, and special effects creators comment on the films' making and success. During the Reagan years, the films get gorier, budgets get smaller, and their appeal wanes. Then, "Nightmare on Elm Street" revives the genre. Jump to the late 90s, when "Scream" brings humor and TV stars into the mix. Although some criticize the genre as misogynistic (Siskel and Ebert), most of the talking heads celebrate the films: as long as there are teenagers, there will be slasher films, says one. Written by
The positive things about "Going To Pieces" are that it tries hard to include as many Slasher flicks as possible and deliver pieces of trivia for each of them. There are interviews with some influential directors of the genre (John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Sean Cunningham,...), actors, make-up guru Tom Savini and some "horror-experts".
For starters, this movie is a good introduction to the genre. Real fans will not find a lot of new information here. We all know about the influence of "Halloween", we've heard the story of how Freddy Krueger has been created, we know how Wes Craven revived the genre with "Scream". Sure, it's unfair to criticize that all this is being told again in a documentary like this. After all the story wouldn't be complete without this information, but in the end one can't learn too much from "Going To Pieces".
It would have been a real treat to learn the history of gore in movies, to learn about the influences for American slasher in detail. Instead we are only told about Italian horror in what seems like 2 minutes and then there's no further mention of it. "Halloween" is made out to be the first slasher movie, when even "Black Christmas" came before it in America. "Friday The 13th" is given more credit than it really deserves as an original movie. Make no mistake, I'm not trying to imply that those movies aren't very important to the genre, but it would have been a fresh approach to take a closer look at their origins.
Another thing to consider is that before "Going To Pieces" you should either make sure that you know all of the movies mentioned in the documentary or accept the fact that some great twist endings will be spoiled for you, some of which are the only reason to watch these flicks in the first place ("Sleepaway Camp", "Happy Birthday To Me").
In the end "Going To Pieces" will get you excited about watching old slasher flicks again (probably until you rent something like "Pieces" and realize the film is not half as exciting as it's made out to be in hindsight), but there are books out there that are a lot more informative than this documentary.
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