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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
This is pretty much what you'd expect from the title: a group of actors, directors and special effects people talk about the slasher genre of the early 1980s. They cover all the big ones, some of the lesser ones, and go over the backgrounds.
How did the Italian films of Mario Bava influence the slashers? Are they anti-woman? Do they make kids do bad things? Is it a dead genre? All of this is covered and more... such as the concept of the "final girl" and other tropes so often found in horror.
I would have liked a bit more history, and maybe more credit given to Bob Clark and "Black Christmas" (which, to me, deserves more recognition than John Carpenter's "Halloween"). But I can't really complain with all these people they found to interview -- getting Carpenter, Craven, Rob Zombie and more to appear on film? Well done.
I have met the man who wrote the book this film is based on, the charming Adam Rockoff. If this film was your idea of education, get his book! Much more than you can cram into a 90-minute film.
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