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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
I can't even begin to describe my feelings for this extremely informative, and entertaining documentary. Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of The Slasher Film is an amazing look at the critically panned, but successful genre of horror, "the slasher genre" to be specific. The slasher genre is probably my second favorite genre, first being the situation dialog world of film. If I become a critic, a dream I hope I will fulfill, I can assure you I will be the only critic who gives a positive review to a slasher film. Remakes will not live by that rule.
The film is mainly about how slashers had their fifteen minutes of fame starting in the late seventies with the film Halloween (of course there were dozens that preceded this, but this was the first that got a lot of recognition. And the first to come to fan's mind when hearing the term). A countless number of slasher followed, but none of which really seemed to catch on, like Don't Go in the Woods Alone and He Knows When You're Alone.
Friday the 13th came out in 1980, and that was the next big horror film that spawned a countless number of sequels. And it became a box office success in no time. The next biggie was A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. The slasher that would spawn another line of sequels, and a crossover with F13's Jason Voorhees in 2003.
The one thing about the film is it not only goes into the bigger, more well known icons of the horror genre, but also the smaller ones that were sometimes made by companies that no longer exist now. When Halloween and F13 came out, other companies and sometimes just regular people would go and make a slasher film. Why not? It's cheap entertainment! You don't need a big budget, a whole lot of script, good actors, or even a moral. Just have some traumatized kid grow up to be a traumatized adult that goes around killing everyone for reasons you can't quite explain. I guarantee, it will have a following of some kind.
The film features three of the horror greats that I can't get enough of; John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and Tom Savini. Carpenter is the director of Halloween, Craven is the director of A Nightmare on Elm Street and dozens more cult films, and Tom Savini is the makeup artist on films like The Burning, Friday the 13th, and Maniac. Rob Zombie and others make appearances as well.
The film was made in 2006 I believe, so around that time there weren't a whole lot of remakes out, which I'll be the first to say this ever, was a bit disappointing since I wanted to hear what the directors of the films would say about their films being remade. Most of them poorly. At least we hear a few moments of Zombie explaining his Halloween, but that's about it.
While the movie spits facts like none other, it doesn't really get into the way these films made people feel. In the eighties, people weren't used to these movies, and many were freaked when seeing them in the theaters. I wish they would've shown some footage of people in the theater watching these films, or just the directors talking about the first time they saw a Horror film. That would've made the film a four star film.
My favorite segment hands down was when they discussed Silent Night, Deadly Night's boycotts, and overreactions from uptight parents. Seriously, this movie wasn't in the theaters very long because of parents who didn't know what the form of "dark entertainment" was. Why didn't they boycott a movie that was released four years earlier called Christmas Evil? Nothing pisses me off more than parents that overreact to something, and prevent others from enjoying it.
One lady on this documentary, Felissa Rose I believe, stated that if her daughter saw the trailer to this film she would explain what kind of entertainment there is in the world, and why it's a work of fiction. Not make a damn picket sign, and stand in front of a theater in the subzero weather because you get offended when you see something that is likely to be out of kid's heads come the holiday season.
Aside from simple flaws, Going to Pieces is highly educated and an informative look at a genre that should go anywhere but "to pieces".
Starring: John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tom Savini, Felissa Rose, Sean S. Cunningham, and Jeff Katz.
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