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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
It's only a documentary. . .It's only a documentary. . .
This is an interesting and pretty thorough documentary on the slasher film. It's not as good as reading a book on the subject, of course (there are several now, and this documentary is based on one of the better ones), but you get lots of films clips, and some interviews, not only with the usual horror convention attendees like Tom Savini and Felissa Rose,but also with more obscure characters like the Rabbi Herbert Freed who directed the obscure slasher "Graduation Day" (before he was a rabbi, of course).
What's most interesting for someone like me who is old enough to remember the first wave of slasher movies, is to recall how alarmed adults were at the time by these movies, which look like pretty harmless fun now. I especially remember the way they actually picketed "Silent Night, Deadly Night" because they were upset by the idea of an axe-murdering Santa Claus (in an ideal world these kind of idiots would be met with tear gas and police batons, just like anti-war protesters--who often have a legitimate reason for being upset--often are).
It's also ironic how widely available, thanks to DVD, uncut versions of these movies are today, considering how they were hacked up by American censors back then or outright banned over in Britain. It's probably just as stupid to get worked up about movies like "Hostel" or "Captivity" like people do nowadays. Remember the famous ad-line to "Last House on the Left" (one movie this doc barely mentions, although I guess it isn't really a slasher). "It's only a movie... It's only a movie. . .
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