Directed by Calum Waddell
Distributed by 88 Films
With many years of providing interviews, short documentaries and featurettes for the extras on various DVD and Blu-ray releases from UK genre champs Arrow Video under their belts, indie outfit High Rising Productions dig into their wealth of material to produce their very own interview-laden documentary Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever.
As the title suggests, the focus of Slice and Dice is firmly on the Slasher genre as director/interviewer Calum Waddell leads his subjects on an extensive verbal journey through the history of slasher films from their genesis to modern day, stopping on the way to investigate the celebrity-like image of the most commercially successful villains, the impact of special effects maestros as demand for gore increased, the basic tropes involved in just about any slasher flick, and much, much more.
In fact, it’s quite staggering just how much is delved into considering the relatively brief 75 minute runtime, which should tell you all you need to know about the pace, and attitude, of this fiercely independent piece of work — it rockets along with a constant deluge of spirited discussion supplied by a vast number of interviewees from heavyweights and stars such as Corey Feldman, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris, Jeffrey Reddick, Adam Green, Christopher Smith and Tom Holland through to a gamut of fans, effects wizards, low-budget filmmakers and up-and-comers like Arrow in the Head’s John Fallon, James Moran, Marysia Kay, Mark Atkins, Kevin Tenney and John Carl Buechler. Wandering attention is not something that you’re going to have to tackle once this particular documentary gets under way, that’s for sure.
From the title sequence featuring a specially-written track by punk band The Acid Fascists, Slice and Dice is regularly interspersed with endearing animated sequences, the style of which any regular viewer of Arrow Video releases should find very familiar, plus clips from various historical and modern examples of the slasher film. The assorted touches (such as interviewees appearing on a drive-in theatre screen or in the window of a spooky hand-drawn house), the pacing, construction and general feel of Slice and Dice display a voice that’s very much High Rising’s own — something which alleviates much of the potential criticism for the lack of any serious in-depth deconstruction of the genre. While Slice and Dice does cover a lot of ground, there’s little to be found in the way of eye-opening revelations or unconventional approaches to the works discussed — yet it’s so obviously and openly a labour of love that it’s impossible not to just fall into stride and join in the celebration of the best stalking and slashing to hit the big and small screen over the years.
This is a documentary made by fans, for fans, with fans, and on that front it’s a rollicking success made ever more impressive by its miniscule-budget origins and the sheer effort undertaken by a team as small as High Rising Productions in getting it to your screen. The whole thing feels like a birthday party for the slasher genre, which will make it absolutely essential for anyone sharing the same enthusiasm for the various classic kill factories that have thrilled and shocked us for so long.
4 out of 5