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Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006)

Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film  (click for larger image)Starring Jeff Katz, Anthony Timpone, Betsy Palmer, Tom Savini, Malek Akkad, Bob Clark, Harry Manfredini, Greg Nicotero, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Felissa Rose

Produced by Rudolf Scalese

Distributed by Starz Entertainment Group


We know them. We love them. Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, Michael, Norman, etc. In Starz Entertainment Group’s newest documentary Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, the gang is all here, and they’ve brought a hefty helping of some of their most violent kills with them. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. From the classic Terror in the Aisles to the tepid Boogeymen, in-depth looks at our favorite genre will always have a place in my heart, mainly because it’s like sitting back and watching a genre’s greatest hits collection.

The slasher sub-genre is one that has been done, over-done, murdered, jumped several sharks, and then resurrected. Just like the villains of these flicks, you can’t kill the slasher. Who better to make a new documentary about them than a horror fan? Director Jeff McQueen loves these movies and knows what the audience wants to see. Every clip of film is assembled with the utmost care and then wrapped with interviews with some of our favorite stars. Honestly, there’s nothing not to like here.

One thing to be extremely happy about is that no stone is left unturned. It’s not just the big bads above that get their due. The second, third, and fourth stringers are alive, kicking, and getting their chance to shine as well. It’s always nice to see the under-appreciated loonies like Harry Warden of My Bloody Valentine fame, Cropsy from The Burning, and of course The Prowler bring their unique brands of hacking to the table. Hopefully younger horror fans who have never heard of them will seek them out after seeing some of their best kills spotlighted.

Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film  (click for larger image)I’ll never forget being in my local mall and browsing Suncoast Video’s horror section when I overheard two brain-dead miscreants jabbering at the mouth:

Miscreant #1: *Picks up DVD for Scanners* Dude, check out how fucking cool this looks!

Miscreant #2: Fuck that movie, man! It’s ancient! They didn’t even have CGI back then!

Me: *Runs from the store in a fit of rage and disgust before giving in to the urge to choke the brainless, acne-laden little scumbag with my shoelace for thirty-five minutes*

Here’s your chance to learn something, whippersnappers! You’re the future of this genre so you had better fucking pay attention, or I will never relinquish these reigns! They will have to pry my cold dead hands from this keyboard.

Ahem … back to the review.

Going to Pieces is one of the most comprehensive genre-specific documentaries I have ever seen. Mainly because it isn’t just the movies themselves that get covered. Also examined are the critics who bash them (I found myself shouting at the TV during some old Siskel and Ebert footage), the big-name talents who were spawned from them, and even some of horror’s most ridiculous occurrences. Anyone here remember the whole Silent Night, Deadly Night debacle? For those who do not, basically what happened was parents threw a fit just because the killer in the flick wore a Santa Claus outfit. They called Congress, formed picket lines, and eventually got the film pulled from theatres. Talk about too much time on their hands. Did the NHL freak out when Jason put on a hockey mask? No. Did Black and Decker threaten to sue because Leatherface loves one of its power tool products? Of course not. All these years later the whole situation seems so much sadder. Especially since in recent years Billy Bob Thornton and former WWE grappler Bill Goldberg played much meaner Santas than Silent Night, Deadly Night‘s Billy Chapman. It’s impossible to see the archive footage of these parents and not laugh at them. Kudos to the filmmakers for bringing this comic relief!

If there’s anything negative to be said about this documentary, it’s the fact that uber-fans will learn nothing new from it. While the rapid uncensored kill montages are top-notch and very welcome, some of the things the subjects speak about is stuff we’ve all heard several times by now from watching their respective DVD’s. I know I am nitpicking, and I am sure newbies and casual fans will be thoroughly entertained by this information, but if I have to hear Wes Craven go on about the origin of Freddy one more time, I’m going to pull what little hair I still have on my head out by the root. There will certainly be times when that fast-forward option on your remote will seem kind of enticing. Thankfully, these lulls in the action don’t last long.

Make no bones about it — Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is a must see. Set your VHS’s, your DVR’s, and whatever else you may have. You wont want to miss one gore-soaked second.

5 out of 5

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Comments

Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.