Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a refreshingly clever mockumentary set in a world where horror legends Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers didn’t stem from Victor Miller, Wes Craven, and the team of John Carpenter & Debra Hill, but rather actual “supernatural killing sprees.” So unlike the inspired killers in Craven’s Scream, Leslie hasn’t seen too many scary movies—he’s seen too much news coverage.
Set in Glen Echo, Leslie (Baesel) sets out to imitate his favorite serial killers, whom his mentor (Scott Wilson) refers to casually as “Jay, Fred, and Mike,” while dissecting the Freudian symbolism of “real-life” horror: a closet is the womb, while an axe, he explains, is clearly a phallical object for the heroine. The film (in all its tongue-in-cheek glory) details the hows and whys of teenage victims, power outages, and weapon failure that have engulfed serial killer flicks.
Behind the Mask is one of the funniest, most clever films of 2007, with its playful Man Bites Dog-esque style and unique spin on the horror genre. Debut filmmaker Scott Glosserman has fun with the film, both attacking and defending the virtually finito genre’s necessitous clichés. When Leslie plots an elaborate scenario within the town’s library to steal the attention of his “survivor girl,” it opens the possibility that horror movies aren’t forced, but planned meticulously by the villain. It’s one of the most clever moments in the film and makes us wonder, “What Would Jason Do?”
Behind the Mask hosts a collection of faces that horror fans will find flavorful. A primary character, Doc Halloran (the surname lifted from The Shining), is played by Robert Englund, who the characters suspiciously don’t identify as a Freddy Krueger doppelganger. There’s also a small role for Zelda Rubinstein, better known as medium Tangina in the Poltergeist series. But, wait, who’s that entering 1428 Elm Street?
The Making of…(32:05): It’s always impressive to see how much work and preparation goes into even the most minimalist of films. From the casting of horror icons Englund and Rubinstein to the table readings and filming, this informative/funny Making of…covers just about all that fans of Behind the Mask could be interested in.
The Casting of… (5:59) isn’t so much about casting as it is a spotlight of screen tests of Baesel, Goethals, Pace, and Spellings.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (29:40): The 4 Deleted Scenes (7:24) are worth a glance, with the “Walk-Run Demonstration” being the highlight. There are 6 Extended Scenes (22:16) which run a tad on the lengthy side, but will likely be enjoyed by fans.
Rounding out the disc are Trailers and a DVD-ROM Screenplay.