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Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film
DVD disk
04.12.2007 By: Quigles
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film order
Director:
Jeff McQueen

Actors:
John Carpenter
Wes Craven
Tom Savini

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An insightful look into the much discussed slasher genre.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
GOING TO PIECES is a pretty solid and comprehensive overview of the slasher/horror genre, starting with the classic PSYCHO, moving on to focus more on horror flicks from the 70's and 80's, and then wrapping up by touching on some more recent efforts like SAW and HOSTEL. It also makes for an insightful look at why these movies do well, what they feature in terms of content (most of it gratuitous), and how our society has been affected by them. If you have an interest in this type of stuff, PIECES will make for a pretty damn informative 90 minutes. The problem is though, the documentary never feels like much more than a great DVD extra. It seems like the type of thing you might get with a special edition of SCREAM or HALLOWEEN or FRIDAY THE 13TH (or hell, maybe as a bonus disc with some of the lesser known favorites it covers, like PROM NIGHT, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, THE BURNING, THE PROWLER, etc.). That's not to say it's not good, because it is. I just don't know if it's $20 good. I guess it all just depends on how much you love horror films.

All of the discussed films are split up into distinct sections, from classics to sequels to rip-offs and so on. When not talking about particular films, the documentary delves into some of the more noteworthy aspects of the genre, like when it got a big jumpstart during the late 70's (much to the chagrin of critics and parents alike). It also goes into detail on the psychology behind why people are driven to see these flicks, as well as the controversy that consistently surrounds the much-maligned genre (and which films started it all). The production also has some big names offering up their insight, which is sure to please long-time buffs. There's Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Tom Savini (make-up artist/DAWN OF THE DEAD star), Sean Cunningham (writer/director of FRIDAY THE 13TH), Joseph Stefano (screenwriter of PSYCHO), Stan Winston, Rob Zombie, and plenty of other familiar names that aficionados of the genre are sure to know.

What should make the documentary more interesting to horror fans is its use of clips from all the gruesome pictures it discusses. This means though, that if you haven't seen some of the movies in question, you're going to have a lot of the best deaths spoiled for you. This also means that, with the constant use of clips during bits of discussion, the documentary sometimes feels more like just one big gore-filled clip show. But that certainly didn't bother me, and I'm fairly certain other horror buffs will feel the same. I mean, what gore hound wouldn't want to see their favorite death sequences all in one 90 minute time span?
THE EXTRAS
Seeing as how the feature is sort of like one great big extra itself, there not being much offered here isn't a problem in the least. What is here, however, is certainly of interest.

Audio Commentary (with co-producers Rachel Belofsky and Rudy Scalese, and editor Michael Bohusz): A surprisingly worthwhile track that discusses shooting specific interviews, as well as some of the participant's own experiences with the genre. They obviously love slasher films, which makes their discussion that much more interesting.

Bonus Interviews: Segments from speakers include John Dunning (4:51), PROM NIGHT director Paul Lynch (2:58), BLACK CHRISTMAS director Bob Clark (5:30), PSYCHO writer Joseph Stefano (10:09), WHEN A STRANGER CALLS director Fred Walton (5:59), and Stan Winston (2:47).

Also included are the film's Trailer, a Trailer Gallery for other films, an interactive Trivia Game, and a Text Message from author Adam Rockoff (from the book the movie's based).
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Half documentary and half stylized clip show, GOING TO PIECES has enough information and gore to keep any slasher fan satisfied. It will appeal to the intellectual side of you while also finding your more primeval one. It's exactly what you could ask for in a horror documentary.
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