Nathan Baesel as Leslie Vernon
Angela Goethals as Taylor Gentry
Robert Englund as Doc Halloran
Scott Wilson as Eugene
Zelda Rubinstein as Mrs. Collinwood
Sure, there is horror with comic relief – the bits of laughter that are allowed to escape and therefore ease the tension of the scary parts. This is normal and often necessary, but it is not horror/comedy…it is horror with bits of comic relief.
Then there is comedy with horror characters and gore. The story and characters are funny, often a bit slapstick, and horror scenarios transpire around them. Yes, the scenarios may make you jump and the gore make you yell out loud, but this also is not horror/comedy…it is comedy with horror and gore elements.
You may be wondering why I am being so picky…why the big deal about the subtle nuances of horror and comedy together? The answer is simple; No movie that I have ever seen accomplishes horror/comedy as perfectly as Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
As Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon starts Taylor (Angela Goethals) is on screen filming a documentary about serial killers. Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger are all mentioned, and the context suggests that Taylor is speaking of real killers that really existed. Then she mentions Leslie Vernon.
Leslie, it seems, has granted permission for an Interview and documentary to be filmed of him. Why? Not because he is himself a serial killer…well at least not yet. Leslie Vernon is a “killer in the making”.
What follows is an inside look at the secret subculture of professional serial killers and the lengths to which they will go to create fear scenarios worthy of our favorite horror movies. Every element, from the targeting of a virgin to the split-second sightings she will experience to the back-story that connects the intended victim to an intricate tale of a hidden past that binds her to the scary murderous fiend, is carefully planned and executed.
The trouble is, does Taylor know what she’s in for?
This is a hilarious take on a fascinating concept…for the first half. Then it becomes a well-done, tense slasher-fest. That’s the beauty of Behind the Mask…it doesn’t try to be comedy with horror scenarios or horror with comic relief but rather a single movie that has two distinct moods and two contrasting perspectives on the same characters in the same situations.
Although I was a bit unsure of Behind the Mask when I first started watching it – the quality was very “camcorder” – I quickly realized that not only was the beginning style important to the experience of the first half of the movie but the activities of Leslie Vernon along with Taylor and her crew made the filming elements fade into the background. Once the horror part begins the quality is straight from the best scenes in the stand-by slasher classics.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is destined to become a classic of both the horror and the comedy/horror genres. The originality and intelligent wit will overcome the slow start in popularity this film has had and propel Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon to must-see status.