Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever DVD Review
Directed by Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill
2012, Region 0, 75 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on May 13th, 2013
Fred Olen Ray
Once upon a time, about thirty years ago, the horror genre spiraled into a weird place where teenagers were frequently stalked and murdered in droves. The slasher film introduced a new wave of cinematic thrills – what critics referred to as “dead teenager movies” – and filled theatres across the country with an endless number of variations on some basic core elements. The maniac responsible was usually a man, generally a stranger and often resourceful in his choice of disguise and weaponry. The body counts grew larger and the set-pieces more elaborate as the plots tackled almost every major holiday or seminal event in the lives of high school students. Camp counselors and babysitters were often targets, as well as anyone guilty of partying too hard or having pre-marital sex.
While the “golden age” of slasher movies ended in 1984 due to an oversaturation of product hitting the market, this type of film never really went away. The cycle returned in force with Wes Craven’s Scream (1996), a film that introduced an element of self-awareness to the formula, and suddenly audiences were treated to a new wave of pretty teenagers getting chopped up on the big screen. This trend shifted into the world of “torture porn” and then again to an endless string of contemporary remakes of 1980s classic horror films before settling back into the current craze for “found footage” flicks.
Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is the latest in the growing list of retrospective documentaries paying homage to the subgenre. While not as thorough as Going to Pieces (2006) or as informative as Video Nasties (2010), this collection of interviews takes a more casual approach to the material. Topics include “Genesis Of A Genre,” and “The Gore The Merrier?” An extensive collection of video clips from countless films keeps things interesting, but some are unrelated to the material being discussed. Where the piece excels however is with the inclusion of a wide assortment of gorgeous international promotional artwork for numerous titles of the slasher variety.
Directors Calum Waddell (American Grindhouse) and Naomi Holwill have bypassed the standard regimen of obvious interview grabs like filmmakers John Carpenter (Halloween) and Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) or actors like Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) and Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) in order to provide the thoughts and insights of others who are rarely included. This is both refreshing and a bit frustrating, especially when the interviewee has low credibility, like the random actress granted the title “Scream Queen” despite having only appeared in one or two films that were direct-to-video releases.
Slice & Dice offers a fresh lineup of talent to reflect on the awesomeness of horror films including Tom Holland (Child’s Play), Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D), Jeffrey Reddick (creator of Final Destination), Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), Adam Green (Hatchet), Scott Spiegel (Intruder), Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), Kevin S. Tenney (Night of the Demons), Christopher Smith (Triangle) and many others. Corey Feldman (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) are both highly entertaining as they offer their thoughts on appearing in this kind of film as children.
A welcome amount of time is spent looking at the influences of the genre, including the works of Agatha Christie and the two cinematic classics from 1960, Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom and the much higher-profile Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. While there is ample time devoted to the royalty of slashers like Halloween and Friday the 13th, there is also a nice amount of attention paid to lesser known films like Black Christmas, The Burning and more recent titles like Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
The tone of this doc is one of fun times without too much depth and while I applaud the decision to look beyond the expected faces, their absence is most certainly noticed. Slice & Dice is not the final word on this topic, but it serves as a nice introduction for viewers in search of a few solid recommendations.
Video and Audio:
Video and audio will not be graded as this was a screener.
While this is a screener, it includes the special features found on the final release. 88 Films provides a nice selection of bonus content starting with a commentary featuring director Calum Waddell, moderated by author Justin Kerswell (Teenage Wasteland: The Slasher Movie Uncut). The discussion moves at a brisk pace and is quite informative and entertaining.
A collection of extended interviews is offered up with a handful of guests including Corey Feldman, Felissa Rose, Kevin S. Tenney and more. These snippets are nice, but it is understandable why they were cut from the final edit.
Next up is footage from various festival premieres and a Q & A session from the Glasgow Film Theatre featuring James Moran and Norman J. Warren.
The Full Moon trailer park offers fans over twenty theatrical trailers for some of the titles featured in the documentary.
If all that weren’t enough, there is a second disc filled with additional trailers (all with commentary) and a bonus documentary section titled: Don’t Go In The Backwoods.