Throwback Thursday Review: Behind the Mask – The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)





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Posted July 21, 2016 by

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A magician never reveals his secrets. Everyone knows this. If anyone finds out how these illusions are done, it ruins everything magicians have worked for; it brings down the curtain and ruins the surprise.  The same is true for psycho slashers. Killers like Freddy Kreuger, Jason Vorhees, and Michael Myers have worked as hard as anyone on anything to be flawless at striking fear into the hearts of victims everywhere, surviving situations where you definitely thought they were dead, and somehow always catching up to you no matter how far you run, jump, or drive. They would never reveal how they always manage to be one step ahead, but there is someone who will. Good ol’ Leslie Vernon (Baesel).

New onto the slasher scene, Leslie is an energetic killer that’s finally ready for his first big attack. His chosen town: Glen Echo. Followed around by amateur filmmakers, Leslie pulls back the curtain on every secret, every preparation, and every situation in which someone will most definitely be killed. Kreuger, Vorhees, and Myers are his idols. In this mockumentary, not only are they people that really existed, their work serves as inspiration for young slashers like Leslie. While he looks up to them, it’s a retired killer, Eugene (Wilson), that has shown him the ropes and still mentors him to this day. Eugene says Leslie is finally ready and we’ll be with him every step of the way until the fateful night where he will carry out his plan.


The first half of the movie serves strictly as a comedy. From the moment we meet Leslie he’s actually a really likable guy that is constantly impressed with his pet turtles’ ability to live, despite the fact that he often leaves for days and forgets to feed them. He knows card tricks, reads books, and is overly friendly. A lot of that, however, could be because these kids are filming him and he thinks this is his one chance to go down in the history books; to be carved into the killer’s Mount Rushmore. He holds nothing back on the tricks of the trade. You know when the victim goes outside and a door closes behind them? That’s the killer pulling a string they tied around the object used to block the door. Or how about when the one being chased runs to the shed and grabs a weapon that always fails them? Yeah, that’s their attacker having loosened the head of the object or filed down the sharpness of the blade.

While there are plenty of hilarious scenes (like how most slasher killers heavily rely on CGI to create fake newspaper clippings), ‘Behind the Mask’ doesn’t go all the way with the absurdity, actually pulling back near the middle mark of the film and becoming more of a serious horror flick. Glosserman and Stieve blend these two drastically different genres together in a way that’s enjoyable but you are still left thinking about how much more comedy they could have worked into the film. I would have liked to see them go with that more than trying to turn it into an actual horror movie, but that’s nitpicking an otherwise good film that gave me much more than I originally expected.

It is fun to watch Leslie though; to see how excited he gets when one of his plans actually works. Running back to the car they all drove in, giving the filmmakers high-fives and commenting on how scary he was able to be. Baesel plays the character we are supposed to hate, but truthfully actually like, to perfection, and his relationship with Wilson’s character offer up funny moments like eating dinner and talking about successfully killing people like it’s a job promotion Leslie just received.

‘Behind the Mask – The Rise of Leslie Vernon’ is a horror-comedy most missed out on, but should definitely find and watch. A funny comedy-turned-horror-slasher that you won’t soon forget.





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