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Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall Of The Slasher Film (2006)

DVD Cover (THINKFilm)
Genres:
Documentary, Film & Television History, Media Studies
Director:
Jeff McQueen Jeff McQueen
Starring:
Ed Green Ed Green
Wes Craven Wes Craven
John Carpenter John Carpenter
Joseph Stefano Joseph Stefano
Jeff Katz Jeff Katz

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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This historical and critical look at slasher films, which includes dozens of clips, begins with "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," and "Prom Night." The films' directors, writers, producers, and special effects creators comment on the films' making and success. During the Reagan years, the films get gorier, budgets get smaller, and their appeal wanes. Then, "Nightmare on Elm Street" revives the genre. Jump to the late 90s, when "Scream" brings humor and TV stars into the mix. Although some criticize the genre as misogynistic (Siskel and Ebert), most of the talking heads celebrate the films: as long as there are teenagers, there will be slasher films, says one. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 24, 2007
Last week, I reviewed Horror Business, a horror documentary which... well, wasn't very good, to put it mildly. After responding to the fan-mail that the director sent me after somehow stumbling across this "shitty little website", I saw that there was another horror-themed documentary coming out and decided to give it a shot as well. Will I wind up with yet another email in which I'm labeled a "waste of life" if any of the guys responsible for Going to Pieces read this site? I doubt it, since I have almost nothing but praise for it.

"The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film" is the tagline, and that pretty much tells you everything that you need to know about what you'll get out of this release. It's a retrospective of the slasher genre, starting with a brief glance at Hitchcock's Psycho and ending with films like Hostel and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Most of the heavyweights get a chance to shine: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween are all given lengthy segments, but we also get to see some of the lesser-known films like April Fool's Day, Sleepaway Camp, and My Bloody Valentine as well. The stories are told by a wide variety of horror's biggest names: John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Sean S. Cunningham, Amy Holden Jones, Gregory Nicotero, Betsy Palmer, Felissa Rose, Tom Savini, Stan Winston, and Rob Zombie for starters, and that's probably not even half of the total contributors.

And what a variety of stories there are. We are shown the history of the genre, starting with the impact that Halloween had on the industry, the numerous knockoffs that followed, the high-points of horror, the low-points, the rebirths, the controversy, the mainstream acceptance... almost everything that one could think of when dealing with the genre is at least touched on throughout the ninety minutes that the disc runs for. There's a few events and movies that I felt should have been covered that were left out of the mix, but that's to be expected; after all, we're dealing with almost thirty years of history here, so some things are going to have to be skipped over in order to keep a reasonable running time.

The only negative that I could find about this release is the fact that hardcore horror fans probably won't learn too much from it. This is aimed more towards the casual fans, so if you know all about how big Halloween was, who Tom Savini is, and how Wes Craven came up with the idea for the Freddy Krueger character, you probably won't take too much away from this. However, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the presentation; on the contrary, it was quite nice to take a stroll down memory lane, and I think most horror junkies would feel the same. There's basically a "greatest hits" collection of scenes to be found sprinkled throughout the documentary, and it's always nice to hear what some of horror's biggest names have to say on the wide variety of topics.

Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a lowly "n00b" in the world of horror, you should probably track down a copy of this. If Scream and its kind were your introduction to the genre, then you owe it to yourself to see how we got to where we are today and who paved the way for today's latest releases. Even if you find yourself on the other side of the proverbial coin, you'll still get have fun on that stroll down memory lane. 8/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/08/2007, 08:15 PM
While a majority of this I already knew, it did open my eyes to a few early slasher films that I probably wouldn't have heard of otherwise. My only beef: there were a few spots where the editing was awful, and the score really didn't fit in most cases. 8/10
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 08/02/2009, 11:54 AM
This was quite enjoyable. I agree that the music didn't fit, and it became annoying after a while. 8/10 as well.
BuryMeAlive #3: BuryMeAlive - added 12/05/2011, 06:24 AM
Decent documentary, but like the review on here says "hardcore horror fans probably won't learn too much from it", well that would be me. 4/10
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