Friday, August 6, 2010

DVD Review: Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006)


“Ever Evil, Every Nightmare, Together in One Film”

RATED: Unrated
DIRECTOR: Michael Bohusz
CAST: Akkad, Lilyan Akkad, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Sean S. Cunningham, Harry Manfredini, Gregory Nicotero, Betsy Palmer, Tom Savini, Stan Winston, Joseph Zito. Narrated by Ed Green


ANECDOTAL: Genre film documentaries at their best are like greatest hits collections of your favorite films, genre, or director. The few that I’ve seen completely enraptured me. I watch ‘em, notepad in hand, giddily scribbling down names of obscure giallo, grindhouse, and slasher films. The thrill of the hunt, something new that had previously eluded me, been forgotten, or lost to the VHS-era never to seen in the digital glory of DVD. The following is a list of documentaries I highly recommend. The vary in depth and quality, but each is entertaining and informative: MARIO BAVA: MAESTRO OF THE MACABRE (2000), MIDNIGHT MOVIES: FROM THE MARGIN TO THE MAINSTREAM (2005), DARIO ARGENTO: AN EYE FOR HORROR (2000), AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (2000), NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD (2009). Personally, I would love to see a documentary uncovering some classic VHS-era slashers that never made it to DVD. If you, dear reader, would like to suggest a title I may enjoy please do so.

SYNOPSIS: A documentary chronicling the history of the Slasher film from Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960) on through to Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF A 1000 CORPSES (2003) and all points in between.
DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, Dolby 2.o sound. Special Features; Message from the Author, Bonus Interviews, Trivia Game, Trailer, Trailer Gallery

THE FILM: This is a documentary that originally aired on the Starz network in 2006; it is based on the book of the same title by author Adam Rockoff. Of course, as with most things awesome - I missed it! Not to worry, it’s available on DVD. This film features one of the greatest assemblies of horror directors and talking heads I’ve ever seen in any genre doc, it’s an 80’s slasher orgasm in here folks, seriously. I would say the majority of the films interviews center around John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and Tom Savini. The archival clips from the films are staggering, touching most, if not all, the prominent slasher films of the 70’s/80’s, and a few obscure ones as well, GRADUATION DAY (1980), PIECES (1982), and a personal favorite HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (1981). You don’t get a lot of deep, intellectual conversation about social commentary, though you do get Siskel & Ebert ranting about the misogyny of slasher films and how they’re a response to the empowerment of women. They really come across as a couple off hysterical ass clown, ugh! For more Siskel & Ebert douche baggery you need to see their original review of BLUE VELVET (1986), it appears as a special feature on the Blue Velvet: Special Edition DVD. If you are a hardcore horror geek you’ll notice a few omissions, but overall, this is slasher nirvana. As with the best of the genre it clocks in at less than 90 minutes, a brisk, yet informative, 88 minutes.

VERDICT: If you are a horror geek, a slasher enthusiast, or just enjoy the occasional scary film, GOING TO PIECES is a MUST SEE! ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5 stars)