Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Going to pieces

Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is pretty crappy.

In theory, it could have, and really should have, been better. I could have expanded on the subject beyond what was covered in The American Nightmare, but instead says much, much less.

Starting off with the Grand Guignol was smart. Moving on to Psycho and Peeping Tom from there was probably necessary for time and flowed just fine. From there we get a passing reference to The Last House on the Left and then it's Halloween.

Nothing else.

Now, I could probably name a dozen movies made between 1960 and 1978 that are important antecedents to the slasher genre without blinking an eye. Black Christmas, for example, seems particularly noteworthy in its absence.

But you, any one of you, can name at least The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, right?

Ok, they make a point to give Halloween as setting the formula for the single killer, yadda-yadda... Goody-goody. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre needs to be mentioned as, if nothing else, an important antecedent to the formula.

Doesn't it?

Just a quick mention. Ten seconds. Nothing to throw the pacing of the movie too far off.

And, don't worry, Twitch of the Death Nerve and Suspiria get mentioned at some point after they're done talking about American movies. Mysteriously, Deep Red is not mentioned at all.

Ok, I'm nitpicking the history, but that's the kind of cursory look it gives everything. I'm sure many of the participants had many more interesting things to say, but few of them are allowed to expand on them in any compelling way. Ultimately, it's just pretty useless all around.


cinebeats said...

I was curious about this after I saw it on a list of new DVD releases, but thanks to your review I'm going to avoid it. It seems like it offers no new insights to the genre which is a shame.

Neil said...

Yeah, there's some fun clips, including some of Siskel & Ebert that I may comment more about soon, but really no insight.

The more I think about it, the more I think a whole documentary on the 18 years between Psycho and Halloween and how they built up to the slasher formula and trend could be damn fascinating.

Not quite fascinating enough for me to pursue a career as a documentarian to make, but one I'd love to watch.

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