Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 16, 2006

Patch up your slasher film knowledge with Going to Pieces

Over the weekend,the Starz movie channel premiered Going to Pieces: the rise and fall of the slasher film. This may sound like an excuse to slap together some gory movie clips with a handfull of token interviews but there's some real food for thought served up here. It starts off with the old school roots of slasherdom,from Grand Guingol shows to Hitchcock's Psycho and Powell's Peeping Tom right to the modern day granddad of splatter flicks,Halloween.

Slasher films really had their heyday during the early to mid 1980s,with Friday the 13th and other gruesome fare such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Sleepaway Camp,My Bloody Valentine,Prom Night and Slumber Party Massacre. While some of these flicks were merely gore shows,many of them reflected the growing social changes in society with Reganomics on the rise and Yuppie body image sensibilites. That and some damn fine special effects provided by Tom Savini(who gleefully contributes his experiences thru out the documentary).

Other interview subjects include John Carpenter,Wes Craven,Amy Holden-Jones(director of Slumber Party Massacre)and Rob Zombie. A good portion of the film is spent in going over the numerous criticisms of the genre,with clips from an old episode of Sneak Previews(the original Roger Ebert show with Siskel)denouncing the"hatred of women" that they saw in these flicks(the cliche of having a Final Girl who defeats the slasher puts a few chinks in that armored approach)and the infamous Silent Night,Deadly Night controversary that had folks protesting outside of movie theaters and signing petitions to pull the mean ol' Slicer Santa film ads.

There is also coverage of the current splatter film revival with the usual suspects like Scream highlighted along with Saw,Hostel and The Devil's Rejects. Even for someone who's pretty familar with the genre,Going to Pieces adds to your knowledge with such factoids as how the Friday the 13th stalker sound was created(hint,Betsy Palmer uttered a few key phrases) and why you may already know about Kevin Bacon and Johnny Depp's horror movie debuts,did you know Holly Hunter and Jason Alexander both appeared in the same slasher flick(not together-Holly was only in the background of one scene)?

If you don't have Starz,keep an eye out for this slice of splatter lore at a video store near you(ten to one,it'll be out before New Year's)and if you want some more insidous info,click the title link above. While most slasher flicks bored me(I like a more personable villian-yes,I'm a Freddy Kruger fangirl),I did have a few favorites which are nicely showcased in GTP,like April Fool's Day and Happy Birthday to Me. I must confess,however,that the main reason I dug AFD was the poster. How cool is that back braid noose?


Anonymous said...

That braid is awesome.

PJS said...

Betsy Palmer, a.k.a. Mrs. Voorhees, was in one of my favorite Joan Crawford movies - "Queen Bee" from 1955.

Joan mentally and verbally abuses young Betsy so cruelly that she ends up hanging herself in the stables.

Just a little trivia for you.

Pop Culture Diva said...

I just recently started to appreciate horror films. Scream brought me back to the genre. I can handle slasher films but the movies that do me in are those that deals with the devil or voodoo.

lady t said...

Glad you guys like to get scared,with Halloween coming up soon.

Thanks,PJS,for the BP trivia-didn't know she was in Queen Bee!