Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 9th, 2007
In many ways, slasher films are like porno movies. Chief among them is that many times you just want to skip to the good parts. There may be a plot, but it’s so poorly constructed, the dialog is downright embarrassing and the direction leaves a lot to be desired. But the one thing they get right is all that matters. After all, there’s only one reasons we watch.
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is a documentary which does just this. It features some of the most gruesome and fam…us scenes from slasher films, all while exploring the slasher film’s history, from inception in the late 70′s, right up until what seems like a few months ago, with in-depth and fascinating interviews from the slasher film masters themselves, as well as others in the slasher film industry.
But Going to Pieces doesn’t just show us the bloody money shots, either. The filmmakers get beneath the films to explore their themes and moral impact (or lack thereof) on society. And sometimes, they just give us an interesting behind-the-scenes fact.
John Carptenter dishes on filming Halloween on a $300,000 budget. Wes Craven talks about how he was inspired to make A Nightmare on Elm Street after reading about children in Laos who were dying in their sleep, and Tom Savini gives us a look into the mind of a make-up artist who’s job it is to come up with new ways to realistically kill people on screen for a living.
What makes Going to Pieces so damn entertaining is the way it’s put together. The interviews aren’t just a guy talking at the camera. He’s walking through a graveyard, a back alley, or one of the famous locations of a slasher film. This allows the subjects to move around, command the screen and make what they are saying seem so important. But in reality, we’re really only talking about slasher films.
But that’s why Going to Pieces works, it treats slasher films as an important subject. Any good documentary should. After all, as much as critics and parents across America don’t want to admit it, the slasher genre is probably the most influential film genre to have existed in the last 30 years. I would consider its much ridiculed artistic companion to be rap music. Many people instantly dismiss it as meaningless noise, but in reality, its impact on society can’t be ignored.
So in the end, Going to Pieces is sure to please fans of slasher films with its excellent collection of bloody death scenes from the slasher genre’s most famous films. But on top of that, Going to Pieces reminds the viewers that we’re not just watching people get killed on screen with Karo syrup and red dye. It tells us, and shows us, that slasher films are such a success because they exist on a different level, the way that good art always does. Did I just call slasher films art? I think I did. And Going to Pieces does a good job of showing us why.
One thing that slasher films always suffered from, is the grainy early 80’s video transfer, but most of that seems to have been removed in the film clips that are featured in Going to Pieces. Surprisingly, Going to Pieces boasts a very good picture. The documentary is widescreen, and shot on both film and digitally, and most of the movie clips shown are in widescreen as well.
Not sure what you would complain about here, especially since most of the documentary is simply people talking. The slasher clips are usually talked over too, so there really isn’t much to rave about in the sound department. It’s a fine audio track though, and does its job. You never have to strain to hear the interviews and clips that aren’t talked over are audible as well.
Commentary with Producers Rachel Belofsky, Rudy Scalese and Editor Michael Bohusz – they mostly discuss how they arranged the documentary and what clips to use at certain points throughout the film. Being a documentary, the film is pretty much a commentary on its own, so it seems pointless to have a commentary of a commentary.
A Message from Author Adam Rockoff – the author of the book writes a statement about the movie version and raves about the job the filmmakers have done to bring his research to the screen.
Bonus Interviews from John Dunning (Producer, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine), Paul Lynch (Director, Prom Night), Bob Clark (Director, Black Christmas), and Stan Winston (Special Effects, Aliens, Predator).
Trivia Game – Questions based on the material shown in the documentary.
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Trailer
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film is a fun and knowledgeable look back throughout the history of slasher films. It contains some excellent interviews, bloody clips, and deep examinations of the slasher genre. The video and audio aspects are handled well enough and the special features only add to the wealth of facts presented in the film.
Special Features List
- Commentary with Producers Rachel Belofsky, Rudy Scalese and Editor Michael Bohusz
- A Message from Author Adam Rockoff
- Bonus Interviews
- Trivia Game
- Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Trailer
- Trailer Gallery