Norman Bates once said “We all go a little crazy sometimes,” but never has this been truer than in the genre that spawned everybody’s favourite mother’s boy. I speak, of course, of the slasher film, the roots of which can arguably be traced back to Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock’s monochrome masterpiece. Though there are cases for other films being the trigger point for the modern stalk and slash movie, notably Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood (1971), Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960), and even the various celluloid incarnations of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, all of which are put forward by the contributors in Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill’s Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever, it was Psycho that brought murder to the masses and opened the vein for what was to follow.Considering the popularity of the slasher movie over the subsequent four decades or so, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a documentary like Slice and Dice before now, but like the pay off in a well plotted horror movie, it’s definitely been worth waiting for. Recognising that the genre is inherently ridiculous when it comes to logic and common sense, and I say this as a lifelong horror fan who numbers many of the films discussed in Slice and Dice as personal favourites, Waddell and Holwill have opted to take a knowing, irreverent, and at times tongue-in-cheek look at the genre while still affording it the respect that it does indeed deserve for having persevered for so long and having brought much entertainment to so many over the years.The relatively short running time, a compact 76 minutes which is perhaps intentionally similar to the duration of many of the classic slasher flicks, is split into several bite sized sections covering topics such as the origins of the slasher film, the skills needed to survive one (the best being “Make sure you’re in a rom-com”), what makes a great slasher villain, and a look at the final girl phenomenon. In addition to sourcing many, many clips from classic movies such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Friday the 13th (1980), and Halloween (1978) along with lesser known offerings like Terror Train (1980), Final Exam (1981) and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988), Waddell and Holwill have enlisted a rogue’s gallery of respected horror alumni to offer up their thoughts on the genre.
Reading like a who’s who of horror, the vast array of talking heads include Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris, Adam Green (Hatchet series), scream queens Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Emily Booth (Cradle of Fear), Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination creator) and writer/director/actor and Arrow In The Head main man John Fallon. All of the contributors speak with the passion and reverence of those who have a genuine love of the genre, but none more so than Corey Feldman who is entertaining and animated, and has essentially become the living embodiment of Edgar Frog, his character from The Lost Boys (1986), which is no bad thing.Slice and Dice is a brilliantly bloody love letter to the horror fan, evoking memory after memory as its quick fire editing peppers the screen with numerous clips which prompted many cries of “I used to have that film” or “We really need to watch that again” from this reviewer.Slice And Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is absolutely essential for any serious horror fan, and is up there with other recent genre documentaries like Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror (2006), His Name Was Jason (2009), Never Sleep Again (2010), The Psycho Legacy (2010), and Still Screaming (2011) for pure indulgence, but there is also much here to entertain the more casual film fan. Bloody brilliant!