Slasher movies are such a distinct subgenre that deconstructions of them have almost become a subgenre in themselves. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon was one of the best attempts to inject some new life and its star has now offered an update on the possibility of a sequel ever getting off the ground.
While the likes of Scream and New Nightmare look at how slasher movies operate from the perspective of storytelling and visual tropes, Behind the Mask goes in a different direction. A documentary crew follow a man who claims the be the revenant boy from a local urban legend, and intends to embark on a killing spree inspired by the likes of Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, each of whom are referenced as existing within this world. Through them, he explains the preparation required to be a slasher villain, such as self-mythmaking, picking out the group of victims, identifying the Final Girl and creating an elaborate connection to her, and rigging the building where the climax is to take place in line with predictive behavior patterns.
Speaking to We Watched a Movie, Nathan Baesel, who played the eponymous wannabe killer, spoke about the potential of a follow-up to the film seeing the light of day, saying:
“No [there’s been no movement on the project], but not for lack of interest. Just as a creative exercise, and maybe that’s all it ever is, during COVID I wanted to get some writing done and I wrote some material for whatever iteration of Behind the Mask that we could get going on a kind of serial basis, but one that’s just a lot less labor intensive than doing a full production. And that interested me as a way to go because finding something that you can run ‘n gun and just do it with lean resources… people are proving all the time that you can get a lot of really good stuff done with very little and there’s no reason why we couldn’t [do that]. If it develops any further, maybe we’ll have some news down the road. In the meantime, the interest is there and that’s always flattering.”
It would be a shame if the world of Leslie Vernon were never revisited, as the film is an inventive mockumentary from a perspective rarely afforded true attention. It suggests that rather than featured characters, the teenage victims are merely bit players in someone else’s story being railroaded along a narrative they don’t realize has already been mapped out, with the litany of improbable occurrences the result of meticulous planning rather than unlikely happenstance.
In our jaded times, it’s increasingly difficult to do anything new, especially with a subgenre whose tropes are so readily recognizable, but Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon certainly managed it, and fans would no doubt welcome the chance to check back in with the refreshingly banal killer.
Source: Bloody Disgusting