I love slasher films. I love the slasher genre. I love all the clichés it contains from the masked maniac killer to the screaming teens to the idiotic police to the bloody bodies popping up when you most expect them to. It’s safe to say then that if you, like me, love slasher movies then Calum Waddell’s documentary Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is the perfect film for you.
Split into sections like a freshly cut corpse the documentary first discusses the genesis of the genre looking back at major influences such as Psycho, Bay of Blood and early Italian Giallo’s as well as murder mysteries and there impact in shaping slasher movies.
With masses of interviews ranging from actors to directors to producers the roster of talking heads is impressive including Corey Feldman (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Tom Holland (Child’s Play), Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D), Jeffrey Reddick (the creator of Final Destination), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2) Emily Booth, Adam Green (Hatchet) and Christopher Smith (Creep and Triangle) to name but a few.
Every interview is entertaining and all types of slasher film are explored from the most famous examples such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13th and Halloween to the high end slashers like Peeping Tom and box office successes such as Saw and Scream to the recent spate of remakes and reboots even including the bargain basement gore fests such as the god awful The Gingerbread Man voiced by Gary Busey.
The collection of clips and trailers is what elevates the documentary, although some are frustratingly repeated, crafting a must see list for all slasher fans as they discover hidden gems they may never have seen before such as the brilliant Tourist Trap or the equally excellent The Burning or one of our Top 10 Horror Films of all time the game changing Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.
Other chapters are entitled Rules of Survival, Secrets of Slashing up a Great Villain, and The Gore the Merrier all self explanatory in what they discuss however it is in these that the documentary’s main failing is unfortunately revealed.
Lacking the epic depth of investigation found in Room 237, the historical and cultural impact of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide or the hilarious on set stories and interesting behind the scenes insights found in Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan, Slice and Dice feels slightly throwaway at times offering no real revelations or evocative opinions on the genre.
This is especially apparent in The Final Girl segment a subject brilliantly discussed and dissected by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women, and Chainsaws (a must read for all horror heads!) Here the best the interviewees can come up with on why the final girl is such a key standard of slashers is ‘because girls are cooler’ not really the earth shattering analysis you may have wanted to hear.
That said Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is an entertaining documentary on a group of movies particularly critically underappreciated and culturally undervalued and for fans of these films it is a fun and gore filled joy ride through the genre of modern day morality plays courtesy of some of the bloodiest and most brilliant slasher films ever made.