31 Days of Horror: Behind the Mask – The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge (unless you count that time Neil Miller was challenged to identify three stories FSR had posted in the last week other than his own), so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy!


A documentary crew in a small Illinois town follow the training and preparation of Leslie Mancuso, a regular guy who just so happens to be planning on joining the serial killing ranks of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. What starts as innocent documentation soon morphs from excitement to a life and death struggle.

Killler Scene

The majority of the film is presented in a documentary format that features a lot of great horror in-jokes and cameos, but the real action kicks up during the final act when the film steps on the gas and switches from a mockumentary to a third person horror film.

Behind the Mask The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Kill Sheet


2.5 Skulls Out of 5

We get a decent look at some boobies followed later in the film by a sex scene that shows plenty of female but almost no male.


2 Skulls Out of 5

There are several deaths and quite a bit of blood throughout, with much of the violence coming late in the film. There’s nothing too awesome or too gory, with some of the action taking place off screen.


2 Skulls Out of 5

While it won’t terrorize your slumber, Behind the Mask has quite a few scary-tense moments and the design of Leslie Vernon’s mask is perfect in its creepy simplicity.

Final Thoughts

The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a pretty fantastic mockumentary for fans of the horror genre that deals with an awesome premise: supernatural serial killers exist. Sort of. Jason and Freddy and Michael are all real, but they’re not supernatural, just highly trained killers, adept at all the cliched methods of pursuing and slashing. Kind of like the idea behind the excellent comic book and maybe-someday-movie Hack/Slash.

The lead performance from Nathan Baesel brings an innocent sense of admiration out of young Leslie, a man attempting to establish his place among the greats and learn all the secrets of being a killer. While the film doesn’t really provide any answers, it is fascinating to think of a world where people like this exist – those that want not only to kill, but to do so in a hugely theatrical way.

Fans of slasher films will take delight in the horror references, cliches, and cameos, while casual viewers might not appreciate all of the in-jokes. That said, the movie still presents itself in an entertaining way even to those who may not be familiar with the genre.

The mockumentary portions contain most of the referential material and there’s enough tension here to keep you enthralled. Then the movie boldly abandons the mockumentary style and the cinematography and story telling switch to a traditional third person style and the film captures the essence of the 80s slasher near perfectly.

How Can You See It?Blu-ray / DVD / Netflix / On Demand

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Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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