BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON (2006)
Section of the cinematic cemetery: Indie slasher mocukumentary with a killer twist
Cause of (premature) death: This ingenious gem is just too genre-specific to appeal to a mass audience. Referencing great slasher flicks of the past (and featuring a cameo from Freddy Krueger himself!), this 2006 Toronto After Dark film festival pick is a slice of horror nerd heaven. If you aren’t on a first name basis with Jason or Michael, then you probably won’t get it.
What its tombstone would read: Charming wannabe legendary serial killer (Leslie Vernon) was followed by college camera crew while he followed his new survivor girl and batch of teenage victims.
Why it should be revived: This is unlike any mainstream horror movie you’ve ever seen—one part straight-up faux documentary and one part-straight-up slasher. It sides with the murderer, almost making you root for him and his merciless pursuit of his pubescent prey. One minute Leslie’s calmly describing the challenges of his career (he’s got to do so much cardio to be able to look like he’s walking everywhere), the next he’s putting on his super creepy mask and going in for the totally heinous kill.
And Leslie’s not the standard, anti-social super freak you see in most killer’s POV movies, either. He’s friendly, attractive and funny. By the end of this hysterically horrifying ride, you are unsure where you stand, which makes the final kills even more chilling. (And it wasn’t awesome enough, the theme song is definitely the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.”)