Ok here are two documentaries covering the slasher genre – one of which is good and thorough but not excellent and the other one makes so many mistakes and really just comes off as an hour and a half advertisement for the remake of Friday the 13th.
WATCH: Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006) – “Join horror icons John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Rob Zombie, special effects makeup artist Tom Savini and many more in a virtual scream fest celebrating the most terrifying — and disgusting — movies ever made. Selections include gore-soaked scenes from cult favorites and cinema classics such as Halloween, Psycho, Friday the 13th, Prom Night, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and When a Stranger Calls.”
This is a pretty exhaustive documentary (especially for only being about an hour and a half). They cover the slasher genre’s antecedents – sadly only briefly as Peeping Tom barely rates a mention and spends a fair amout of time on the movie that does actually kick off the popularity of the genre, Halloween. The Italian giallo genre is thankfully covered though I do always find it funny when Friday the 13th people get interviewed and never credit giallo (especially Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve) even though many of Friday the 13th’s signature kills are stolen shot-for-shot from the Italian films. In addition to directors and actors, they also talk to the special effects artists Tom Savini, Stan Winston, and Greg Nicotero. There are lots of scenes from a broad selection of the genre – extra time is naturally given to Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream but smaller films such as Prom Night, Terror Train, Happy Birthday to Me, and many more are covered.
AVOID: His Name was Jason – A prime example in how not to film a documentary. They do talk to just about everyone involved in the Friday the 13th movies except Corey Feldman and Kevin Bacon (were they too expensive?) and many people who weren’t which is a baffling design decision. Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp but not Friday the 13th) has the stupidest quote “That shishkebob scene is so original” referencing the double kill of the couple in bed that like many others, is stolen directly from a giallo film. Several of the talking heads come off as extremely self-important and they never have Betsy Palmer repeat her original quote where she called the first film “a piece of s***”. The most egregious offense the documentary commits is that not only do they interview the vast cast & crew individually, they only allow each person 5-10 sound bites before they cut again and again and again. The director or editior was absolutely in desperate need of Ritalin. This documentary is made for people who think the Friday the 13th movies are too slow-paced and watch them on fast forward.