Friday, 25 July 2008

Slash Hits Volume Three: Mullet Massacre

This third 48-page glossy colour A5 volume in Midnight Media's ongoing Slash Hits series provides a comprehensive overview of slasher and related forms such as the giallo – represented by the likes of Phenomena, Murderock, A Blade in the Dark and Stagefright – over the four years from 1983 to 1987.

The period comes across as one dominated by the continuation of the Friday the 13th series, the emergence of Nightmare on Elm Street and the gradual decline of major US studio interest in the form beyond these properties, but with no let up in independent productions, good, bad and indifferent.

Each film, from the best known franchise entries to the most obscure shot on video regional ultra-low budget independent production, is given a concise and entertaining write up cum evaluation, typically of a hard but fair sort, along with specific ratings on the key fan criteria of breasts and blood, with ratings of between one and five been given in each case.

Crucially, however, the value of the film in its own right and as a genre product are recognised as different, such that the likes of The Stepfather and Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer can be acknowledged on their own distinctive merits, despite a relative paucity of one or the other formula ingredient.

Providing a good checklist of films and themes such as treatments of the final girl and the gender transgressive killer or scenario, another major area where the publication shines is in foregrounding the increasing postmodernism / self-reflexivity of slasher product over this period, demonstrating that Scream was really nothing new except for having a name director and studio backing behind it.

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