Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

Oct. 31, 6:00 p.m. | Bright Family Screening Room | Free

strongCheyenne Boccia, Beacon Correspondent/strong

What is it that draws audiences en masse to see slasher movies? Most everyone can attest to deriving perverse glee from seeing the buckets of fake blood, various torture weapons, and vapid people running down the dark corridor into the hands of The Killer. The documentary emGoing to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film/em, produced by Emerson alumnus Rudy Scalese and screening Halloween evening, examines the appeal and cultural significance of this terrifying class of films.

Scalese said that Adam Rockoff’s book of the same name was his sole motivation for making the documentary.

“After I read the book, I thought, ‘Imagine a documentary about these movies with all the visual clips from the films and also interviews from the writers, directors, producers, and actors who gave them life,” he said in an interview. “That people could actually see that these movies were smart, scary, and made people a lot of money and most of them are being remade in today’s market.”

Scalese and the rest of the creative team lifted the book’s structure for the film, according to the alumnus.  Calling the film an extension of the book, he arranged interviews with horror legends Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and dozens of others. He said that interviewing the most important names in the new wave of horror movies was important to legitimizing the film.

“I thought [the film] would give the slasher genre a lot of credibility, and that is what I set out to do,” he said.

Anna Federm, visual and media arts program coordinator, said she agreed that the film’s strength comes from its comprehensiveness.

“They did a fine job looking at the genre and studying its origins,” she said. “It shows what was happening in the 80s and how the slasher genre really appealed to its audience.”

Few, if any, genres have fans as devoted as horror junkies.

“The key thing with these films is that they provide a good scare on a low budget,” said junior theater studies major Luke Palmer, the president of War Lords, a campus-based student horror film group. “They rely a lot on creativity and they have lots of imagination.”

Audience members are encouraged to attend Going to Pieces’ screening in costume, lured with the promise of prizes and candy by the host organization, Career Services. Scalese will attend the screening and the Qamp;A session directly following it.

emBoccia can be reached at cheyenne_boccia@emerson.edu/em