Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012) poster

Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012)


UK. 2012.


Director – Calum Waddell, Producers – Naomi Holwill & Calum Waddell, Music – Mars, Animation – Naomi Holwill. Production Company – High Rising Productions.


Mark Atkins, Emily Booth, John Carl Buechler, J.S. Cardone, John Fallon, Corey Feldman, Mick Garris, Adam Green, Kenneth J. Hall, Tom Holland, Tobe Hooper, Dean Jones, Marysia Kay, Patrick Lussier, James Moran, Fred Olen Ray, Dave Parker, Jeffrey Reddick, Felissa Rose, Robert Rusler, Eduardo Sanchez, Christopher Smith, Scott Spiegel, Kevin Tenney, Norman J. Warren

Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is a Documentary that sets out to chart the history of the slasher film. It comes from Calum Waddell, a British director who is listed as having made some 150 documentaries since the early 2010s. Most of these are Making Of featurettes (under 30 minutes) in length made as extras for releases of horror film, including a number of works covering giallo films. Other full-length documentaries Waddell has made include From Romero to Rome: The Rise and Fall of the Italian Zombie Movie (2012), Cannon Fodder: The Making of Lifeforce (2013), Scream Queens: Horror Heroines Exposed (2014), Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of the Italian Cannibal Film (2015), 42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of America’s Most Notorious Street (2015), Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo (2016), All Eyes on Lenzi: The Life and Times of the Italian Exploitation Titan (2018), Category III: The Untold Story of Hong Kong Exploitation Cinema (2018), Images of Apartheid: Filmmaking on the Fringe in the Old South Africa (2018), Prince: The Peach and Black Times (2019), Franco-Philes: Musings on Madrid’s B-Movie Maverick (2020), A Conspiracy Classic – The Making of the Philadelphia Experiment (2020), The Last Word on the Last House on the Left: The Legacy of Horror’s Most Controversial Classic (2020), Searching for Cannibal Holocaust (2021) and The Young General: Reflections on Michael Reeves (2022).

The slasher film probably needs no introduction as the 1980s phenomenon that began with hits like Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). Both have been multiply sequelised and spawned a phenomenon that led to a vast outpouring of copycat films where teenagers were pursued through summer camps or the woods by hulking maniacs in masks. I have a detailed listing of these under the title Slasher Films.

Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever sets out to chart the origins of the slasher film. Most of those interviewed cite the first slasher film as being Psycho (1960), although I would typify Psycho more as being a Psycho-Thriller that has embryonic elements of the slasher film rather than an actual slasher film. Dave Parker, director of The Hills Run Red (2009), and Patrick Lussier, director of My Bloody Valentine (2009), take everything back to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (1939) and the first film version And Then There Were None (1945), which created the trope of the group isolated on an island being killed off. Meanwhile, Christopher Smith, director of Creep (2004) and Severance (2005), cites Mario Bava’s Twitch of the Death Nerve (1969), another strong progenitor that took its basics from Agatha Christie. We then get to discussion of what is generally agreed on as being the first proper slasher film Black Christmas (1974).

Corey Feldman interviewed in Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012)
Corey Feldman interviewed

Slice and Dice places its focus in odd places. There is a history of the genre offered but this has massive gaps. It covers the classic Halloween and Friday the 13th series, mentions the A Nightmare on Elm Street films, but then skips completely over the huge outpouring of films in the 1980s heyday to get to Scream (1996) and sequels. Certainly, a number of individual films are mentioned throughout but what is missing is the whole section of slasher history 1981-3 that essentially formed the tropes.

We jump from Halloween and Friday the 13th to a section of some fifteen minutes (in a film that only runs to 78 minutes) on the rules of the slasher film. In that the rules were only created by the Scream series as a way of spoofing the clichés and tropes of the genre, this does seem a disproportionate amount of time spent focusing on them. And really, the input of the various interviewees is neither here nor there in having anything interesting to say about these. I did find quite interesting the debate over what makes a good slasher maniac – one with backhistory vs a faceless masked hulk. There is some attempt to address why women are victims in the film, although none that ever finds a terribly profound answer – vague statements like “It’s in the male psyche” are posited at one point.

The film does offer a reasonable number of interviewees and many with a history directing and starring in slasher films. The surprise about this is that none of these are ever interviewed or tell stories about the films they made – instead, they are all just opining about aspects of the slasher genre. There is the odd nugget among these – Corey Feldman pitching the idea of a Friday the 13th sequel where his young Tommy character faces Jason as an adult, while Tobe Hooper voices appreciation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), the remake of his classic work.

One of the faults of the film is that it appears to have been made on a small budget, meaning that it doesn’t have financial resources for clearing the rights on film footage. What we get to see seems to be taken from the Paramount library – the Friday the 13th films, My Bloody Valentine (1981) and April Fool’s Day (1986). The rest is represented by interviews and movie posters.

Trailer here

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