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

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Every fear you've ever felt. Every evil you've witnessed. Every nightmare you've ever known...have come together for the first time on film. Going to Pieces is the ultimate anthology that takes you on a horrifying journey through your favorite slasher films including, Halloween, Psycho, Friday the 13th, Prom Night, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and When a Stranger Calls. Interviews with horror icons John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Rob Zombie, Tom Savini and many more guide you through a series of gruesome scenes from classic films and recent hits. Watch as the history of the slasher film comes alive...if you dare.

Special Features

  • Filmmaker commentary
  • A Message from author Adam Rockoff
  • Bonus interviews
  • Trivia game
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Tom Savini, Wes Craven, Ed Green
  • Directors: Jeff Mcqueen
  • Writers: Adam Rockoff, J. Albert Bell, Michael Derek Bohusz, Rachel Belofsky, Rudy Scalese
  • Producers: Christopher Black, Michael Baker, Michael Ruggiero
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image/Thinkfilms
  • DVD Release Date: May 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LAZDOW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,879 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brendan M. Howard on March 18, 2007
Format: DVD
Adapted from a book about the evolution of movies based on more and better ways to kill, this cable doc has grisly highlights, behind-the-scenes stories, and some fairly thoughtful explanations for why murders are so fascinating to watch from writers, directors and fans. The history starts with two seminal 1960 films: the underrated British film Peeping Tom from director Michael Powell and the far-more-successful Psycho from American visual genius Alfred Hitchcock. Then it leapfrogs into and out of three general eras of slasher films. The first era begins with 1978's Halloween, with a masked killer pig-sticking teenagers in a quiet suburban neighborhood. It peters out in the early 1980s, as gratuitous masked-murderer films piggyback on Halloween's cliches.

A new burst of creativity arises with 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street, dumped by its first studio because people didn't want to see movies about dreams, according to writer-director Wes Craven. Writer-directors had to pull out the punches in gore as movie fans had seen it all in the first wave. This era died about the time Reagan left office.

We are in the third era, according to documentarians. Horror films and slasher films in particular have been going strong since films such as Scream laughed at the genre and films such as Saw showed some of the most awful, realistic gore imaginable.

Going to Pieces never gets into academic or psychological discussions for why gore appeals. It lets the makers of gore and its fans expound their theories: Gore succeeds at times of great societal fear (Vietnam, nuclear war, serial killers). Gore shows us a part of humanity--the ephemeral nature of the human body, and our very human need to see violence (the horrors of the Roman Colosseum are brought up briefly).
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Format: DVD
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (Director unknown, 2006)

IMDB, thou hast failed me! I neglected to note the name of the director of this doco when I watched it, and it's not listed at IMDb. Mea culpa. Sorry. On with the show.

Going to Pieces is great, great, great, if you're a slasher film neophyte who wants to get interested in the genre. Now, this is not necessarily a nonexistent niche market, especially with so many youngsters who have been attracted to the genre with newer variations on it (Final Destination being the obvious example), all of whom were not yet born, or in diapers, when most of the films noted here were made. (I was only six, myself, when Black Christmas, the first true North American slasher flick, hit theaters in 1974.) The problem is, the rest of us who would normally be attracted to it have seen all the movies, and know all the backstories. If you're an established fan, most of the stuff you get from Tom Savini, John Carpenter, etc. you'll probably have gotten from other documentaries from the subject, if not from your obsessive Fangoria reading when you were a teenager. That said, it does provide an interesting trip down memory lane to some flicks you might have forgotten about (Pieces and Prom Night are definitely in that category for me, I'll have to watch them again soon). A lot of great clips, a lot of fun (and, a warning, a lot of spoilers). Could have had more original substance, though. ** ½
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Format: DVD
"Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film" chronicles just that: the prestigious and respectable beginnings that quickly gave way to the cheap and lazy knock-offs that saturated and diluted the genre. Whether the films were attempting to create luminary icons such as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger or cashing in on even the most trivial of holidays, they enjoyed their fair bit of success, made on a shoe-string budget and backed by major studios who treated them like red-headed step-children. The films were gory, gratuitous, often over the top and almost always a pleasure for genre fans, which of course means they were chastised by critics and the MPAA did all they could to neuter them.

Featuring interviews with legendary directors such as John Carpenter and Wes Craven, as well as special effects heroes like Tom Savini and the late Stan Winston, "Going to Pieces" does a fair job of assessing the sub-genre as a whole while shedding some light on some more obscure fare that got overshadowed by the blockbusters that defined the era. It recalls a time when special effects were practical and suspense was key. You didn't need a star or a pretty face, just a relatable character and an unrelenting madman. Even the lesser films like Slumber Party Massacre or Sleepaway Camp were enjoyable despite their lack of originality, and the documentary acknowledges that.
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Format: DVD
Being a child of the "slasher" era of horror filmmaking, I was eager to check out this nifty documentary. Yes, it was not so long ago when movie theaters were stuffed by routine and formulaic pictures of teenage death--each trying to outdo the last entry in terms of creative killing. And whenever there was a new and creative burst of energy in the genre, that newness and ingenuity were quickly copied and reproduced under a different title. So, let's face it--I love the slashers and I hate the slashers. It's not like these films were art! But they more than satisfied my young lust for blood. But more than a like or dislike anyone might have about a particular film, these low budget affairs were generally independently financed and released. They, in fact, are an extremely vital part of the history of independent filmmaking. For the first time, significantly, multiple pictures made outside the mainstream studio system generated great financial success.

"Going to Pieces" promises a bit more than it can deliver, ultimately. Outlining the rise and fall of the slasher film, one might expect a more comprehensive history than is presented within the film. But, that said, this movie is a fascinating and nostalgic look back. Clocking in at just 90 minutes, the film can cover only so much--and, of course, most of the time is spent with films and filmmakers who agreed to participate in the documentary. So while many of the clips presented are from well known classics, an equal amount of time is spent on films with lesser profiles. It is an intriguing, if sometimes arbitrary, compilation--and I relished the chance to see many of these films again. The documentary is never less than entertaining and the clips chosen represent the genre well.
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