Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a unique little gem that was released in 2006, starring the great Robert Englund. If Englund hasn't been inducted into some sort of horror hall of fame, he should be...because it would be a crime not to recognize his brilliance on screen, comparable to some of the classic Hollywood actors like Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney ( both Sr. & Jr.), Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price. His portrayal as Freddy Krueger should be considered one of the monster greats. To say this is a tall order considering he's barely in this film.
Now that we've thoroughly praised Robert Englund, let's discuss this film. Behind the Mask is about a film crew that follows a serial killer by the name of Leslie Vernon in his day-to-day routine - if this sounds ridiculous, that's because it is! What we have here is a nice combination of comedy and horror, each aspect providing enough entertainment throughout the film's duration. Eventually the tone becomes more serious during the climax and a more dark edge appears, closing the final act on a tremendous note. I've mentioned before my reluctance to accept the sub-genre of comedy/horror, but Behind the Mask executes it very well - there are opportunities to laugh, reference old Slasher flicks, and enough violence to occupy the kids for a while.
Robert Englund plays the role of a doctor in pursuit of Leslie Vernon, and I can't help but see a close resemblance to Donald Pleasances' character, Dr. Loomis, in the original Halloween series. Behind the Mask manages to address some of the hilarious thoughts that usually come up while watching a Slasher - such as, "how did he get from point A to point B so fast?!" Nathan Baesel, the actor who plays Leslie Vernon, is so likable and hilarious you'll practically be rooting for him as he documents his precise victim-stalking tactics. I found it interesting how his character transitioned from completely lovable to psychotic during the story's conclusion...and from what I know and researched about serial killers in the past, the same severe personality disorder holds true.
Go out and see Behind the Mask - in fact, just buy it...I'm sure you'll treasure it.