I learned of High Rising Productions, the company that created Slice and Dice, through the work that they did producing extras for Arrow Video’s DVD and Blu-ray releases. Before High Rising Productions made extras a lot of UK horror releases either didn’t have them, or claimed an interactive menu was an extra feature.
The first High Rising Production extra I saw featured cast interviews, the thoughts of the director, and was made for a much more interesting viewing experience. To the point where, if some of their short documentaries like ‘From Romero to Rome’ had been longer, perhaps they could have been stand alone features.
Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever is the first feature length documentary released by this small three person company. Made on a nonexistent budget by Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill, Slice and Dice has been a crowd pleaser and award winner at the annual South African Horror Film Festival, and had its premiere at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival. For me and other horror fans, Slice and Dice is a documentary that genre fans have been hungry for.
Quite often when someone says something was made with a small budget and no resources, they are either lying or making excuses for their film’s failings. For Slice and Dice, the budget was small, but it never feels small. Here we have a feature that has been made with great passion and a genuine love for the slasher film.
I grew up with horror movies and know the genre pretty well, so I wondered before watching the film if I would I learn anything new. If not, would it still be compelling to watch?
Beginning with the way the film is put together – what I love is Holwill’s animation. There is a real style to it which is noticeably her own. The opening to the film, after a few brief interviews, is an animation sequence which features a blasting punk rock song, “All Kinds Of Twisted”, played over Holwill’s animation. It glistens with deep reds and sharp movements. This makes the whole of what’s to come a more exciting journey, especially when the snippets of animation creep in or surround those discussing the genre.
The documentary itself explores the slasher film from its early origins in Psycho and Peeping Tom right up to the present day. There are some fascinating interviews with Tobe Hooper, Tom Holland, and Adam Green. Personally, I loved hearing from Mick Garris who made a film I hold close to my heart called Riding the Bullet. Equally interesting is Norman J Warren. We also have Corey Feldman, who doesn’t seem to have aged a day and still has a style that makes him compelling to watch.
What I like most of all about Slice and Dice is the constant love of the genre. Sure, every horror fan, including the ones present in this feature, have favourites and least favourites, but being a horror fan feels like being part of an exclusive club, and watching this documentary is just like listening to several members sharing their thoughts. None of those interviewed are annoying. Sometimes in these programmes, there is always that one subject who swears too much or is too over analytical, but I didn’t find that here.
I enjoyed hearing about the slasher remakes and where the genre has gone, Stretching beyond Scream to the recent Saw movies. It was great to hear people speak with places in their hearts for films like The Burning.
Like a slasher film, Slice and Dice is fun, colourful, and a joy to watch. The pacing is great, defined by being broken into segments, between which we are shown snippets from clips and trailers.
Also enjoyable is the commentary with director Calum Waddell and Justin Kerswell, it doesn’t sound forced and was never boring. Instead it sounds like two friends talking over their love of movies. I enjoyed the stories from Calum, especially the ones concerning his meetings with iconic directors.
Slice and Dice has made me want to revisit some of my old favourites again after hearing those with a genuine love for the genre. It’s great hearing people talk with enthusiasm, and I enjoyed seeing clips of lesser known movies, some I’ve never seen but will be checking out.
If you know slasher movies inside and out, I recommend this film for its fun and insightful approach by the well known and lesser known people involved. If you don’t know slasher movies, allow Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever to be your education. It’s a fun one.