There was a brief period of time there where it seemed like Anchor Bay could do no wrong, especially for a horror fan. After doing stellar editions of classics such as HALLOWEEN, DAWN OF THE DEAD and THE EVIL DEAD, not to mention putting out uncut versions of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and Lamberto Bava cult flicks, they shifted gears and starting acquiring new horror titles.
Things like HATCHET, THE LOST, and eventually… BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON. I still remember getting an early review copy of BEHIND THE MASK for Icons Of Fright.com, and falling head over heels in love with this very smart, witty unique docu-drama that broke down the 80’s “slasher” tropes and still managed to break new ground. At the mid-point, once Robert Englund showed up as the Loomis-esque “Ahab,” I paused the movie, called my Icons Of Fright co-creator Mike Cucinotta and told him he had to come over immediately and watch this thing with me, because it was about to become our favorite new genre movie.
LESLIE VERNON was a charming new horror icon. A sympathetic modern Norman Bates. And he broke down the rules of old horror movies in a way that suddenly made an entire decade of movies 10 times better, as if these things had all been thoroughly thought out! Considering the cult status of this sucker, it seemed inevitable that Leslie would return for a sequel. After all, the HATCHET movies got a pair of sequels, and Leslie Vernon is even mentioned in HATCHET II, hence putting them both in the same cinematic world.
And yet, despite strong efforts on the part of all involved in BEHIND THE MASK, pulling together the funding for a proper follow-up proved far more challenging than Leslie’s proposed killing spree. A script was written titled BEFORE THE MASK: THE RETURN OF LESLIE VERNON. A Kickstarter campaign was launched at a time where people hadn’t fully figured out Kickstarter, and sadly, to this day, the sequel doesn’t exist. Yet.
With the 10th anniversary screening at SXSW, we figured something cool would emerge from this sudden renewed interest. Sure, enough, the gang behind BEHIND THE MASK have launched an Indie Gogo campaign to finally produce BEFORE THE MASK… as a fully realized comic book!
Here’s the details straight from the campaign page: “The comics will be illustrated by artist Nathan Thomas Milliner who created a beautiful limited edition piece several years back that we previously sold through our B4TM webstore! We want to release all 8 issues in this series (this cover art is a working draft) and this funding campaign is the catalyst for upcoming projects…
All issues will be shipped with backing in a protective plastic sleeve.”
Why a comic series? What does this mean for the sequel? Here’s what the campaign page states. “When we attempted to fund our sequel a few years ago, we heard you loud and clear. You want us to #BringLeslieBack! We want to make it happen just as badly as you do. This comic series is a vital stepping stone because it illustrates (literally) the vision for the movie while also proving the demand (assuming it sells!). Leveraging the movie’s 10th anniversary year is super important because there won’t be another chance like this to build momentum towards another film.”
If you’re a fan like I am, there are various rewards you can invest in, while simultaneously helping make this comic book series happen. You can get specific issues, autographed versions, cover poster art and more! The best deal is the “Featured” perk: The first 3 issues of the comic for $30 bucks.
Head over to the Indie Gogo campaign for BEFORE THE MASK: THE RETURN OF LESLIE VERNON and let’s help bring him back!