One of the most disarmingly clever genre deconstructions I've ever seen is Scott Glosserman'sBehind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon -- which is just another way of saying "It's a horror mockumentary created by folks who definitely know their old-school slasher flicks, and aren't afraid of being a little irreverent while paying homage to the genre that Jason (and Michael and Freddy) built." I saw the movie with a very enthusiastic crowd back at last March's SXSW Film Festival -- and then once again at the Alamo Drafthouse on Halloween Night when I happened to be back in Austin for reasons of a more personal (to say nothing of curvier) nature.

And after two sessions with Leslie I can tell you: This flick really works, but only if, as a child, you used to love sneaking HBO peeks at Friday the 13th Part 4, Halloween Part 5 and Freddy Part 6 while your parents were off doing more, ahem, parental things. Bolstered immeasurably by the fantastic lead performance of Nathan Baesel (and kept consistently afloat by Glosserman's witty screenplay), Behind the Mask is a certifiable hoot for the horror crowd. If the "meet the hot young slasher" mockumentary idea doesn't sell you at first, I'd also remind you that Behind the Mask delivers genre veterans like Robert Englund, Scott Wilson and Zelda Rubinstein. And if you're still not curious, then fine: You're officially off my list of true-blue horror geeks.

So here's some good news: Not only has Anchor Bay purchased Behind the Mask for distribution, but they'll be doing it in a theatrical capacity! Yep, Anchor Bay is gonna bang out some prints and distribute the flick on January 5 -- although obviously it's going to be a fairly limited-style release pattern. But don't worry; I hear those Anchor Bay guys do some pretty fine horror-work on the DVD front as well.