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Behind the Mask: The Making of the Next Hollywood Success

PHI PHI ’99 Brother, Scott Glosserman’s directorial feature debut opens in theatres March 16th, 2007

You don’t have to be a fan of slasher movies to recognize the names Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. These classic villains of the Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th horror film series have left their own unique and lasting marks on American cinema—and many an American nightmare. But have you ever wondered what Freddy’s home life was like? Where do Michael’s creatively grisly ideas come from? Just how much planning does it take to become one of the premier psycho slashers?

It’s just these kinds of questions that are addressed in a new movie by Sigma Chi Brother Scott Glosserman ’99. In his new horror satire, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Scott gives audiences a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the next “great psycho slasher.”

“Behind the Mask is a convergence of Halloween and Best in Show,” Scott explains, citing one of the best known horror films, as well as a successful ‘mockumentary’ that satirized dog shows. “In it, the next up and coming psycho slasher has given a documentary crew access to his life as his plans his reign of terror…It’s a nostalgic celebration of the horror genre.”

Scott could also throw in a comparison to The Blair Witch Project, the film known for its grainy, jumpy footage of young documentary filmmakers who disappear mysteriously. The mockumentary portion of Behind the Mask is shot in this style, but when Leslie Vernon—the up-and-coming slasher and the protagonist in the movie—launches his attack, the film switches to the look of a 1980’s-style horror movie.

Scott says, “I hope to do the horror fan right” in this salute to the movie genre, but he also thinks the film will appeal to a broader audience. “The slasher scenes are so self-aware they’re funny,” he says. “However, this isn’t a parody. It’s meant to be laughed with, not laughed at.” Scott’s credits for the movie include co-writer, director, producer; he even played a part (although, he says, he was wise enough to edit it from the final version of the film).

One of our own

Scott had already set his sights on a career in filmmaking by the time he arrived at Penn in 1995, but it took some of his sales skills to get the training. “Penn didn’t have a film major when I was there, but I knew what I wanted to do,” Scott says. “As soon as I got there, I scoured the curriculum for anything having to do with film; these classes were inevitably in the English department. By the time I had to declare my major, I had already practically completed the English requirement. (Penn English professor) Marc Lapadula persuaded the dean to allow me to pursue an independent study program.”

Joining Sigma Chi was a much easier proposition. Scott had already made that decision before coming to Penn, too. His older brother, Marc Glosserman ’96, was already a member of the fraternity, so Scott was familiar with the chapter and the brothers. “The reputation of the chapter and the men preceded itself,” he says.

“I felt very comfortable there, but I also had so much respect for my brother’s friends,” Scott declares. “I had faith and confidence in the house to put together a pledge class of brothers who possessed the same characteristics and integrity. I was right. The guys from my pledge class are still some of my best friends.”

Scott became very involved with the fraternity, eventually serving as Risk Manager, and later as Chapter Counsel. To hear him describe it, his biggest coup as Counsel was to re-cover the pool table in crimson felt in honor of the Washington Redskins, his hometown team. But without hesitation, he recalls living in the house all three years as his best experience. “I believe I developed stronger bonds with brothers from several classes, which couldn’t have happened if I hadn’t lived in the house.”

Scott continues to admire his brothers. “The people who make our chapter are such strong individuals. They have such self-confidence; they were all campus leaders.” He thinks it’s that secure sense of self-worth that allows Sigma Chis to be so supportive of each other. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere for anyone to pursue whatever it is they want to do….They had their priorities straight. (The fraternal support in the chapter) allowed each of us to pursue our own personal endeavors.”

Scott worked as a DJ at WQHS, the campus radio station, starting as a freshman with a middle-of-the-night shift. By his senior year, he was the rock music director and sports director and had a prime time spot, with his show heard all over campus. Another claim to fame: he believes he conducted the first interview of Mark DeRosa, now a professional baseball player who has played with the Braves and Rangers and recently signed with the Cubs. “I’ve still got the 8-track tape of the interview lying around somewhere,” he claims.

Next on Scott’s agenda: to parlay the buzz he’s currently receiving for Behind the Mask into a new job. He’s still writing and developing his own new material, but he’s hoping to be able to direct movies for studios and production companies as well.

Scott is unmarried and has two “awesome” dogs, Bailey and Gilbert, both named for a Washington Redskin and a Washington Wizard, respectively.

Right now, Scott is keenly aware of how fleeting his “fifteen minutes” could be….”These last several years in Los Angeles have been difficult, really anxiety-laden,” he says. “It’s a thrill to have something to show for my work. The theatrical release (scheduled for March) is gravy. I have a real sense of accomplishment, and I learned so much.”

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon opens in major markets (including Philadelphia) on March 16. It will expand to more cities in the following weeks.