The terror of the Halloween movie special week continues with four new interpretations of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie(s).
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
(USA 2003, director: Marcus Nispel)
Five friends pick up a young hitchhiker and are soon hunted by a family of psychopaths.
Anyone who hears the name Michael Bay will probably think he’s not the best man for a horror movie, as he’s usually involved with explosions and lots of gunfire. While he’s not the director and only the producer, one can’t overlook some stylish camera work and obviously MTV music video-like protagonists. However, this doesn’t mean that this remake fails to capture some of the original‘s terror. Sure, it’s never as terrifying or sick as Tobe Hooper’s version, as it doesn’t include the infamous final dinner scene and the whole cannibalism theme is less of a focal point.
Still, as far as tension and gory scenes go, it works quite well, although in the wake of many slasher movies, only the amount of blood and violence with Leatherface (whose face is also shown this time) makes it different. The family members aren’t particularly memorable and the victims are nothing more than slashing/hooking/chainsaw fodder. With fewer intense psychological horror and torture scenes (although there are a few), it’s much easier to digest and has a high entertainment value.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
(USA 2006, director: Jonathan Liebesman)
Two brothers who are ready to serve in the Vietnam war and their girlfriends become involved in a car crash and end up with a family of cannibals and a chainsaw-wielding maniac.
It’s not easy to make a movie about a family one knows will survive and won’t get caught to still be suspenseful and surprising. But this is exactly what the movie delivers, and so much more, especially in the gore department. One could even go so far to say that it’s the better original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as it has all the ingredients of sick ideas and violence one can hope or fear for.
The first remake played it rather safe with its depiction of a sadistic family, but the prequel is so over-the-top gory and doesn’t shy away from cannibalism as well as all sorts of dismemberment scenes that it plays in a completely different league. Of course the victims aren’t particularly memorable, but they’re more likable, and the screentime for each family member makes them much more frightening, being almost on par with the original. All in all, it’s one of the best remakes/prequels one can think of, as it delivers non-stop horror and gore while staying true to its source material, despite the music video aesthetics of Michael Bay as a producer.
Texas Chainsaw 3D
(USA 2013, director: John Luessenhop)
A young woman goes to Texas with her friends to find out who her real parents were and makes a surprising encounter with a chainsaw-wielding lunatic.
It’s never a good sign when a horror movie tries to be more intelligent than it needs to be while changing the general idea and tone of a series known for its maniacal violence and terror to something like a family story. Of course family has always played a part in the movies, but in a very sick way, usuallly associated with cannibalism. If one takes away the latter and makes the former a bunch of misunderstood people, there’s definitely something wrong.
Taking itself too seriously and also taking its time to introduce characters one doesn’t care much about, the movie can only redeem itself with some gory sequences, but even these aren’t particularly effective, despite the use of in-your-face-chainsaw 3D. There’s simply not a lot happening and making Leatherface and his family easier to relate to without actually telling the audience why makes this a very strange entry indeed, as it’s easily forgotten, even if it’s mildly entertaining and has some cool chase sequences.
(USA 2017, directors: Alexandre Bustillo/Julien Maury)
Pulled away from the Sawyer family, a young man is put into a mental institution, but escapes with three other inmates and a kidnapped young nurse.
How many reboots, prequels, and retellings or rather reinterpretations does a franchise need to be relevant again or make sense? In the case of Leatherface, it all somehow falls apart like the stitches of the titular psychopath, although the director duo tries hard to somehow fit it all together into an origin story.
Staying true to the disturbing and sudden violent outbursts of the original movie and having no humor whatsover in it might be a good idea, but as the movie turns out to be more of a kidnapper drama/thriller, one wonders why one should even bother as a horror fan. Not exactly knowing who the man with the chainsaw becomes is probably the most intriguing aspect, but for a short runtime of roughly 90 minutes, there isn’t too much to remember, with all characters being difficult to relate to and only the beginning and ending having some noteworthy gory effects. It seems that the more drama is spent on storytelling, the more forgettable the Texas Chainsaw Massacre experience becomes.
If you liked reading this article, make sure to LIKE it or comment on it on EMR’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the Amazon links and buying the products also helps ;).