Sometimes it’s tough being a horror movie fan. It’s worse when one of the classics and my single favorite horror film, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” keeps getting raped, beaten and victimized, over and over by terrible sequels. To be fair, 1986’s TCM Part 2 and 1990’s Part III are worthy and is where they end for me. They rest are worse than cheap cash-ins, just awful, stupid ugly messes.
So it goes with “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D“- yet another embarrassment, the worst one yet, to the saw— NOT that saw) legacy. 3D should be the tip off; horror and 3D do not a merry mix make. The 1980’s showed us that 3D sequels were work of the hackiest, desperate order, “Jaws 3D, “Amityville 3D” and “Friday the 13th Part 3D.” Of the new batch, “My Bloody Valentine” made no impression and the 3D provides evidence that audience want quality not getting head aches with crap jumping out at you.
Despite knowing better, I was rooting for this hunk of piss to be good; the premise at least had me for a few moments. Taking place immediately after the events in the original, (a necessary montage shows us in case were forgot what happened). The film then picks up with the Sheriff asking for “Bubba/Leatherface” (now known as Jedidiah, huh?) to come out with his hands up and ends with the burning of the farmhouse and the supposed death of Leatherface. One of Leatherface’s kin is nursing a small baby, and while the mother expires in a gruesome shootout with the locals, her tiny infant survives. Flash forward about twenty years and that infant has grown up to be Heather (Alexandra Daddario), a young woman who was adopted by the man who actually killed her mother and who has no inkling of her storied past. That all changes when Heather’s biological grandmother dies and leaves her a large estate in Newt, Texas, something that forces Heather’s adoptive parents to confess the truth—or at least as much of it as they’re willing to come clean about, which includes no salient information about the horrifying murders Leatherface perpetrated nor any information about the deaths of Heather’s own extended family in the resulting shootout. Heather is understandably distraught to have this sudden revelation thrust upon her and decides to leave for Texas immediately with several of her friends in tow.
She’s met in the town by Farnsworth, who hands over the keys to the kingdom and quickly beats a path out of there, obviously only too aware of the history involved. Heather and her friends then begin exploring the premises, where something of a repeat of the opening montage happens, where at least a couple of characters venture into the basement, only to discover—well, guess. Leatherface is alive and well- duh! And so it goes, more of the same, nothing new and terribly dull by the end. So many stupid moments, where do I begin?
WTF? Will be asked often and with good reason. Remember, the original film takes place in 1973 as per John Larroquette’s opening narration instructs. This film opens up immediately right after Sally Hardesty has fled in the back of the pick yup truck… and then the film flashes forward to a grown up female child, to be around 20 years of age. By logic and the calendar, the year then should be 1993- but no, it takes place in 2013!!!!! Captain Kirk and his crew couldn’t correct this strange time distortion and those missing 20 years!
For those us not retarded, Heather, should be 40 years old! A simple and required rewrite would have saved this slug from being the worst film of the year. What of the odd ball math and time jumping, is never mentioned. Not in a clever way or even a stupid way, just not at all. Lazy, stupid writing is one thing, but incompetent and complete disregard for the most rudimentary logic is unacceptable. I dig all kinds of movies of varying degrees of quality- this is the bottom of the barrel in presentation, creativity and insinuation. If a sustained period piece is a budget buster- guess what, don’t do it! Also, don’t have a movie take place in 1973, jump to the present with said character aging 20 years and reveal its 2013 and expect me not to notice! Why? There is no reason for such stupidity. I can think of several logical variations instantly that are better… Alice is 40, she has a 20 daughter, and the story follows her…BOOM! Done! The most annoying part is every time they show a picture, newspaper or tombstone, the year is obscured, as if the audience is unaware…zzzzzzz. I can go with a movie only so far, but when it starts to insult my intelligence to cover up heavy work on the film’s end, I’m done.
I also resent the retro-active rewriting of the character and his back story. That’s just one of many problems with this dung pile. Nothing is really explained how Heather’s biological grandmother, (paternal or fraternal, who knows?) knew that she was alive or who adopted her. Who is this grandmother? Not Leatherface’s, he would be 70 plus years old by now, which would put Granny well over 100 at least going by this wonky time lime.
Yet another stupid redo is the sudden appearance of the new Sawyer family members- suddenly after Sally has fled and the Sheriff shows up, we see all kinds of relatives crawling out of the woodwork to stand in the Sawyer house only to be burned alive– in a move that is infuriating in its waste of potential, we have stars of the original Bill Moseley (Hitchhiker), Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface’s/Bubba), Marilyn Burns (Sally) and John Dugan (Grandpa)- for horror fans those names are legendary. They are all wasted here.., my mind floods with the potential that could have come from an interesting premise, although they were playing with fire trying link such a pedestrian effort to a bonafide classic.
Per order of the horror movie formula, the characters are always young, annoying dumb 20-something kids with nothing new to say or offer. They are nothing characters just burning time till the bad guys show up, but in this hemorrhoid, even the baddies are boring. As if it could get worse political correctness creeps in; Alice’s boyfriend is black of course, a wanna-be rapper; a big huge stereotype that would offend if many people saw this heap. Per usual, Leatherface’s is yet again, not nearly as menacing as in the original, before the sequels diluted nearly everything inherently macabre about him. Even the mask is laughably bad.
Leatherface’s continues to suffer further indignities as Heather is revealed to be a long lost member of the Sawyer clan, a cousin. Despite him having tried to kill her, having killed two of her friends and her boyfriend, a lame ass plot twist requires her to defend him in one of the worst moments in recent memory of any horror film. I’ve sat through a lot of terrible horrible films over the years; Zombie’s piss Halloweens, Split Second, & Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan, but this felt far worse, perhaps because it was tied so tightly to the original; that film being of such purity and brilliance, this one such crass, cheap and stupid filmmaking- it hurt to see an icon like Leather face treated to such indignity.
Members of the town having burned the Sawyer clan to death, reunite when they discover he has been living in the basement of the house inherited by Heather… he escapes and chases Heather into a carnival, where he goes mostly unnoticed despite many people around! One moronic scene after another has Heather and Leatherface teaming up. Yes, it plays worse than it sounds. What made the original film and Leather face as a character so powerful and memorable is that you didn’t know anything about him other than he was mentally retarded, insane and a cannibal. Here, he’s removed from his confines and released into the real world, where he is no longer scary. The real world sees him and he’s rendered as just another psycho. A character that was best described as a physical embodiment of the boogeyman; he worked when the strangers entered his domain, where he had the power and control. The first film kept him in his environment and you saw bits and pieces of what made him tick; kept him creepy, vicious and pure evil. Here he’s reduced to a joke and looks nothing like Hansen’s original. A fatty running around with a chainsaw that needs some oil. The closing scene will leave and Saw fan enraged at its sheer stupidity and completely NOT what the character was ever about.
Par for the course in the horror genre as no classic is sacred these days. It would be great if some actual talent got on board and made some quality films detailing the Sawyer clan and how and why they are so bugger nuts. Grandpa has a story, let’s see that! Where’s the story of the Texas Rangers getting revenge for a killing… the original Part 2 touched on that, but didn’t explore enough…
I hate this movie, not for only squandering some sound ideas, but for its laziness, stupidity and blundering commercialism. Leatherface is of no more scary use. I leave him as I found him; dancing his manic glee in the Texas twilight… before the dark times.