Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: In 1999, William “Tony” Hooper, son of Tobe Hooper, began work on a spinoff of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre about the character Choptop, played once again by Bill Mosely. Although it has been over 20 years, however, the movie has yet to be released despite being mostly finished.
Also known as: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Release Date: October 7th, 1994 (limited)
Directed by: Kim Henkel
Written by: Kim Henkel
Music by: Wayne Bell, Robert Jacks
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Marilyn Burns (cameo)
Genre Pictures, Return Productions, Ultra Muchos Productions, Columbia Pictures, Cinépix Film Properties, 94 Minutes (original cut), 87 Minutes (re-release)
This is the fourth and worst installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. The reboot after this was a big step-up.
I rewatched this and the third film Leatherface for the first time in over a decade. Leatherface was really bad, this is worse. To be honest, it isn’t as bad as I remembered it but that is only because it has a few positives that none of the other films have. The main thing is Matthew McConaughey.
You can never accuse McConaughey of not giving 100 percent to a role. He played his part here, at about 150 percent. He was turned up past maximum volume and it was extraordinary. Sure, his material, his dialogue and his character were a ridiculous mash-up of awful but he shined with absolute insanity. I love McConaughey in this role and he owned it like no other previous psycho in this franchise.
Well, there actually isn’t another positive. McConaughey was just so good it is the equivalent to three positives.
So what’s bad? Quick answer: everything else. Long answer: initiate rant paragraph. Go!
The film starts with an animated logo that is pixelated and a credits sequence that has unintentional optical glitches. The dialogue was some of the worst I have ever heard and I watch a ton of Mystery Science Theater 3000 reruns. Some of the scenes made absolutely no sense… actually, all of the scenes. No, really… all of them. The acting, apart from McConaughey, was so bad that “atrocious” can’t quite define it. Renée Zellweger is the star of this but she just couldn’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, especially with McConaughey’s mojo cruising through outer space. The conspiracy theory plot twist was one of the dumbest things I have ever seen play out on film. Leatherface was just a cross-dressing, wailing banshee that didn’t do a damn thing except scream the entire picture. The two other psychos were so uninteresting and unintelligible that they are only memorable because I just watched this. But the worst thing was Matthew McConaughey’s robot leg and how Renée Zellweger immobilized him with a television remote… a television remote! And then he is murdered by a low flying secret society airplane propeller that chops through his head. Then you find out that all along, all this Texas Chainsaw Massacre stuff was some sinister government plot to scare people so much that they had a “spiritual experience” before dying. None of it makes any fucking sense. None. And this was written and directed by one half of the creative team behind the original movie! So it is canon, right? Right?!
Rant paragraph over.
This film is so bad that even McConaughey’s complete awesomeness still puts this behind Leatherface. If you get this far into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series, you must be a glutton for punishment like I am. Or you were the kid who burnt their hand on the stove even though your mother told you it was hot. Or maybe you are just curious and want to see the greatest Oscar caliber performance in one of the worst motion pictures of all-time.
I don’t think words can really illustrate the experience that is Texas Chainsaw Masscare: The Next Generation. But words can’t really illustrate the feeling of being shot, you kind of just have to jump in front of the bullet.
Release Date: January 12th, 1990
Directed by: Jeff Burr
Written by: David J. Schow
Music by: Jim Manzie, Pat Regan
Cast: Kate Hodge, Viggo Mortensen, William Butler, Ken Foree, Joe Unger, Tom Everett, Toni Hudson, Miriam Byrd Nethery, R.A. Mihailoff
New Line Cinema, 81 Minutes
This film series just doesn’t hold a candle to A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th or Halloween. Already, by the third movie, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise was dead in the water – unlike that magical waterproof and buoyant chainsaw at the end of this film. But if there’s something positive to be said, the film series does get even worse after this.
There really isn’t anything in this chapter of the series that is worth seeing. Sure, it has Viggo Mortensen and horror icon Ken Foree in it but they are also in much better pictures.
As far as personality, Leatherface is a completely different character in Leatherface. I guess he was supposed to be New Line Cinema’s take on the character, as they bought the rights to the series from Cannon Films in an effort to milk a new franchise and iconic monster like they had done with five Freddy Krueger movies before this.
The one takeaway from this movie, is how boring it is. How can a film with a crazy cannibal family and a chainsaw-wielding brute be boring? Somehow director Jeff Burr managed the impossible. Then again, he is also synonymous with directing awful horror sequels. I mean, he directed Stepfather II, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, as well as Puppet Master 4 and 5.
Viggo Mortensen and Ken Foree are about the only people with any sort of charisma in Leatherface. The acting is pretty atrocious, all around. The creepy cannibal girl is just bizarre in the worst way, the helpful girl in the woods is pointless and the two main actors weren’t likable. The cannibal family wasn’t even remotely scary, they just seemed like throwaway redneck side characters.
The final battle between Ken Foree and Leahterface is one of the worst fights I’ve seen in a horror movie from this era. I’m not sure how a chainsaw runs and floats in the water with the blade upright. Apparently, no one who worked on this film understands common sense physics.
Leatherface is an awful film.
Release Date: August 22nd, 1986
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: L. M. Kit Carson
Music by: Tobe Hooper, Jerry Lambert
Cast: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley, Lou Perryman
Cannon Films, 101 Minutes
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is not as good of a film as its predecessor but I still prefer it to the original. Maybe that is a controversial stance, considering that most fans of the original loathed the sequel, but I don’t care.
I find this one to be the most entertaining of the series and I like that it is a gory dark comedy that parodies itself. Besides, the first film didn’t have the blood and guts one would anticipate with a film featuring its name. This one, more than makes up for its predecessor, if blood and guts are your thing.
I’m not a huge gore hound but the way it is used in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, is fantastic. It is deliberately over the top, almost to mock the critics of the first film that didn’t get the violence they felt they were promised. This movie pretty much states, in the most bold way possible, “Here you go! Here’s your fucking gore!” The scene where Lefty knocks a hole in the wall, only to discover that the whole place is full of human viscera, is enough to make most people wince.
I think it was over a lot of people’s heads that this was satire. It certainly wasn’t marketed that way when it was released and it may have caught people completely off guard or just pissed them off. When I saw this as a kid, I was grossed out, but I loved the humorous approach. And while I didn’t understand that it was a parody, at the time, I appreciated that it upped the ante a thousand times over.
It also develops the psychotic cannibal family’s story more. You really didn’t know much about them in the first movie but now you have a better idea of what they are. You also see Leatherface, as a character, more clearly. The introduction of Bill Moseley’s Chop Top is a great addition to the family and this became one of his most iconic horror roles.
The opening sequence of this film, as nonsensical as it is, is still one of my favorite openings to any horror film. I never understood why the vehicles drove at the same speed, albeit slowly, or why the radio station couldn’t hang up the phone but it still works for me. Maybe it was the awesome Oingo Boingo track that accompanied the violent and bizarre scene.
The music in this film was really good. Well, the rock tunes were. The actual score is pretty horrid. It sounds like a ten year-old with a synthesizer trying to pound away with scary sound effects. It kind of fits the satirical nature of the film though and it blends in well, as the movie progresses.
As far as the sets go, I much preferred the family living in an old defunct theme park, as opposed to the gross farm house from all the other movies. The evil lair was surreal and the scenes of Caroline Williams running through its bizarre halls was infinitely cooler than all the other girls, in all the other films, running through the woods with Leatherface in tow.
The scenes in the radio station also provide a cooler atmosphere than the creepy house.
Dennis Hopper said that this was the worst film of his career but he’s an idiot if he thought that Super Mario Bros. was any better.
I like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I like it better than all the others in the franchise. Again, the first movie is better, artistically. However, this one is just a lot more fun and insane.
Release Date: October 1st, 1974
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Music by: Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper
Cast: Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn
Vortex, Bryanston Pictures, 84 Minutes
Originally, I wanted to review the first four Texas Chainsaw films as a series, as they are considered to be the original run of films before the remakes, prequels and other alternate sequels started. However, every single film bearing the Texas Chainsaw name, follows its own continuity. Part 2 is one of many versions of a sequel. Part 3 ignores Part 2. Then you have Part 4, which ignores Parts 2 and 3 and establishes a “next generation” of characters. After that, the series was rebooted. Then the reboot got a prequel. Years later, another alternate sequel to the original was made. Now there is another prequel coming out within the next year or so; I’m not sure which of the films it is attached to. Needless to say, the continuity is confusing as hell, so I would rather review each film separately.
Artistically speaking, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the best film in the series, although I can’t call it great. Sorry, it just isn’t. It also isn’t my favorite in the series, that honor would go to the second part, which I will explain when I review that chapter in the franchise.
This film is insane and scary. The atmosphere and the characters create a sense of dread that has never been replicated in the series. The dinner scene is one of the most legitimately frightening moments in 1970s horror. The sets, the cinematography, the characters, the music, the sound, everything just melds together in a good way. The film does the job it set out to do.
The only thing about the movie that I hated, and many will probably agree, is the invalid brother Franklin. He was beyond obnoxious, stupid and annoying. I don’t see how anyone could feel bad about his death in the picture. I only wish it had come sooner and been a lot more violent.
One of the common misconceptions about this movie, is that people remember it as being extremely violent and bloody. It isn’t. Most of the actual gore happens out of the shot or is implied somehow. There is very little blood, overall. The film is just so intense, at the right moments, that it doesn’t need to slap you in the face with blood and guts.
I know I am in the minority, but I have never held this in the same regard as classics like A Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween or Friday the 13th. It certainly isn’t as good as Black Christmas, another well-noted horror film from 1974. I have always liked it but it just doesn’t hold a special place for me like the other movies. And out of all the big time horror franchises, this one has spawned the most awful sequels.
Regardless of my criticism, Tobe Hooper made a solid horror picture for 1974. This is considered to be one of the greatest scary movies ever made. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been in 1974 when the world hadn’t really seen something this brutal. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre opened the flood gates for what was to come in the horror genre and that, more than anything else, is why this film is important.