Sunday, February 7, 2010

Movie Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


Before I start the review, let’s talk about gore.

It’s really debatable as to whether or not gore is a required tool in horror films. Certainly one can argue that the classics did just fine without it. Speaking personally, I do think having gore as an effective tool, but only if you see it occasionally in a movie.

With the Texas Chainsaw Massacre though, I have two thoughts-WOW, GORE! LOTS OF GORE! The second is, ‘what the hell else am I going to write about?’ 

Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit unfair. First of all, I actually did a little research, and discovered that there is a whole series of Texas Chainsaw Massacre films that I didn’t even know about, so the two I’m reviewing today (2003 and 2006) are remakes of a remake (minor side-note: given how many remakes of remakes that are starting to crop out, we might need a more technical name for this soon). And since both movies are exactly the same with different actors, I’m not going to review both movies separately.

In most editions of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it is advertised that the movie is based on true events. To that I say, “Erm…um…kind of.”  For starters, it didn’t involve Texas. Or chainsaws. Or a massacre, since he was only technically convicted of one murder. Go look up Ed Gein if you want to make a judgement for yourself.

Here’s the plot. Thomas aka Leatherface is a man who kills people with chainsaws. Why? Um…it’s not really explained. We get a little bit of backstory in the prequel, where he’s abandoned as a baby in the trash can, disfigures himself for some reason, and then…well, that’s pretty much all the character development you get. What else do you expect from a guy that speaks a grand total of one word in both movies? Makes me wonder what the actor had to do during the audition tapes. "Now glare at the camera, Mr. Leatherface. Hold that pose...hold that pose...perfect! You're hired!"

It’s really his cannibalistic family that’s more interesting, particularly the scene-stealing Sheriff Hewitt, who became a cannibal while he was a POW during the Korean War. That being said, like Thomas I really don’t understand the motivations of this family either. There’s no explanation given as to why they’re consistently torturing people before eating them, and for the life of me I will never understand why that’s appealing in films, even horror films. What do they expect to get out of the victims, besides, ‘OH GOD THE PAIN’ a whole bunch of times?

As to the other characters in both movies…well, I knew that most if not all of them were going to die even in the trailer, so why should I care about their backstory in the first half of the movie?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 1 ½ stars out of 5
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the Beginning: 1 star out of 5

Bottom line, these movies are just gross. If that’s what you’re looking for, well then these movies should definitely appeal to you.

Holy crap! Michael Bay produced the second movie?


Amanda said...

I disagree with your review - It did have some plot and character development, at least enough to bump it up to a second star rating. Couldn't find it with all mindless bloodshed? Take the Freddie versus Jason movie in comparison, which I know for a FACT that you've seen. That was mindless, and stupid, and sexist, and just horrendous in every way. This had Jessica Bell kicking butt in a bloody t-shirt, rescuing a baby, and nailing Leatherface with a semi.
They had attempted something.
... and it wasn't just Ed Gein ... it was also based off of Sawney Beane and his family of incestuous cannibals in Scotland. ... The gas station corner store is also real. Campbell visited it and accidently ate prairie oysters ... yum ...

Natasha Bennett said...

The house was supposedly based on the real design, which is cool too. :)

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