|I like this poster better.|
Before the Camera:
Alexandra Daddario (Hall Pass)
Trey Songz (Step Up 3-D)
Tania Raymonde (TV's Lost)
Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Paul Rae (Daddy Day Camp)
Thom Barry (TV's Cold Case)
Shaun Sipos (Final Destination 2)
Keram Malicki-Sanchez (Punisher: War Zone)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
James McDonald (Phone Booth)
Dan Yeager (Metal Heads)
Also look fast for:
Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)
Marilyn Burns (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)
John Dugan (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)
Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by John Luessenhop
Produced by Avi Lerner, Danny Dimboort, and 7 or 8 other assorted associate, executive, and line producers
Written by Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, and Kirsten Elms
Story by Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, and Stephen Susco
Based on characters created by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
The seventh (!) film in the increasingly fractured franchise hits the Big Screen with all three dimensions, and I “saw” it over the weekend – heh heh. A bit of backstory – the original came out in 1974 and did very well in its original run and in several theatrical re-releases into the 80’s - which is how I first saw it - a re-release at good ol' Toler Cinema in early 1981 - my mom dropped me off Friday night, and after being knocked out by the movie - I went back Monday night as a ridealong with my brother who was taking his then girlfriend to see Roman Polanski's Tess on the other screen. Cannon Films acquired the sequel rights in the mid 80’s and they got The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 out in 1986. The sequel was also directed by Hooper, who realized there was little chance of topping the horror of the original and instead went for black comedy and over the top absurd humor and satire in addition to the gruesome side of things. A few years after that the third movie pulled a reboot, and then the astonishingly wrongheaded fourth film showed up several years later after spending a long time on the shelf; it namechecked 2 and 3 in dialogue, but really took off from the first film as a direct sequel, and brought in convoluted conspiracy plotting that makes Halloween’s Thorn plot look positively coherent and relevant. The fourth movie effectively put the series down for several years. In 2003, Michael Bay’s bunch got the go ahead for a remake, and it did well enough to spawn its own prequel three years after that.
|Life's not fair...|
Hearing the announcement of this film’s release, I was indifferent – I love the original movie; quite like the second; think the third is okay; hate the fourth; think the reboot is okay but unnecessary ; and haven’t seen the reboot prequel (though it is in the video vault to be watched eventually.) I assumed this would be the third in the reboot’s story sequence, and that left me…meh. The trailer did nothing to change my mind on that either. However, once I heard they were doing a direct sequel opening in 1974 and ignoring all the other movies – that intrigued me a little. Then, hearing that three of the original actors would be making cameo appearances I got more interested. (Not that having such cameos means any benefit to the movie – Marilyn Burns and John Dugan appear in the fourth movie – and it’s still useless.) Finally, I thought, what the heck – and checked it out.
It does indeed start with footage from the first movie in 1974 – only, it isn’t 1974 any more. After the opening scene, we meet Heather, who appears to be roughly 20 or so years old. There’s no indication from the filmmakers what year it is – and I first thought we were in 1994 – which would make sense, and seemed to be borne out at first by the lack of acknowledgment of cell phones in any way. However, a convenience store stop shows the price of gas as $3.60 a gallon, and then a cemetery trip shows that Heather’s grandmother passed in 2012 - it is modern day, obviously waaaay more than 20 years after 1974. So, it turns out the filmmakers are fudging the date of events in the first movie – which they tease us with throughout the movie. That same trip to the cemetery also reveals gravestones of people who died in the gunfight and fire – and while they show the correct day and month as August 18th - the year is obscured by bushes. Later, an examination of evidence from the Sawyer house fire manages to obscure the year about three times. So, though it is never said – according to this movie the original TCM took place in 1992, or thereabouts, and those kids were just weirdos who liked a retro 70’s look.
|Say hello to my lil fren...|
Letting the timefudgery slide – I found the movie entertaining. There are some bumpy bits in the story, but it has some great jumps, a sense of dread and menace, and some juicy gore (cut to avoid an NC-17, I’ve heard, but still pretty strong) The performances are good – with Daddario an appealing heroine, and Raymonde plenty sexy as her best friend. The guys are okay – and among the senior cast members both Paul Rae and Thom Barry stand out. Yeager is a pretty good Leatherface – though he’s not as massive as some of the previous versions. I’ve heard he is well over 6 feet tall – but he’s so symmetrically built he doesn’t seem that big. I particularly enjoyed seeing the cameos from the original film – plus one cameo from the first sequel. Gunnar Hansen and John Dugan turn up in the Sawyer home are both in the opening Sawyer house scene – Hansen as mentioned playing a previously unseen Sawyer patriarch, and Dugan back in the makeup as Grandpa (though considering the passing years, probably much less makeup than before!) Marilyn Burns can be glimpsed playing Heather’s grandmother, briefly visible in a short flashback scene. Best of all, however, is that The Cook – wonderfully played by the late great Jim Siedow in the first two TCMs – is here in that opening scene – portrayed by Bill Moseley – who had played Siedow’s son (or nephew - who can tell for sure?) in TCM 2! And topping this Sundae of Awesome – they call The Cook Drayton Sawyer in this movie – which was the dazzling moniker he gained in the second flick – as he was only called The Cook in the original. So that’s a nice tip of the hat to TCM2.
|John Dugan watches Bill Moseley defend the Sawyer homestead, despite what Jed did to the door...|
Reading reviews of this movie I’ve found the opinion split down the middle – with opposition strong and little gray area. I can understand the people who weren’t satisfied – the last third of this movie shifts a fair amount – and while there’s still a big lug swinging a chainsaw – things are changed. I went along it and found the movie a fun and gruesome ride – and wouldn’t mind seeing another that builds on this – though I have reservations that there are six or seven more needed – which is what has apparently been contracted for (!) The 3-D is nice – not sure if shot native 3-D or upconverted – but if it’s the latter it’s well done. Once again it’s mainly depth, with the saw jutted out into the audience a couple of times – and as such is skippable as far as I’m concerned.
I give this one a recommendation for anyone who doesn’t mind the idea of a branching seventh series entry. If on the other hand you think the very idea is tired, you might want to stick with whichever earlier series entries you have a fondness for. The rest of us can dance with our chainsaws in the early morning light.
Let's Get Out of Here ?
I can't be sure of the time - but as the trio is escaping the estate in the van I'm pretty sure Trey Songz indicates he's quite ready to have the others accompany him in quitting the area.
Eye Candy ?
|Alexandra Daddario and Tania Raymonde|
Welcome to list, ladies!
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
Buddha Man says "Texas Chainsaw 3-D is a movie with some
good buzz around it…"
Thank you my golden friend! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!