Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Saw is Family!

Texas Chainsaw 3-D  (Lionsgate, 2013)

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.

Now, another seven years down the road, another Chainsaw flick comes along, and it’s in 3-D! This time out the action starts with footage from the first movie upconverted into the third dimension – which was fun. Then the new movie begins moments after the final shot of the original – with the authorities showing up at the Sawyer house due to Sally making it safely to town. New and previously unseen Sawyer family members are all over the house now, armed with shotguns and ready for a fight. The sheriff convinces Drayton (Moseley) to send out “Jed” Sawyer (who we better know as Leatherface, though that appelation is never uttered in this movie), but the arrival of a lynch mob from town led by Burt Hartman (Rae) sends the day south and after a pitched gun battle the Sawyer house is burned to the ground with apparently no survivors. However, one of the mob members finds a mortally wounded young Sawyer woman with a baby girl trying to crawl away from the house. Finishing her off, he takes the baby and hides it from the rest of the mob, giving the child to his wife as they are unable to have children. Years pass (and we’ll have a chat about how many in a moment). Now it is 2012. Heather (Daddario) is a young woman in college prepping a trip to New Orleans with her friends. However, she has been contacted and told that her grandmother has passed on and left her a inheritance. Her world is turned upside down as she realizes the couple she thought were her parents – aren’t. She decides to go to Texas to claim her inheritance, and her friends divert their plans to join her. Once in Texas, Heather meets the family lawyer (Riehl) who gives her the key to her grandmother’s house and some paperwork, including a letter to her from her grandmother, written in the old lady’s final days. He takes her out to the home – a small mansion – but he begs off going in. Heather skips reading the letter in the excitement of exploring the house. A trip to town reveals Hartman is now the town mayor – and just as much of a jackwagon as he was (mumble) years previously. Eventually the group discovers that Heather’s new house holds secrets – secrets standing 6’5’’ and wearing a mask of human skin. Despite the word not being in the title – the massacre isn’t over. Who will survive and what will be left of them?
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 ?

Hmmmm. YES.

Alexandra Daddario

Alexandra Daddario and Tania Raymonde

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!


  1. LOL You and your brainless eye candy. These two chicas have a single operating brain cell between them looks like. Who do the ladies get here? Why no one of course. My sole joy in watching these is to see the sexy chicks get slaughtered. I certainly hope Tania (is that name for real?) and Alexandra get cut up into chicken nuggets like they deserve. ;)

    1. Well, you'll have to check out the movie to find out - and I'll be interested to hear what you think when you do...cranky cranky thing... ;)

    2. LMAO! Cranky? Hey now,you guys are no different when it comes to the waxing poetic of other guys. Every time I do, you all are up in my grill, so fair's fair. ;)

  2. i love Alexandra Daddario... really! those "eyes" and the candy... I invited her over, she still has not responded.

    1. She does indeed have very nice eyes...among other things...

  3. There are some fit, handsome young men in there for the ladies to ogle... For a while anyway...

    As for the question in the write-up over whether Moseley's character in TCM2 was Drayton's son or nephew or what; Leatherface, Chop Top, and the Hitchhiker were all meant to be The Cook's brothers. As he says in 2, he's "stooped his shoulders taking care of his younger brothers." 3D changes Leatherface to Drayton's son.

    - Cody

    1. There are indeed...for a while...

      Okay - here's the thing - every reference always seems to call them brothers in both the first and second movies - but I felt from my first viewing of the original that Jim Siedow was the father to Ed Neal and Gunnar Hansen - but that theory is not borne out by Jim calling Grandpa "Grandpa" instead of "Daddy" and in a family that obviously respects the patriarch the interplay between Neal and Siedow certainly lacks parental respect. I'd forgotten the line in 2 about his younger brothers. I guess the TC 3-D filmmakers agreed with me - and since they just erased TCM2 - Drayton is daddy now. Thanks for the info, Cody!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank YOU, Mark! Hope you like it when you see it!

  5. Not that excited for this semi-sequel. Trailer looks generic and most reviews I've read so far were pretty negative. I actually would have prefered a sequel to the highly underrated TCM: The Beginning which was surprisingly badass.

    1. The trailer does not sell the film well. I guess I need to check out that 2006 prequel - maybe I'll agree with you about it. I can't wait to see what you think of this one. I predict a 4.5/10 score...

    2. Well, it wasn't exactly a 4,5 ;)
      Indeed, the trailer didn't sell the film well - because the trailer is far better than this :D

  6. Okay, your take on the timeline is probably more accurate than mine! It really would have helped, though, if they had just flat out said what the hell year all this was taking place in, or they could have at least made TC3D take place around 1994 just to be true to the original. Anyway! I'm glad I'm not the only one that liked the movie - it seriously was not as bad as others made it out to be.

    1. Well, with 2012 definitely seen in the movie on gravestones and such - and a 20 year old heroine who was a baby in flashback - and the year when she was a baby obscured out any time it would be seen - it pretty much MUST be that this sequel puts the events of the first movie in 1992. Regardless of this - I can't understand why the timefudgery (my new word - like it?) got everybody so up in arms? And you're right - WAAAAY not as bad as some would tell you. Thanks for coming by, conventionsistafriend!