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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
| Directed by:
Lee Ermey/Sherrif Hoyt
driving across Texas to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert with a shitload of weed
in their van, see their lives go to the slaughterhouse when an encounter
with a traumatized hitchhiker (German) leads them straight to a psychotic
clan of human butchers.
this is a “re-imagining” (which is a cop-out word that means "remake")
than "Leatherface-Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 3" is also a re-imagining and
so is "Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for that matter. They did the
same thing here that they did with Part 3 and 4, but better. They took the
central character of old “Leather”, gave him a new family unit and
nodded Tobe Hooper’s original to various degrees along the way. Apart
from the basic premise of “stranded kids vs. nutty family”, this movie
mostly showcased new material. So why is it called a re-imagining i.e.
remake? Because mainstream audiences are more likely to go see that than a
film called "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 5", which let's face
what this movie really is.
all of you who keep asking yourselves: Why would anybody want to mess
with something as sacred as “The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre” title, well
let me quote producer Michael Bay for the answer: “I
wanted to do The Texas Chainsaw Massacre because of name value alone.”
There you have it. After having seen the film, I personally had to wrestle
real hard with my personal negative feelings towards the people behind the
movie and their main reasoning for making it. But after a couple of
drinks, the smoke cleared and I came up with: “It’s definitely the
best TCM flick since the original”. If you can get past all of the
bureaucratic bullshit that’s stuck to this entry’s butt like old
bubble-gum, you might get to enjoy it for what it is too; a solid horror
film that delivers the goods.
anybody familiar with the Texas franchise, the chain of events found here
won’t surprise you. Teens Texas Cannibal Family = mucho trouble. For those of
you who know the original so well, be prepared to be taken for a couple of
loops-the-loops with this update because the chain of events is a
different one starting with the nature of the hitchhiker (played by Laura
German) character and beyond. That pleased me. I didn’t want to see the
same old jive again, and I didn’t. The flick had its own story to tell,
expanded upon ideas found in the original and took me on a tension-filled
no-messing around with the cheese violent ride. Was
it relentless? Yes. Unsettling? Yup!! Violent? Damn straight. Morbidly
funny? Oh yeah! Perverted? Somewhat. For the first hour of this sharp
cleaver, my eyeballs were glued to the screen, totally absorbed by the
events unfolding before me. Yes, I was having a horror blast!
apart from some effective "Blair Witch Project"-like “found footage”
that intro'd and capped off the film, this baby took a totally opposite
route than the grainy original going for a glossy, almost “living
painting” like mood. I’m happy to report that the polished images and
astounding cinematography didn’t fully take away from the horror of the
piece like I originally feared it would. Although watering down the
impact of the whole affair a tad, especially when compared to the
original, the snazzy style gave the flick a grim fairy tale type of aura
that totally engaged me. Along with the chilling sets and gnarly
locations (that house was creepy and that meat locker owned…),
Mispel’s keen eye brought much weight to the movie. It helped set it
apart from the original and other films of its ilk.
a character level, the slew of inbred here were incredibly credible and
creepy. Props goes out to the makeup department and the casting people. I
bought it! Sure, they couldn’t spit-shine the original’s fucked up
family’s aprons, but they still came through in their own right.
Leatherface, in particular, was scary as hell once again. Thankfully
wasn’t too much of the mama’s boy shite here, the man was a butcher of
people, that was that on that. In my opinion, Bryniarski
is the first Leatherface actor that brought the compelling emotion of
"resentment" to the character. I felt that was his motivation when it came
to "why" he wanted to butcher these teens and that added a whole new
visceral layer to the proceedings. It's obvious that Bryniarski really sank his teeth into the part, I
heard he went full on "method" on set (oinking like a pig in a
corner) and it showed in his arresting performance. Physically, even his tacky
mask managed to work since it was always bathed in the shadows. And
here’s a little spoiler for ya; we actually see him
unmasked and no, he doesn’t cry like Michael Myers did in "Halloween
The unmasking revealed one grotesque and ugly mofo. Yeesh!
other favorite loony had to be the Sheriff played to a T by R. Lee Ermey.
The role brought lunacy in at its max and much appreciated dark comic
tones. Nobody does it like Ermey! Like NOBODY! Think his "Full Metal
Jacket" character but on acid. I half expected him to blurt out “There
is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or
greasers. Here, you are all equally worthless” at any moment. The
man ruled the scenery and gave the film a welcomed burst of morbid
pizzazz! Which brings me to
the film’s sole improvement on Hooper’s gem; its “hero” characters
were more developed and likeable than the ones found in the original with
Erica Leerhsen (Pepper), Jessica Biel (Erin) and Jonathan Tucker (Morgan)
being my favorites. No whiny bitch Franklin here!
got to care about everybody to some extent and their grisly fate therefore
the dull side of the saw blade, one of the film’s flaws was calling
itself a remake, a "re-imagining" or a cash cow, therefore begging to be
compared with the original. Some of the stuff that was found in Hooper’s
classic and repeated here wasn’t half as effective in comparison. The
hooking and the sledge hammer hit with the slamming of the door were
perfect examples of that. The flick also didn’t always choose the best
times to kill off-screen or not. There were two particular instances
here where two lead characters were killed off-screen and sadly, that’s
when the offing should’ve been shown for maximum effect.
While witnessing the off-screen shite, the words “cop out”
popped in my head. But the biggest drawback here was the last block of the
movie. The disturbing “dinner scene” found in the original was
replaced with an extended chase/stalk sequence that went on for too long.
Now although engrossing in itself, this third act fell into a more
predictable mold and in consequence, I started feeling safe while easily
guessing the chain of events to come. The finale just didn’t live up to
the balls-to-the-walls shenanigans that preceded it.
overall, this TCM 2003 mostly hit the spot. The film started off strong,
kept me riveted throughout and slightly lessened its grip on me with its
more “typical”, yet still enjoyable, conclusion. Don’t let the WB
casting and the remake tag fool ya. This is unrepentant horror and it’s
well made at that! THE SAW
Biel (Erin) gained new respect from me. Not only does the gal look great
in tight Jeans, but she also managed to reach emotional peaks that truly
surprised me. Jonathan Tucker (Morgan) was a delight as the straight
shooter hippie boy. His vulnerability when faced with Ermey totally wooed
me. Eric Balfour (Kemper) was all charisma as the too-kool-for-school
boyfriend. Arrow favorite Erica Leerhsen (Pepper) gave a sympathetic and
credible performance. I LOVE YA PEPPER! She’s hot to the bone too! Mike
Vogel (Andy) did what the part asked of him admirably.
Bryniarski (Leatherface) was quite an imposing and frightening figure as
Leatherface. I grooved on his mucho animalistic performance and the new
layers he brought to the character. R. Lee
Ermey (Sheriff Hoyt) was the bomb as per usual, motormouthing his crass
dialogue like the champ that he is. The man is always a hoot and his
presence brought so much to the film. Laura German (Hitchiker) did what
she had to do very well. That’s all I’ll say.
This buffet is
served hot with a lot of sauce. We get a bullet in the mouth, splattered
brains, chopped off arm, sawed off leg, a bludgeoning, a person slapped on
a hook, human remains, dead pigs, a bottle smashed in one’s face, a
sawed knee, a stomach stabbing and Harry Knowles', aka New Line’s Darling,
We get the
yummy Jessica Biel wearing a white see-through top that goes through cold,
rain and sprinklers (fun times). She also wore the best pair of butt
hugging Jeans ever set to screen. Now that’s an ass! We also get the
lovely Erika Leerhsen in some semi see-through stuff. I’m hip to that
jive Tacos! The ladies get a tanned Mike Vogel in a tank top.
gave the film a unique, highly stylized look and he surprisingly didn’t
lose the film’s edge in the process. Filled with creative angles (look
for the hitchhiker money shot), sumptuous cinematography (loved the house
and clouds) and well handled suspense scenes, this baby kicked all kinds
of horror ass and looked good while doing it. You pulled it off dude! Cheers to you!
One of the
biggest letdowns of the movie was its generic score that would’ve felt
more comfortable in an action movie than a horror piece. What a bore. We
also get the “Sweet Home
Distributor: New Line Home Entertainment
Release Date: March 30th, 2004
Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD discs will be
on the market soon. The first is a 2-disc
and the second is a more "bare bones"
single disc version. Here's my review of the
We get an 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen image.
We get an English Dolby Digital EX 5.1
Track- an English DTS ES Surround Track and an English Dolby 2.0 surround
track. We also get English/Spanish subtitles and an English Closed
DISC 1: Well, hot damn momma! They went
"all out" commentary-wise, slapping
everybody and their uncle's dead grandpa in there to talk shop. All three
commentaries provided a slew of information, insightful behind-the-scenes tales, statements as to everybody's intentions when it came to
making the film, the hardships of the down and dirty shoot, the actor's
take on their characters, ideas that didn't make the final product and
much, MUCH MORE! All three commentary tracks complemented each other where
they all covered different facets of the picture. Set a day aside to
listen to all three though...lots of juice to digest here. Here's who's
Audio Essay 2 - Technical:
Marcus Nispel (Director) - Daniel Pearl
(Cinematographer) - Greg Blair (Prod Design) - Scott Gallagher (Art
Director) - Trevor Jolly (Supervising sound Editor) - Steve Jablosky
Audio Essay 3- Story:
Marcus Nispel (Director) - Michael Bay (Producer)
-Scott Kosar (Screenwriter) - Andrew Form (Exec Prod) - Brad Fuller (Exec
Prod) - Jessica Biel (Erin) - Erica Leerhesen (Pepper) - Eric Balfour
(Kemper) - Jonathan Tucker (Morgan) - Nike Vogel (Andy) - Andrew
Severed Parts- Deleted Scenes (16 minutes):
Presented here are 7
deleted scenes that we can either play "all together" as a documentary
with director Marcus Nispel explaining why the scenes got cut or individually. Of the 7 scenes (most of them covering the Erin pregnancy
subplot which was cut out), my favs were "Alternate Suicide" (more
blood and chunks) and "Alternate Morgan Death" (fuck yeah....that's
how it should've looked in the theatrical cut). And wait till you see the
SE7EN-like "Alternate Ending". Although interesting from a fan point
of view, I'm happy they didn't got that way! A slick feature!
Here we get to see 3 screen tests: One from Jessica Biel (3 minutes)
who looks great as a blonde and screams like a champ, one from Eric Balfour (3 minutes) who
sold me via his screen test (the man is a
good actor) and one from the lovely Erica Leerhsen (45 seconds) who does a
"screaming" jamboree right there on the chair. I felt that shit! Good
Chainsaw Redux - Making a Massacre
documentary takes a look at the history behind the original TCM with
footage from said film in tow (where was Hooper though?) We then take a MUCHO in-depth look as to how the remake came about, got shot, went
through post and hit the theatres. We also get cast and crew interviews,
behind-the-scenes footage, early fan reaction to the idea of the remake
(funny stuff) and even Joe Bob Briggs pops up to provide his two cents! Of
all the features on this disc, this one was my favorite in terms of well
Two picture galleries: 1) Production
Concept Art by Scott Gallagher and 2) Leatherface Concept
art by Scott Stoddard (kool mask designs. Some are pretty freaky).
The Ghoul of Plainville (24 minutes): This little documentary
provides an interesting enough overview on the real life psycho, cannibal
nut Ed Gein who not
only inspired the character of Leatherface, but also Norman Bates and
Buffalo Bill. WARNING: We get to see lots of disgusting "real life" images
of Gein's work. Nice little segment!
Promotion: We get Michael
Bay's Original Teaser Trailer (the one set in in the dark), the
Original Theatrical Trailer, TV spots (7 of them), Motorgrater's Suffocate Music Video and More From New Line
showing trailers for: Highwaymen, The Butterfly Effect and more.
The Platinum Edition also
comes with DVD ROM Online
a way kool "metal plaque of the cover"
and an envelope containing groovy "crime scene photographs". All in all, if you loved the film, I highly recommend you get the
weighty double-disc edition...you'll get your money's worth and then some!
Good work New Line!
be honest, I still would rather that this movie didn’t exist. ENOUGH WITH
THE LAZY AND MONEY DRIVEN REMAKES! How about taking those skills and that
dough and applying them to original material? Or how about remaking
something that actually warrants to be remade in the first place? Like
Carpenter did with "The Thing"! Or Cronenberg did with "The
is going to the shitter with this recent remake spree. They have found a
new way to make some quick cash and stoop even lower. Who knew?
said that, drill me in the head with a power tool because I had a hoot
nanny with this Texas puppy. This new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie hit
hard, putting out what it should: brutality, high tension, heavy shocks
and an infectious dark tone. No, it didn’t kick my ass as much as the
original did (and still does), but it was still a fulfilling “Happy
Meal” on its own. My
advice, try to enjoy the movie for what it is; an effective, down and
dirty horror dish that should really be called "Texas Chainsaw Massacre
interviewed Michael Bay and he told me, if this one makes money, they’re
thinking of doing a “Prequel”.
meat plant is called Blair Meat Company. A nod to Blair Witch Project
Hooper and Kim Henkel had started working on the idea of a TCM remake
before Bay and company came aboard, locked the rights and took over.
Laroquette who narrated the original returns to narrate this one.
my interview with Leatherface here!
my interview with Jessica Biel here
my interview with Erica Leerhsen/Jonathan Tucker here
Read my interview with Michael Bay here
this movie on The Arrow's HORROR BOARD
back to the Arrow in the Head Homestead...
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