Awfully Good: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Director: Kim Henkel
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, Tonie Perensky
Four teenagers heading home after prom crash their car and seek help from the wrong family.
If you've heard of 1994's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION it's probably because it serendipitously stars a young Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. While it's fun seeing the two thoroughly embarrass themselves on the brink of Hollywood stardom, the film—the third sequel in the franchise and last before the 2003 reboot—actually still has some redeeming qualities. It's entertaining in an "out there" way and one of the funnier (intentional or unintentional?) horror movies we've seen in this column. It's bad but I can almost appreciate what they were going for.
Another satisfied fan of GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST.
Do you enjoy the non-romantic comedy side of Matthew McConaughey (think KILLER JOE and FRAILTY)? Good, then you'll dig him here. As the villain Vilmer Slaughter (yep!), the Texas actor is a blast—overacting constantly with random bug eyes and insane screaming. He does remove his shirt once, but only long enough to sadomasochisticly cut himself with a knife. Renee Zellweger, on the other hand, is pretty much what you expect: terrible. Her acting is god-awful (her "Oh God!" reaction to seeing her murdered friends reads more like she smelled a fart), but at least her character is written in an interesting albeit stupid way. Zellweger's Jenny is not your typical horror heroine. She's got an air of extraordinarily dumb confidence about her, one that leads her to constantly argue and complain to her captors, to the point where she actually says, "I'm leaving and there's nothing you can do about it!" To the guy with the chainsaw.
And yes, she constantly emotes by pretending she's sucking on a lemon. Even when she's getting zapped a cattle prod. .
The "boys have penises, girls have vaginas" kid from KINDERGARTEN COP hadn't changed much since elementary school.
It should be clear that this is not your typical TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE movie. I'd venture that THE NEXT GENERATION is more of a dark comedy, one about the world's most absurd and dysfunctional family. There's so much random, funny stuff that it just has to be intentional. One of the villains is a country redneck who's constantly quoting Voltaire and Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson. Another kidnaps a girl, sticks her in the back of her car and stops to pick up a pizza at a drive-thru—and then proceeds to open the trunk next to a cop and a children's soccer team. And then there's the fearsome Leatherface, a classic horror character who spends the entire movie screaming and crying like a girl and dressing in drag.
Leatherface or Rosie O'Donnell? You decide.
But nothing is funnier/sadder than the tale of Heather, the best friend of Renee Zellweger's character. The movie opens with her discovering her boyfriend cheating on her at their prom. She drives away upset and crashes their car. Her and her boyfriend go looking for help as he preaches about why it's her fault he's banging other girls. Then Leatherface shows up to beat Heather and stuff her in a fridge. After a few minutes he takes her out…and then hangs her on a meat hook. She somehow escapes and drags herself outside to the middle of the road. Eventually a nice lady comes and promises to help Heather, except she's a bad guy too and, in the funniest scene in the movie, proceeds to gently beat her with a tiny stick. She takes her back to the house where Matthew McConaughey introduces himself and bites her face. He takes the unconscious Heather to the dinner table where she sleeps peacefully. During the meal, McConaughey randomly wakes Heather up by dousing her with lighter fluid and setting her on fire. She runs head first in to the wall and collapses. But she's still alive, folks! So McConaughey decides the best thing to do would be to just step on Heather's head until she finally dies.
They have to know this is so ridiculous it's funny, right? Right?!
Gary was about to find out that the Fashion Police were very real and that they don't take prisoners alive.
THE NEXT GENERATION is a sequel, but it's also part remake, recreating some of the original's most famous scenes along the way. However, the film quickly diverges from its predecessor (and most other normal films) when it introduces the world's most RANDOM CONSPIRACY SUBPLOT. It's suggested early on that Vilmer works for "the people who run the world" and killed JFK and that his girlfriend Darla is just there because she has a bomb implanted in her head. Obviously this is just the insane ramblings of a crazed serial killer. That is until "Mr. Rothman" shows up in his limo and sends the movie in to batsh*t territory. Rothman is a seemingly normal business man, until he opens his suit and reveals strange piercings and Illuminati symbols scarred on to his stomach. He apologizes to Renee Zellweger, explaining that the Slaughter family isn't doing their job properly. Apparently they're just supposed to scare people so they "know the meaning of horror" but not actually kill them. He then licks her face and leaves.
To be fair, he was right to assume her face tasted like a Sour Patch Kid.
Renee Zellweger then conveniently notices that Matthew McConaughey has a weird, unexplained electric leg. She grabs the remote control and causes him to hilariously lose control of his extremities long enough for her to run away. When he finally fixes the device, McConaughey throws his hands up in celebration and victoriously announces, "Vilmer, get that bitch! Go!" By this time, Zellweger has made it to the main road, where she's spotted by an old couple in an RV. They pick the poor girl up, while the old lady says the immortal line, "There's a monster chasing her with a chainsaw. Step on it, Mr. Spodish!" However, Mr. Spodish is no match for Matthew McConaughey, who crashes in to them and flips the RV over. He's then about to finally chase and kill Zellweger when, out of nowhere, a small plane flies low and slices off his face with its propeller. <-- Yes, that really happened. Zellweger is picked up by Mr. Rothman who again apologizes for McConaughey's behavior and takes credit for disposing of him via aviation assassin. He then drops her off at the nearest hospital, so she can live "happily ever after" knowing the government hires psychopaths to scare people in to having "spiritual experiences" and uses airplanes to kill them.
People who hate Matthew McConaughey and are good at Photoshop, this is my gift to you.
I don't know what's worse, the script or Renee Zellweger's acting.
The best of Matthew McConaughey and the best of Sissy Leatherface.
A random flashing from VARSITY BLUES teacher/stripper Tonie Perensky.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Leatherface screams wildly or acts like a girl
- Heather lives
- Matthew McConaughey cuts himself
- Matthew McConaughey can't control his legs
- A bad guy quotes a philosopher or great thinker
- Someone licks Renee Zellweger's face
- Somebody dies because they run in a straight line
- Matthew McConaughey says, "Alright, alright alright."