Editor’s Notes: Texas Chainsaw 3D will be released on Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD combo pack tomorrow, May 12th.
At the risk of starting off with too grand a statement, Texas Chainsaw 3D is a truly rare filmic anomaly. However, let us be clear that this assertion does not reflect in any way on the film’s merits as a horror movie or even as an overly competent movie… Cause it’s pretty much meritless. What’s fascinating is that in 2003 the chainsaw franchise was already been “rebooted”; in fact, the reimagining of the original Chainsaw marked the beginning of the whole cataclysmic wave of horror remakes. Texas Chainsaw 3D goes back to the original 1974 classic and purports to be a direct sequel that is in no way associated with the remake. It’s kind of a satisfying feeling, like we get to discard the ungrateful, unwanted child and get back to the root of the terror. The last sentence would prove infinitely more satisfying if the film in question could have lived up to it, but unfortunately the buzz is not back.
Texas Chainsaw 3D goes back to the original 1974 classic and purports to be a direct sequel that is in no way associated with the remake.
The film has an awkward, sometimes bizarrely fascinating aura about it. From the wardrobe to the art direction to the casting, nothing fits together. Elements float in and out of frame in such a clashingly clumsy way that it’s all too often inappropriately funny. But funny is better than boring. Take for instance Texas Chainsaw 4: Next Generation, which is always watchable because of its absolute disregard for anything serious, and compared to Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw III, which tries to be scary and fails, resulting in a steaming heap of boring.
The cast members look like they were given two options in front of them: they could have either been in Texas Chainsaw 3D or Step up 6: Dancing Fixes Everything… which is also in 3D. The young actors serve as a discernible contradiction with the gritty realism of the first film. Poster people in belly tops just don’t seem like your average relatable young adults anymore. To add to the overtly sexual absurdity of it all, no one seems to be able to keep the buttons on their tissue paper shirts. It’s maybe a strange phenomenon to focus on, but in such a meandry film, every little detail has a chance to become a major plot point. Plot point one: a muscle bound man gets hit by a car in the rain, so his buttons pop open. Plot point two: a woman is running, so her buttons pop open. Plot point three: a woman gets tied up, so her buttons pop open. These may or may not have been key moments in the story structure, I can’t tell.
This time around, there’s a new element brought to the table and at times you’ll even find yourself rooting for this flesh-wearing fetishist. And why shouldn’t you? He’s just misunderstood. If you chainsaw him, does he not bleed?
Aside from the ridiculousness of The Texas Button Massacre, and looking past all the other truly silly moments in this wannabe horror throwback, the film does manage one interesting addition to the mythology. As an icon of the macabre, Leatherface has always been strong in eliciting fear, but not sympathy. He’s less like Boris Karloff’s immortalized Monster in Frankenstein and more like Bela Lugosi’s deeply demented Dracula. This time around, there’s a new element brought to the table and at times you’ll even find yourself rooting for this flesh-wearing fetishist. And why shouldn’t you? He’s just misunderstood. If you chainsaw him, does he not bleed?
There are some decent jolts and gore gags that try desperately to keep the predictable mayhem lively, but their influence is fleeting. The inescapable doldrums of familiarity derail any promises for something truly frightening. Perhaps the most engaging part of this installment is the opening credits, which showcases artfully treated shots from the original film with a 3D popup book kind of effect. That part was neat… I guess.
- * Audio Commentaries with irector John Luessenhop and Actor Dan Yeager, Producer Carl Mazzocone and Filmmaker Tobe Hooper, and Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns and John Dugan.
- * Texas Chainsaw Legacy
- * Resurrecting the Saw
- * The Old Homestead
- * Casting Terror
- * Leatherface 2013
- * Lights, Camera, Massacre
- * It’s In the Meat
- * On Set Short Subjects: Five Minute Massacres
[notification type=”star”]35/100 ~ AWFUL. There are some decent jolts and gore gags that try desperately to keep the predictable mayhem lively, but their influence is fleeting. The inescapable doldrums of familiarity derail any promises for something truly frightening.[/notification]