28th May2013

‘Texas Chainsaw (3D)’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Paul Rae, Richard Riehle, Bill Moseley | Written by Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan | Directed by John Luessenhop

Texas-Chainsaw-3D

After Platinum Dunes’ remake and a badly-received prequel to said remake, Texas Chainsaw (3D) goes back to where it all began. Picking up directly where Tobe Hooper’s classic 1974 movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ended, this direct sequel shows the aftermath of the first film as the townspeople, discovering their suspicions about the Sawyer’s are true, show the family the meaning of mob justice – burning their house of horrors to the ground and killing every last member of the family – or so they thought.

Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. After embarking on a road trip with friends to uncover her roots, she finds she is the sole owner of a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her new-found wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion’s dank cellars…

If I’m honest, the idea of another entry in the long-running TCM franchise filled me with dread. I did enjoy the remake but the prequel left me feeling a little cold. Plus the notion that this was a direct sequel was, frankly, ludicrous. However upon seeing the film all that changed… Opening with footage from the 1974 film, Texas Chainsaw essentially rewrites Hooper’s original sequel and all that followed out of existence, including my personal favourite and the only sequel helmed by Hopper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (although to be honest I also loved Leatherface: TCM3). Thankfully the film does so in the best way possible – by being a damn good movie!

It’s obvious that this film, unlike the recent Platinum Dunes efforts, was made by people who actually cared for the franchise and I have my suspicions just who was responsible for the films various homages and nods to the original film: one of Texas Chainsaw‘s co-writers, Adam Marcus. Probably a name that not many people will recognise, however Marcus was, for me, one of the biggest “names” of my teenage years – after all he was the guy that that wrote and directed Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, which was one of the key movies of my youth and tapped into my love of slasher movies whilst bringing a whole new mythos to the much-maligned Friday the 13th franchise. Plus you couldn’t escape interviews with Marcus in the likes of Gorezone, Fangoria and The Dark Side – way back when we read magazines for horror news, not scour the web.

What always stood out about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise was its villain. Like all good horror villains Leatherface was an indiscriminate killer but there was always something different about him and Texas Chainsaw makes the most of his differences, Taking this tale away from the “psycho killer with a chainsaw” status it had in the intervening years between Hooper’s original and today, and moving it back to the idea of family with Leatherface, named Jed in this film, being looked after by the only other living member of the Sawyer clan, Verna Carson (played by TCM’s original star Marilyn Burns). The idea of family is key to the films conclusion too, setting Texas Chainsaw up for what could be an interesting sequel, putting the Sawyer family as the centre of the film rather than their victims, which could (hopefully) take the franchise in a whole new direction – one I’d gladly pay to see.

The blu-ray of Texas Chainsaw (3D) is packed with special features, including 3 audio commentaries: one with director Luessenhop and Leatherface actor Yeager; one with producers Tobe Hooper and Carl Mazzocone; and one with “Chainsaw Alumni” Moseley, Hansen, Burns and John Dugan. There are seven behind-the-scenes featurettes: Texas Chainsaw Legacy; Resurrecting The Saw; The Old Homestead; Casting Terror; Leatherface 2013; Lights, Camera, massacre; and It’s In The Meat; an Alternative Opening; and On Set Short Subjects: Five Minute Massacres, which consists of six behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The buzz is most definitely back! Texas Chainsaw (3D) is out now on DVD an Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

***** 5/5

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