Remaketober 2017 Week 2: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In the last 2 years we have lost so many iconic and influential people from every aspect of entertainment, from film, to music to literature, that some of them began to run together a tiny bit. I don't think that's totally fair to some of the people who passed on who may have helped inspire hundreds of people, to say nothing of some who helped kickstart entire subgenres. So while I wanted to address It for my first week of Remaketober (partially to spare me having to write it its own review) for the rest of the month, I'm going to be addressing movies by some dearly departed horror icons.

When I say the title of this movie, I feel like it's a title people who don't know movies don't take super seriously, and I understand that. The title is a silly one, evoking the schlocky movies titles of its era that were so ubiquitous that they were eventually spoofed in a movie written by Rita Mae Brown. So when I say that this movie is one worth taking seriously, I occasionally get odd looks.

Still, when you actually sit down to watch this movie, its always surprising how restrained it is. Not that the content isn't grim and horrifying, but its not the blood splattered gore fest that the title evokes in your mind. The amount of blood is bordering on nonexistent, kept mostly in cutaways and off screen, but it gets its point across nonetheless.

Honestly, while the title grabs your attention, the thing that sticks with you about this movie is the pervading sense of dread and horror that saturates every frame. Even before the actual violence begins,  it manages to give you the sense that something isn't right. Once the violence actually does begin, it's so intense that by the time the film rolls into its legendary finale, the horrifying ending is almost a relief. Sure, that final image will haunt your nightmares, but at least you survived the movie.

It's not a perfect film, occasionally reflecting its low budget and on-set learning curve, but the energy and intensity are enough to overcome how cheap it was and its occasional weak pacing. It's a real low budget success story, a shining example to anyone who ever wanted to become a filmmaker but doesn't have the money to pull a Tommy Wiseau. And it's definitely a timeless sort of movie that in no way needed a remake.


I f**king HATE this movie. I hate every worthless second of it. Everything that was good about the original, every interesting idea it had in its head, every unique stylistic choice, everything that made the original movie noteworthy and worthwhile is stripped down to an utterly generic slasher flick. The only notable things about it are how sadistic it is and by extension that it was one of the films that helped kickstart the torture porn wave that enveloped and devoured the horror genre for over half a decade.

It's actually kind of ironic: With its dark visuals and gleeful embrace of gore and torture porn, this film has a lot more in common with the silly movies which it title resembles than the original. It has a couple of reasonably effective sequences, but honestly, there's very little that's worth discussing about this film.

The script is weak and lifeless, with one dimensional characters and all the subtly and interest from the original drained in favor of turning Leatherface into a Jason knockoff. Most of its direction is similarly awful; director Marcus Nispel being a reasonably successful music video director before this movie (and it shows, since the movie is moving way too fast and scaring you way too little) but would go on after this film to direct some of the worst movies of the 2000s such as 2007's Pathfinder, 2011's Conan and 2009's Friday the 13th...stay tuned.

There's more I could probably summon to say about this awful awful movie, from its terrible acting to its somehow even worse prequel but honestly, I've been done with spending time and energy on it. And to be even more honest, given that they're making another goddamn Saw movie, I'm worried that giving this movie too much attention will cause the torture porn wave to come back. So I'm just going to quietly end this review and move on.

Elessar is a 27 year old Alaskan-born, Connecticut-based, cinephile with an obsession with The Room and a god complex.