*** Official THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ChrisConklin, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. ChrisConklin

    ChrisConklin Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw a sneak preview last night at my university so decided to do a little write up. I have to say that i never saw the original so watching this movie was the first that i got of this story. Despite how loud the crowd was (laughing and screaming at moments that were good, but not particularly THAT funny or scary) i enjoyed myself but couldn't get totally envelloped in the movie, thus wasn't as scared as i should have been if the theater was quiet. Jessica Biel looks awesome and they (purposely i'm sure) have her in a white tank top throught the movie and throw in some rain and puddles for good measure. The rest of the teenagers are good actors and very quickly did i start to relate to them and care about them. Although set in the 70's they are still dressed in clothes that could be considered hip nowadays and some scenes you forget this was based over 20 years ago. The sound is awesome, the chainsaw is loud and gets a lot of screentime, this will make a great reference DVD. There are some good surprises littered throughout the entire movie and definately lot of shocks. The actor who plays the cop turned a good movie into a great movie in my opinion (i won't say his name, since it was a nice surprise to recognize who it was since its hard to make out in the trailer). Bottom line, go see this movie when it comes out. I saw it for free but definately would justify paying to see it, I will definately be buying the DVD for multiple viewings. Overall score, A-/B+.
     
  2. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    I didn't even know they were remaking this. Although it sounds good from your review, the original is such a classic it seems strange to even try to remake it. Remember the remake of Psycho? A totally pointless exercise, doomed from the start.
     
  3. ChrisConklin

    ChrisConklin Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah it comes out on the 17th, some ads are playing on TV. And from what i've heard they carried on the concept and changed that plot some so it shouldn't be considered an exact remake at all (ala Psycho).
     
  4. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Since the film is four days away, I decided to reply here. Well, that, and the fact that I'm REALLY fucking excited! [​IMG] When I first heard about this remake, I admit I was pretty pissed, as the original is pure perfection in my eyes. After seeing the trailer a few months back, I quickly changed my views, as this film looks like its going to be truly fantastic! The trailer had a great use of sound, the film looks beautifully shot, and all of the scenes shown in the trailer look intense and outstanding. I also love Ermey in anything he's in, and I'm growing to like Biel more and more as well. I'm all over this when it opens! I have a damn good feeling that this is gonna join the elite of horror remakes come Friday!
     
  5. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    I was pretty livid, too, when news broke last year of this remake, even more troubling that Michael Bay was attached. After all, the original was one of the most unnerving, terrifying films ever made.

    Upon a screening last night, I'm thrilled to report those fears have been laid to rest. Is it as good as the original Chainsaw? Of course not, but the filmmakers have smartly avoided trying to mimic the original and come up with their own bag of tricks. Sure, there are some nods to the original and the general concept is same, but this 'Saw is a totally different movie. Fans will recognize that the filmmakers have employed Daniel Pearl, who also photographed the first film. The movie looks beautiful and on occasion, the color palette actually looks like it may have been shot in 1974.

    Plotwise, the similarities stop after the kids pick up the hitch-hiker. The film then veers off in a totally different set of circumstances, where we meet a plethora of new and different characters to the TCM mythology. As Chris mentioned, a popular character actor appears as the ornery sheriff, who may or may not be part of the deranged family.

    Is it as scary as the original? That's more subjective. Some moviegoers obviously frighten more easily, but this version works on a different level of intensity. The original had more of an more in-your-face, shred-your-nerves, nightmarish feel. The new one goes for a more conventional cat-and-mouse, psycho-stalker type of third-act. There's nothing inherently wrong with that and it does work to great effect. Audiences will be pleased that the title weapon does get plenty of screen time. Make no mistake, this is a nasty little movie and folks die horribly.

    I can tell you this: it's a hell of lot better than the unwatchable Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which rightfully has been banished to the $5.88 DVD bin at Wal-Mart.

    I still prefer the raw, more primitive original, but this 'Saw will rank as one of the better horror remakes in history. Treat yourself and reward New Line for not screwing it up, go check it out when it opens this weekend.
     
  6. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    "the filmmakers have smartly avoided trying to mimic the original and come up with their own bag of tricks."

    Very smart, indeed. That is the only valid reason to re-make a classic in the first place IMO - to capture something of the spirit of the original while adding something new or updated to it.
     
  7. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    When I first heard about a Texas Chainsaw remake, my mind was flooded with horrible images of the movies of the past several years. Gus Van Zant’s horrid attempt at a revisit of “Psycho,” or the lame entries of “13 Ghost” or “House on Haunted Hill,” it made me wonder if there was nothing sacred in the horror genre any longer. The continued ripping off of the past in order for companies to make either color updates, a hot teen cast, or simply make money off the new generation sickened me. My goodness, after all, these films are classics!

    Now…first off, I am not that big of a fan of Tobe Hooper’s original TCM. It isn’t the film itself, but the hype that has surrounded the film. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 28 years old that I saw the film and honestly I was stumped as to why people were scared of this movie. Over time though, I have come to be able to appreciate it for what it is and what it helped cause…the horror explosion of the seventies.

    So…what did the new version of the film what was going to be rewarding to me? After all, though Leatherface is a horror Icon, he was never in the top five slashers, or maybe even top ten for me. The director first off meant little me as well. In fact, Michael Bay in my eyes is pretty much a worthless director with some of the least appealing films in recent memory to his credit. So…without expecting much, I went to last night’s sneak preview.

    From the get go, this film never let’s up! While adopting a beginning style reminiscent of “The Blair Witch Project,” the film proceeds to introduce a new batch of teenager’s to mayhem. From this point on, forget about everything that you know about the original film. Forget about a wheelchair bound pain in the ass relative. Forget about the “Family” the way that you think that you know it. Forget about the Leatherface that you have known to come to love.

    As for the cast in this film, they all do a wonderful job and bit more time is spent on providing a relationship between the members than in the original film. The only drawback in this is that they all look just a little two perfect. The main female not only acts effectively but looks wonderful as well and provides a lot to look at (sorry guys, no nudity in this movie so you will have to use your brain a little bit). The other female lead is played by the Wicca chick from “Book of Shadows.” The guys do wonderful job as well with the material (though I do have to admit that at any given moment I was hoping that it could have turned into a 70’s gay porn flick). The supporting cast is not only effective but wonderful unnerving and delve into their roles with much relish.

    None of these are bad things. In fact, they are very refreshing. While holding on to the simplicity of the original story, this new ‘chapter’ in horror history brings a fresh new twist and style. All in all, it is a fun movie that provides the scares the scares and jolts and (deliciously) one of the most unforgivable mean-spirited films to come along in a while. Newline did a wonderful job with this film and will make lot money off this…it is one of the best remakes and honestly one of the best horror films of the year. This though doesn’t make it perfect…

    Spoilers....

    1)In the re-inventing of Leatherface, they have provided a back-story that he has a skin condition and is basically mentally ill. Missing, which I feel added much dimension to the original film, was that Leatherface was somewhat at the mercy of his family. Though he enjoyed the killing, he was much like a child trapped in a man’s body and seeking other’s approval. In this modern day Leatherface, he is simply an angry motherfucker that likes to cut people up.


    2)Except for the use of an 8-Track tape player, I never believed for a moment that these ‘kids’ were out of 1973 Texas. In fact, with today’s retro fashions, the costume designer was able to sleep through this. The town itself, again, didn’t make me feel like it was really 1973 but simply a money stricken town that didn’t have much going for it. The time element of the film is really immaterial other than to contribute that it was ‘based on a true story (NOT)’ and really not needed. The only thing that truly separates it time wise is the lack of a cell phone or two.


    3)Though it is an old cliché’ in the genre of putting ‘smart people in bad situations,’ you do wonder just how smart these people truly are. For one, after the first death and they are awaiting the sheriff to come to their aid, they are told that they are going to have to wait two hours for him to get to there current location. They won’t wait and decide to drive to where they believe he is, but these people that are simply traveling through town and have no idea where the hell they are, are able to get there with no problem at all. Granted, this is a small complaint, but it seems that people that are able to have built in compasses should at least be able to have a built in bullshit detector.


    4)The overall approach of the film is make it look as if it is 1973, but at the same time, it is simply too glossy and polished to really fool you in to believing that the setting is real. The sets and design are wonderful, chaotic and dark, but the way that it is filmed robs it of truly absorbing you into the abyss. The first films beauty and majesty are that that it looks raw and rough and nothing at all fancy…this is why it is so unnerving and effective. Today’s film making style, at least for me, can’t match up and this is a problem with director Michael Bay.
     
  8. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Still working on my review, but it also gets a big [​IMG] from me. And I was one of the biggest skeptics out there!

    I'm a huge HUGE fan of the original, and I'm telling you horror freaks that you'll probably have a great time with the remake.
     
  9. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    Damn you guys have made me excited. I was also very worried about the remake, especially with Bay attached to the project. I'm glad to hear they've managed to pull this off. Can't wait to go see it.[​IMG]
     
  10. Kenneth English

    Kenneth English Second Unit

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  11. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I'm not surprised that he didn't like it. I am a bit taken aback by exactly how MUCH he didn't like it. I mean, heck, this guy has seen Wrong Turn, right? House of 1,000 Corpses? Jeepers Creepers 2?

    And THIS horror flick earns zero stars? Odd.

    Oh well, I sure dug it. [​IMG]
     
  12. Kenneth English

    Kenneth English Second Unit

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  13. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Ebert's review seems like more of a knee-jerk reaction(he speaks of the movie as if it's the most unpleasant film ever made). He mentions in this review and in the past that he likes some horror films, but I've always sensed more contempt from him towards the genre than anything else.

    I was prepared to hate it because I expected another crappy remake. I thought it was solid from beginning to end and as ballsy as a studio film can be these days. I'm not comparing this film to Hitchcock at all, but Alfred once said "Make the audience suffer as much as possible." I think this is part of what Ebert doesn't understand about this type of horror film.
     
  14. Marc_Savoie

    Marc_Savoie Stunt Coordinator

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    Fun review from Ebert, but not nearly as classic as his rant against I Spit on Your Grave (one I totally agree with).
    That said, I've always found Ebert to be a big supporter of fresh, original, and quality horror films.
    A sample:

    Psycho:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/greatmovies/psycho.html

    Jacob's Ladder:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...11/575313.html

    The Blair Witch Project:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...07/071603.html

    Don't Look Now:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/greatmovies/dontlooknow.html

    The Exorcist:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...09/092202.html

    Candyman:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...10/783479.html

    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...09/566963.html

    May:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...06/060604.html

    Bram Stoker's Dracula:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...11/789012.html

    Re-Animator:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi.../10/20748.html

    28 Days Later:
    http://suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_revi...06/062706.html

    And I wholeheartedly agree with his constant gushing for Dawn of the Dead (no online review found though, same for Halloween, Rosemary's Baby, Texas Chainsaw Massacre [original] and others I know he dug).
     
  15. Jean-Michel

    Jean-Michel Supporting Actor

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    Did the Sun-Times accidentally publish Michael Medved's review or something?
     
  16. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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  17. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I got to see TCM at an early screening last week. Here is my copied review:

    Well guys…I saw it. Thanks to working for the university paper, I was able to score two tickets to an advance screening. I’ll save the suspense, and say right off the bat that this is a very good film. The audience was actually frightened, and there are some brilliantly staged scenes, full of unpredictability and fine craftsmanship. It is good stuff…a solid hour and a half of relentless suspense, very much in the manner of the original. Go and see it, it is a wonderful horror effort; the perfect Halloween treat. That is my kind, one minute summary…


    Now, I’ll talk about it here in more detail, with spoilers appropriately marked. Right from the opening narration by John Larroquette, the movie is able to settle into the 70’s “this is what really happened” scene quite nicely. The crime scene footage further helps establish the vintage feel that surrounds the entire film. With cinematography by the criminally underrated Daniel Pearl, this movie is both a great tip-of-the-hat to the original as well as a masterful experience on its own. There is one virtuoso shot so great that it betters any shot from the original. The scene is after the girl shoots herself in the mouth. The camera starts off with reaction shots from the front of the van, and then pulls back to reveal the rest of the group, moving through the girl’s open head wound, and through the gunshot hole in the van window. It pulls back still to reveal the imposing rural landscape that will eventually victimize the group.
    It is a shot unlike any other, and it works perfectly as the pivot that takes the film from relaxed to gravely serious. This shot sets up the horror that is to come.

    Pearl’s cinematography has plenty of reference to the original, but thankfully keeps it fresh with a style of its own. The first was great in all of its gritty realism, this time though it is more a stylized expressionism. The high contrast photography and the light that protrudes from the ample amounts of fog is constantly beautiful and ominous all at once. I spend so much time talking about it because it is really the best part of the movie.

    There are of course plenty of other solid elements. Jessica Biel does a great job replacing Marilyn Burns, in fact, she may even one up the original’s performance. The rest of the cast are likable but ultimately disposable; they get the job done, but they are merely caricatures and lack the development of the characters in the original. R. Lee Ermey, god bless his soul, takes his role fruitfully over-the-top, and has a lot of fun being the most despicable character of the new millennium. It isn’t in the league of the family members of the original, but in its own right it is great camp.

    And how can I talk about the cast without mentioning ol’ Leatherface. Well…he has a name in this one, and a tortured past (boo hoo) but he just doesn’t compare to Gunnar. Yeah, his grunts and hulking stature are creepy, but unfortunately the primal squeals that made the Hansen’s performance so unsettling are gone this time around. He is no different than Jason or Michael…just a silent force of evil. He is creepy, sure, the scene where he wears Kemper’s face is downright shocking,
    but he lacks the tortured intensity of Gunnar Hansen’s original performance. He serves the film fine, but fans of the original (who isn’t?) will feel as if it is incomplete.

    Moving on, the story is quite a bit different than the original. I say this more as a compliment though. It stays along the same lines of the original throughout, but it deviates in several ways, making the film seem both familiar and fresh at the same time. There are a few additions that do nothing but bulk up the plot, but some alterations work very well. (like the new hitchhiker scene)
    A few HORRIBLE clichés slip their way into this otherwise original film, and I am not going to bother spoilering them, because you will see them coming a mile away. There is the “it was only a cat” scare, this time with a marmot, and then the false scare, where the jokester pretends he is in trouble when he really isn’t. These scenes are an insult to our intelligence, and momentarily take the viewer out of the story.

    The film as a whole is good storytelling. The cinematography is commendable, the acting solid and the story constructed so there is never a dull moment. There is never enough time to look at your watch, nor does the movie ever make you want to look at your watch, because it is constructed as pure entertainment. But paradoxically, that is where the film falters the most.

    It is not a complaint singular to this film, it is one lodged to all remakes these days. Remakes these days deserve kudos for their ability to stylishly tell a familiar tale. So much time is spent meticulously constructing the look and feel of these films, that the final product is as tasty as candy…but at the same time it is just as empty.

    What makes the original film one of the best horror-hell, best films of all time, are the statements it says beneath the surface. It is a product of a disillusioned 70’s America, and not only does it look at the problems of mechanization, unemployment and depression in rural areas, it also contrasts the traditional family unit with the hippies of a newer age. There is so much being said in the original film, it is politically conscious and socially relevant with all of its social commentary. There is none in this remake. The same can be said for WILLARD. It is great entertainment…but where is the depth?

    In our seemingly sound world, where society is presented as politically correct and perfect, there is no need for commentary in Hollywood films these days. These remakes serve as wonderful pastiche for the previous films, but on their own they have little to say other than “are you entertained?” Yes, I was…but I wanted more. This is not particularly a fault of the film, but again of the film world we live in today. Modern audiences today do not need to engage in thought like they did in the 70’s. It is all about delivering meticulously staged scares and jolts, rather than about looking at life. Seventies horror films, at their best, were able to really look at the problems of contemporary society. In today’s world we act as if we have no problems, and the Hollywood machine reflects that by failing to engage beyond the surface of its subject matter. It is shallow, but it is just what we want, so how can you knock a film for delivering what we ask it to?

    THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003) is a solid horror film, constructed with care by everyone involved. The cinematography and narration calls back to the original film, but there are enough deviations to keep fans happy and on the edge of their seat. But those who remember the original as a dramatically rich film, with all of its social commentary, will be left disappointed. The motivation behind making this film is not to consider the situation in a 70’s America, but it is instead to recreate the nerve-racking intensity of the original. The movie succeeds amiably in delivering the chills and the violent fun, but just doesn’t have the depth to make it any more than a fun Halloween treat. Eat it up while it is playing in theatres, it is a great experience…but be sure to brush your teeth with a repeat viewing of the original afterwards.

    8/10
     
  18. FredK

    FredK Second Unit

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    . He mentions how he has only seen PHANTASM IV (and that he did not like it), yet the review for PHANTASM 2 is on his site, and in that review he states he saw the original. Either he is lying out his teeth,

    He mentions there are 4 movies, 3 he hasn't seen and the 4th he didn't like. He never states which of the 4 he saw. His use of "fourth" was a bad choice by him.

    Just came back from seeing it and I've already forgetten it. Very cliche and not very entertaining.

    [​IMG]
    Won't buy the DVD.
     
  19. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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  20. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I just got back from seeing this mess and I'm sad I threw my money away. I'll be the first to admit I am not a huge horror fan. I think most horror films are not scary but rather silly. Thus is the new TCM. I thought that maybe it was just me. Maybe I'm just biased aginst horror flicks (of most recent I really hated 28 Days Later). But at the end of this new TCM I turned to my horror geek firends to see what they thought. Possibly they saw something I didn't. As I looked back I saw the faces of three dissatisfied horror fans. Now these are the guy who like all hooror. If you mention horror be prepared for a 15 min. talk on whatever film is being disscussed. There are far too many problems with this flick and it just wasn't scary. My advice, see it when it goes the the cheep 2nd run theater so you only have to pay like $1.50 at the most.

    **1/2 out of *****
     

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