HTF UMD REVIEW: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    [c]The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (UMD)
    Region 1 • R • Dolby Digital • Available Now

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    While the movie may be crap, the UMD is very good and rounds out a solid first wave of titles New Line produced. (Warning: some strong language/details ahead).

    Thoughts on the Movie

    As you know, I’m having to catch up to the horror genre. Prior to the PSP I don’t think I had ever seen a single horror movie, with the only real reason being is that I really didn’t feel the urge to visit the genre (Western is another example).

    Horror movies, when at their best, can really evoke a sense of dread and edge of your seat thrills. At their worst, they can throw up some scares on the screen (BAM! CLANG! AHH! Oh wait, it’s just a cat.) for some cheap scares. And at their very, very worst, they can be depressing and almost psychotic.

    Movies, in general, can nearly get away with anything if the underlying material can justify it. Consider Saw, a movie I disliked but not for its violence or gore, but for its immense plot holes and extremely cheap ending. The way one of the characters escapes his chains with a hacksaw was very brutal and almost disgusting, but the movie earned the payoff since it had led up to the two characters finally going crazy at the end. Imagine if we had met the characters for five minutes before going to the hacksaw... it wouldn’t have been nearly as intense, and would have ended up being a sick display of human survival since we couldn’t relate to this person we just met. But we still would have had empathy since the guy was inflicting pain on himself, and because he had no other real choice. Now imagine if we saw someone using a hacksaw on someone else, who are both relative strangers to the audience. This isn’t horror, it’s...nothing. It’s absolutely nothing that is still both disgusting and demonic, because what exists on the screen isn’t anything BUT the idea of two people hacking and slicing their way to bone, since the plot of the movie doesn’t bother to supply reason to something that is desperately needed.

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a horrible piece of shit movie. I fucking hated this film, and wanted to throw my PSP at the wall several times while watching it. Fuck this movie and everyone that was involved in making it.

    Let’s back up to the beginning of the story. We get an old grainy newsreel that tells us how the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an unsolved cold case, and that some poor teenagers died at the hands of “Leatherface,” the killer. Flash backwards to the summer of seventy-four. We see some teenagers (one of them being Jessica Biel, and no points for guessing which of the five teens survive, if any at all) swimming in the river, and five seconds later they're in a van travlin’ down a country road. Part of any good horror movie is the nudity, or even a quick bikini show, but the movie wants to press onwards to the killin and doesn’t bother with anything else but a far shot of the lake...which leads to the question, why bother with the lake at all? Boggles the mind.

    They travel down the road and nearly run over a girl that looks a bit younger than the rest of them (she looks around fifteen, but is very shaken and pale). They take her as she babbles mindlessly not making any sense, warning of some kind of danger. We notice that the inside of her thighs are torn, and then she pulls a gun out of her vagina and sticks it in her mouth, and blows her brains all over the van. I am serious. She pulled a gun out of her fucking vagina. I shit you not.

    The kids start to panic and go to an old gas station to use the phone. The sheriff tells them to meet them at an old windmill. The sheriff eventually gets there (but not before the teenagers separate) and gloats how he loves feelin’ up the young dead teens before shoving them in the trunk of his cruiser.

    Biel and some random guy, meanwhile, get to an old (seemingly) abandoned house. Long story short, Biel goes in to use the phone, random guy goes in later, Biel is the only one to walk out. The guy’s head was smashed by “Leatherface” and was taken downstairs where we see lots of torture equipment.

    Leatherface exists only in the fantasy realm of movies. He would be another Jason, another Freddy Krueger, but the movie is determined to let us know that yes, these events really did take place, and there really was a Leatherface that killed random people (reality check: none of this happened in real life). Now all of that is key in building a great horrific character, but the movie doesn’t supply him with any motive. At all. At the very least, Jason killed because (I think) he was teased at camp and drowned there, and wants revenge. Every major villain wants revenge, but not Leatherface, who we find out in three seconds of character building that he had a skin disease and is shy. Because of this, he makes masks out of the faces of dead bodies and wears them. Because he never goes outside the house, the need for a mask in the first place is idiotic, but nevermind.

    If that were merely it, if that all we see is a quick kill by Leatherface, I would have somewhat accepted it. But he goes on not to kill more people, but to torture them in front of us. One innocent guy gets his leg chopped off, and we see him getting carried downstairs while he tries to grab onto something, breaking his fingernails completely off. Later we see him on the floor, looking at the ground, as he has lost all hope. Leatherface grabs him and shatters & pierces his tailbone with a hook on the ceiling, allowing him to hang in midair as he screams. Then his bloody stump is packed with what looks like salt and paper is tied to the stump to prevent the salt from falling. Much later we see him, still alive, as he asks Biel to finish him off, but not before Biel tries to help him off the hook with no luck, causing him more suffering. Finally a knife is inserted in his stomach, allowing him to die not at the hands of Leatherface, but Biel.

    There are more killings. One guy gets his genitals mutilated and completely torn up, offscreen (but is in the deleted scenes if you want to see a bit more). Random people act unnaturally, with no purpose other than to look really calm during extremely tense and unnerving events, so as to scare us a bit more, I guess.

    Don’t read further if for some reason you want to see this fucking ridiculous movie. Biel ends up being chased by Leatherface for the remaining fifteen minutes. She is wearing a thin white wifebeater as she is chased into a meat plant, and into a freezing meat locker. Then Leatherface decided to turn on the emergency sprinklers, for no other reason than to get Biel nice and cold and wet while she runs for her life. Biel gets the upperhand and surprises Leatherface as she hacks at his arm with a knife. His arm is severed, and he lies helplessly as his chainsaw goes with his arm. And what does Biel do? Run. She fucking runs away so we can get a cheap scare later in the movie (and so that the movie can end with, “They never found Leatherface...”)

    That’s basically it. The entire movie. This movie exists only to provide an audience with some cheap thrills at the theater so your date can clench you real tight and cuddle, but watching it without any audience, anyone at all, is to reveal the hollow, empty movie that it is.


    Video Quality

    Awkward transition time...done! The movie is meant to look gloomy and dank, so the colors don’t exactly leap out. That said, the black levels are not very good (much like the National Treasure UMD) and appear grey. The video is very sharp though, and the details come out strong. But for a dark movie set mostly in dark areas to have grayish black levels is enough to dampen this otherwise nice transfer.

    3/5
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    Audio Quality

    The audio comes in nice and loud, and sounds good. The chainsaw is the loudest thing in the movie, as it should be, and while it doesn’t sound quite as good as some other New Line releases, it gets the job done quite well.

    4/5
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    Extras

    We get quite a few extras, so lets go first to Severed Parts- Deleted Scenes (16:41). These can be played individually or as a documentary by a producer, which is nice. The menus also look fitting for the movie, and the chapter selection looks great.

    One of the big surprises of this UMD is the inclusion of three commentaries! You get full length commentaries entitled Audio Essay, Technical Essay and Production Essay with all of them having more than five participants at once, though it sounds like they were all recorded separately at times. You also get some trailers for other New Line movies.

    This movie hardly deserves all the bonus stuff it gets, but it all rounds out to a technically great UMD.

    5/5
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    Overall…

    Putting my personal opinions aside on this movie, I can say the UMD is done well, and fans of the movie will be pleased with the three commentaries which should keep them busy for quite some time. Too bad the video isn’t up to par like the other New Line releases were...

    4/5
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  2. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Hey Dave.. tell us how you really feel...[​IMG]
     
  3. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

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    Ill hold back from now on, I promise. [​IMG]
     

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