*** Official THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Matt Stone, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Jun 21, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Just got back from a showing, and I'm a lot more pleased than I thought I would be. I'm not going to go into a full review right now, but this is one of the few films that is able to pretty successfully recaputure the 70s exploitation film well. Not that this is as good as Last House, (the original) TCM, etc...but this remake is able to relentlessly throw scares and gore at the audience without too much humor or hope.

    Definitely not as good as the original, but far from a pointless remake.

  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Saw this last night. It was well shot, pretty unrelenting, and distasteful. Which is what I would expect from this film. There were some very effective scares in the film, and the audience was there the entire time. It was also gorier than I recall from the original, although they did avoid showing many of the actual deaths.

    If I could have asked for anything to be changed, I would have liked the house to be creepier. I recall that the original TCM had a much more effective set even given its budget. This one just has a constant water leakage problem and the only creepy things were made by the feral kid. Also, Leatherface goes deep into Jason territory with shrugging off life threatening wounds and teleportation. I never got that impression from the first film, which gave it more of a sick reality to it.

    If the younger folks wanted to have a sadistic horror film, this one would fit the bill quite well.
  3. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

    Feb 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I saw it last night and enjoyed it.

    Jessica Biel
    [​IMG] - for being so hot.
  4. Rhett_Y

    Rhett_Y Screenwriter

    May 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Yup I saw it last night too. I freaking loved it. Great suspense...... My wife (not a big horror fan, dragged her to the movie) had to get up and walk out of the theater at one point in the movie.

    When the blond head dude gets part of his leg cut off and thrown up on the meat hook. Then he had the salt put on the open wound of the leg. She didn't like that part to much....

    All and all A great flick and I will be surely picking up the dvd.

    I can see where some of the scenes were influenced by the original TCM.

    Good stuff, go out and see it on the big screen. In fact I am taking mom to go see it on sunday, she is a big horror fan!

  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  6. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

    Aug 31, 2003
    Likes Received:
    The deck was stacked against this movie in quite a number of ways: The producer was Michael Bay, director of empty, soulless popcorn action flicks, more known for his resistance to holding a shot for more than a tenth of a second and his eagerness to rotate the camera 5 times in that tenth. The director is first-timer Marcus Nispel, making his step from the gloss and sheen of MTV to the big screen. The movie being updated is often hailed as a low-budget horror classic, a 16mm dose of cinematic psychosis, gritty, low-lit and relentlessly creepy--that is, when it's not jolting the living hell out of you.

    With Bay and Nispel representing the exact OPPOSITE of that 16mm grittiness, and with Jessica Biel (From the WB's bible-thumping slice of sanctimonious shit, Seventh Heaven) headlining as the damsel in distress, the chances of this movie doing justice to the concept of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was slim to none.

    But surprise of surprises, the team of Bay and Nispel don't completely wreck this thing. I am damning the film with faint praise--it's a decent horror movie, and if it were called anything but "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" I'm sure it'd be recieved a little better. But the truth is that most of the eerie weirdness just oozing off the celluloid in the original is nowhere to be found this time out. The cinematography by Daniel Pearl is doing it's best to evoke a sweaty, summer feel, and the film has no shortage of real "boo" moments throughout, thanks to some wise editing choices by Glen Scantlebury. There are moments of black, intentional humor that hit the right unsettling but funny notes. And for horror gore-hounds, a couple Leatherface kills will whet your bloody palate, especially the scene in the meat locker and the chase through the clotheslines. As a straight ahead, connect the dots type of horror movie, moving from kill to kill because that's what horror movies are "supposed" to do, it acquits itself just fine.

    But not a single character is really likeable. Nispel and screenwriter Scott Kosar really try, especially Eric Balfour's character of Kemper, Biel's boyfriend. But the only character that makes any sort of real impression is the Sherriff, played with the kind of profane nastiness we've all come to know and love from R.Lee Ermey (Seven, Full Metal Jacket). Unfortunately, since he's wholly and totally evil, that's not a good thing. They even try to make Leatherface more of an actual character instead of a big lumbering butcher, and that fails just as badly.

    And Nispel's directing doesn't help all that much. Either because of Bay or just because he shares the same stylistic leanings as Bay does, "Chainsaw" is chock full of the same kind of near-incoherent rapid cutting and extreme close-ups filled with rapid panning and blurry handhelds that make a fair amount of the action semi-unintelligible. Unlike this years earlier entries into the horror genre, "28 Days Later" and "Cabin Fever," the movie can't maintain it's tension. Too often the skin crawling moments are allowed to dissipate into thin air.

    And once again, if this was just a regular horror movie, that wouldn't be bad. But this is "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the unrelenting tension and dreamlike weirdness is what made the jolting violence and scary moments even more frightening and suggestive. This version has substituted a lot of that with an unrelenting sadism, complete with more grisly kills and down-pat "Boo!" scares, including orchestral stings and false scares caused by a sidekick wise-ass. Don't get me wrong--it's a decent horror flick, especially in comparison to what studios usually churn out to us and call horror anymore. But as a re-interpretation of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it doesn't quite work. It's not that they changed the details and the scenarios--it's that the tone and creepy feel of the original didn't make the transition. If you've never seen the original or can forget it's influence and feel, then chances are you'll fully enjoy this bloody little piece of nastiness. But otherwise, you might want to wait until rental or avoid this altogether.
  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
    Likes Received:
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of 5

    Marcus Nispel's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre marks the second time this year (after Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean) in which derisive and dismissive snorts of "Why even bother?" would promptly and resoundingly be replaced with that most glorious of compliments: "It's ten times better than the film had any right to be." And though the remake is a grim, gloomy and gory great time - it doesn't pose any threat to Tobe Hooper's original film and its well-earned classification of "Grade-A Classic"; the fact that the revisit is a damn solid film in its own right is cause enough for astonished celebration.

    Few things could strike terror into the hearts of the Hardcore Horror Freaks of the World like the phrase "Michael Bay to produce Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake", but there it was, just a few short months ago, screaming from the top link of every well-read movie site. Fans of the immortal original film (and c'mon; who isn't?) found themselves agonizing over the project...while still holding out a little hope that the improbable could happen. And indeed it has.

    Because Nispel's version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a bona-fide gore-storm, a dark, dank and altogether delicious reminder that not all studio-distributed horror flicks are totally lacking in balls. There may be a more fervent purist than myself when it comes to the Modern Classics of American Horror...but I've yet to meet him. And when someone quite passionate about the Horror Movie tells you that an admittedly unnecessary remake of one of the finest genre films EVER MADE is actually pretty damn good...it means that a lot of us skeptics are about to eat some big-time crow.

    And have a ball while doing it.

    Deviating here and there from its celebrated source material while forging its own blood-soaked ground, the new TCM is quite simply one of the finest horror flicks of the year. And in a year that offered titles like Cabin Fever, May, 28 Days Later and Bubba Ho-tep...well that's some high praise indeed. Against all odds, it seems that the filmmakers accomplished everything they set out to do.

    There's an obvious respect shown for Hooper's seminal film, though Nispel, Bay and company plow ahead confidently creating their own movie. Comparisons between the two will be inevitable but there's no denying that there's some real craftsmanship involved in the new one.

    There's also a refreshing lack of that oh-so-ironic and self-referential tone that's been so prevalent since Wes Craven's Scream blew up big time...an attitude that only seems to work about 10% of the time its been exploited. Much like its predecessor, this TCM is a DARK affair, laden with shadowy, unsettling visions and a palpable sense of foreboding doom. There are lots of entertaining horror movies out there, but maintaining a 'palpable sense of foreboding doom' is a pretty tough thing to pull off. Expects lotsa chills, jolts, shivers, the occasional patch of goose bumps, and a handful of "Ew yuk" moments...as sort of the icing on the cake.

    To those perhaps unfamiliar with the dance steps covered in the TCM movies, here's brief primer:

    Several young people end up where they ought'nt be and run afoul of a rabid family of cannibal butcher lunatics. It's so beautiful in its simplicity that the concept's been done approximately 2,400 times in the last 30-some years.

    Horror Freaks of the World may wonder what makes this remake any different from the trio of sequels that followed Hooper's, and the answer is quite simply this: quality filmmakers. Sure, there's some campy good fun to be found in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986), Leatherface (1990) or TCM: The Next Generation (1994) but the goods come in very small doses (particularly in the case of the truly awful 1994 version) due to subpar filmmakers working with the lowest of aspirations. The sequels are not much more than vague Xeroxes, garish follow-ups that try to ape the original's most iconic moments (the dinner scene, the meat hook, Leatherface's wacky dance o' death, etc.) without offering much of anything new or inventive.

    This year's version uses Hooper's film as a jumping-off point, referring to its inspiration in short, effective doses. And if you're fully determined to remake a film adored all over the planet, it's probably a smart move to avoid blatant plagiarism.

    Screenwriter Scott Kosar seems to know which TCM touchstones we most admire and doles them out sparingly, while affording his version an impressive array of divergences. Gone are a few of the extended "family" members; added are a few tragically effective character shadings. Jettisoned was the infamous "dinner table" sequence, while in its place are presented a few new fantastic chase sequences. While Tobe Hooper's original was presented in a gloriously stark documentary-style presentation, Nispel's update is awash in slick blacks and silvers; it's a wet, dripping, clanging nightmare come to life with a visual style that approaches mad genius.

    A common thread between both films: fantastic performances from generally unknown actors. Though not much can approach Marilyn Burns' shriek-laden performance from 1974, the criminally beautiful Jessica Biel acquits herself exceptionally well here. Though her striking good looks are what intially draw us to Biel's "Erin", it's the gal's off-kilter smirk, her plucky tomboyism and her mother-hen presence that forces us to CARE about what happens to her.

    And let's just say a lot of bad things happen to her.

    Whereas in most slasher-type flicks we WANT the amazingly obnoxious characters to get sliced up in terribly gory fashion, here we have five Average Joe teenagers. (OK, maybe Average Joe doesn't have cheekbones like these kids do, but we're talking character here.) So it's essentially a simple formula: give us characters we LIKE and the horror is therefore amplified. And for us to like a character, they need to be well-conceived (Kosar relies less on stereotype and more on believability) and well-portrayed. Biel's quartet of co-stars (Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour and Erica Leerhsen) are absolutely strong across the board, the horror flick equivalent of a baseball player hitting five homers in one game.

    Sure, this one's not much more than a particularly polished addition to the age-old Slasher Genre, but every film deserves to be judged on its own specific merits. Nispel's Chainsaw is a bold, boisterous, bloody good time - and any old-school Horror Freak able to get over the "How dare they?!?" attitude should absolutely find a lot to enjoy here.
  8. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese
    Based on its own merits, this TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is very close to being irredeemable junk. While the performaces of the kids are pretty good, the adults don't fare as well, particularly R. Lee Ermey's sheriff.

    Every moment of "horror" is telegraphed with annoyingly inept musical stings. And since they've (unwisely) decided to up the gore level, what genius thought it smart to hide it with ridiculous fast cutting? Another fatal error - the showing of Leatherface without his mask. And where are the cannibalism and supernatural aspects? The first 10 or 15 minutes were okay, but the rest bogged down into standard run-and-hide formula.

    But what was sorely missed was the unrelenting feeling of dread that the first film delivers (and that no horror film has delivered since). That sense of dread is nowhere to be found in this remake - they didn't even try.

    0 stars out of 4 - don't see it.
  9. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

    Feb 7, 2000
    Likes Received:
    San Antonio
    Real Name:
    Henry Carmona
    Beautiful post! You mirror my feelings exactly!

    This was a great movie, sure there are some things i would have liked to have seen differnt, but isnt that the case with any remake?

    Im seeing this baby again [​IMG]
  10. kyle-sm

    kyle-sm Agent

    Oct 9, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I loved this movie because it was completely rediculous.
  11. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This movie lacks everything that made the original a lasting achievement... which is why it may please most moviegoers. It has a lot of jolting moments, creepy scenes, and disturbing images. Today's young audiences demand immediate satisfaction, and need the thrills to be over the top, shocking, and brutal. The new TCM skips right over any attempt at subtext, meaning, and other film student favorites... and gets right to the empty scares. It is a wholly useless film, with no real innovations or surprises. Judged on its own merit, and assuming the original did not exist, this movie would still be a piece of trash.

    Whats good about it?

    The cinematography. ( the man who lensed the original, Daniel Pearl is the man to credit)

    Lee Ermey, for creating a character not taken from the original, and being far scarier than Leaherface.

    All the performance seem to be giving it their all, no one stands out as distractingly bad.

    Everything else in the film is terrible.

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) 1 out of 5
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973) 5 out of 5

Share This Page