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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
by Garon Cockrell
Diagramming a Massacre – A Review of Texas Chainsaw 3D and Where it Fits in the Chronology.
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By Garon Cockrell
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Texas

Chainsaw 3D
bills itself as a direct sequel to the original 1974 The Texas

Chain Saw Massacre
. As this is the seventh film in the series that can be a

very confusing claim.
The Texas Chainsaw

Massacre
already has an official sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, released in 1986 and even

directed by the writer/director of the original, Tobe Hooper. Next the

franchise rights went to New Line who released
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. Despite the subtitle,

this film ignores the events of the second film and places itself as an

‘unofficial’ follow up to TCM. After that came
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, finally released by

Columbia pictures after sitting on a shelf for years. Allegedly, it was only distributed

to cash in on the appearances of Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, who

were becoming famous at the time. Again part 4 disavowed the existence of parts

2 and 3, bringing the count of direct follow-ups to the first film to three.








      The

reboot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

and its own prequel, The Texas Chainsaw

Massacre: the Beginning
can be completely discounted because they recreate

an entirely new chronology, borrowing elements from the original. Both these

films were produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. After The Beginning grossed less than half the amount of its predecessor;

PD announced that they would not produce a third sequel. Finally, the franchise

rights were purchased by Lionsgate (the house of Saw) who now bring us direct

sequel number four.<>






      This

time the filmmakers have taken the term direct sequel literally; picking up

moments after TCM left off with the police showing up at the Sawyer farm. The

house, the yard, and almost every other physical detail are painstakingly

recreated. The Sawyers have called in more kin with shotguns and a standoff ensues.

Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface in the original, has a cameo as Boss

Sawyer and Bill Moseley (Choptop Sawyer from TCM part 2) fills in for the

deceased Jim Siedow as the cook Drayton Sawyer. This piece of recasting is the

first slightly jarring moment of the film because it feels like a reenactment in

an episode of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’; something is not quite right, but

unsettlingly familiar. <>










          



     The

standoff is settled by an angry mob of locals who start shooting and then burn

the Sawyer house to the ground; killing everyone inside except for baby girl Heather,

who is abducted/adopted by two of the angry locals. Flash forward to 2012,

Heather is now grown and only becomes aware she was adopted when her biological

grandmother (who knew she was abducted but made no effort to retrieve her) dies

and leaves her a huge mansion in Texas. This is where the film comes up against

its first major problem. The movie begins in 1974 – it is now 2012, Heather

should be at least 38. The actress playing her is 26 and they dress her and all

her friends in the movie like they’re 21 (a personal pet peeve with modern

American horror films – all her friends are models). The film seems to be

hoping very hard that no one will do the math and even goes so far as to try

and cover the problem up. Newspaper headlines appear onscreen with the date of

the original massacre and deliberately cut the year out of frame.<>










      



          Heather

gathers her boyfriend and two other friends to drive to the Texas

mansion and rediscover her roots. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker (also a model in label clothes) and decide to take him along, all the way to their destination. Once there it turns out that her inheritance includes her cousin, Leatherface, who has been living in

grandmother’s basement for decades. In spite of his past troubles, Grandma has allowed Leatherface to keep his arsenal of chainsaws, hooks, and other assorted cutlery. Once Leatherface appears, the movie begins

to crib liberally from the earlier films. The main group travels in a microbus

meant to echo the van in the first film, the first two kills take place by the

exact methods and order as in the original, and there’s even a ‘face peeling

while still alive’ ala what happened to L.G. in TCM part 2. The plot then

shifts from slasher to family feud drama as Heather learns that the Mayor led

the shootout that killed her family and Leatherface is recast as her protector.

The film tries very hard to show his noble side but it’s an ill-fitting mask

for an infamous chainsaw murderer.
















        



        The bottom

line is that in spite of the assertion that this is a direct sequel, Texas Chainsaw 3D is part 7 in the

series. If you’re a horror lover that has stuck by horror series as they got past

about part 4; you know what you’re signing up for. I’m a big fan of the series

(the great lenticular poster really had me looking forward to this movie) and Texas Chainsaw 3D is far from the worst

sequel, but unfortunately its silly moments and unaddressed logic gaps largely

spoil the terror. Casual horror fans will find a few good 3D moments with a

chainsaw, but not much else in the way of gore or scares to hold their

attention. <>






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