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Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake

 
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davidltamarin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:28 pm    Post subject: Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake Reply with quote

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (remake)

Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Unlike recent mainstream horror re-makes like House On Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a truly horrific film, in every sense of the word. R. Lee Ermey’s vile psychopathic character is more menacing than a computer generated ghost. The horror here is for real, the pain is visceral, the violence intense. Although it may be impossible to make Tobe Hooper’s original film better, this film manages to shock, frighten, repulse, and horrify. We see real pain on the character’s faces as we see them hanging from meathooks in their backs, wishing for death over the agony of the torture and insanity. The events are so terrifying that the film becomes epic in its depiction of tragedy. With House of 1,000 Corpses, this film has resurrected violence, sadism, the bizarre, the morbid and the perverse in horror films. And it’s really funny, in a demented way.
As with the original, the remake begins with John Laroquette narrating a terrifying tale, as we hear menacing violin-like death sounds and witness images of death with freakshow appeal in the blazing Texas desert. In a Blair Witch Project –inspired sequence, we see a police “walk-in” of the macabre house of death, revealing disturbing images of items made from bone, mutilated dolls, creepy things in jars, and an unexpected little surprise (for an example of a grueseome real life police walk-in check out the extra feature on the Wonderland DVD, a true film about a porno massacre with lots of crack cocaine).
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a variation of the prototypical 70s horror film, where a group of young stoners or a family get lost on the road and encounter some terrifying family of demented, cannibalistic sadists living in the woods or the desert. Here, the protagonists pick up a disturbed woman walking in the middle of the road after they almost run her down (there is a similar scene in Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher). She rants some strange warnings and predictions of doom. In a twist of Freudian black humor, she pulls a hidden gun out from between her legs, and blows a gigantic hole in her head. The kids don’t know what to do so they ditch their 2 pounds of Mexican bud (a terrifying event for this viewer) and try to contact the police via the locals. But the locals are a little odd. And when a sheriff does finally show up, he is one of the most frightening characters in recent screen history, a violent sleazy foul mouthed drunken psychotic played by R. Lee Ermey in his best role since Full Metal Jacket (although his performance in another re-make, Willard, as the boss from hell was also classic).
Things start to go extremely wrong. Ermey is as evil as the typical L.A. cop but even more psychotic, as unique and twisted as The Hitch-hiker in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the incredible Chop-Top (Bill Mosley) in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. I don’t want to spoil all the fun so all I will say is that the kids are forced to spend a lot of up close time with the Corpse, which becomes the major prop in a hilariously depraved scene that showcases both the film’s horror and its black humor. As the group splits up and some go roaming around the desert, all hell breaks loose. The House of Leatherface turns into another living hell for its chained and abused captives, who degenerate very painfully into dead victims.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is absolutely horrifying. When Leatherface grabs a victim, pulls him into the butcher room and slams the door shut, I was terrified beyond belief. When I saw the film as a child I was scared and shocked, even traumatized. Few films have had such an impact on horror’s history, and it rightly deserves its place as one of the top horror films ever. I had very high expectations for the re-make and was pleasantly surprised that the film lived up to my expectations.
Judged on its own, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is an incredible horror film, not afraid to show real gore and suffering unlike many mainstream Hollywood horror films where the gore is always comic-book style and easy to watch, visually appealing and computer generated. This movie is hard to watch and very unpleasant. You can almost smell all those rotting body parts, and it is a bad smell. You can see the inner gristle of the head of the suicide victim and observe plenty of demonic children’s toys and sculptures and buckets of organs and blood and limbs. A terrific environment of fear and unease pervades every shot.
Like House of 1,000 Corpses and Wrong Turn, the film successfully marks a return to the 70s style horror of films like The Hills Have Hills, the original Massacre, and Deliverance. This new trend has continued with the Dawn of the Dead remake, which is at times shocking and gruesome, although it is quite different from the original (this time the zombies act like they are on methamphetamines and attack like werewolves, not slow, bumbling idiots). The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake has a suffocating feeling of menace, unease and paranoia at all times. With the recent releases on DVD of many rare and out of print horror films (including many giallo classics), a return to extreme gore in modern (especially Asian) cinema, Kill Bill, and the promise of a sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses, fans of extreme horror and subversive cinema have much to celebrate. I cannot wait until I can see another film that makes me feel as sick, horrified, amused and entertained as did The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. If they make Leatherface vs. some CGI Monster, I am confident Leatherface will win.

By David L Tamarin
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice review, David...

Thanks for posting a thought-provoking, well-written piece.

Official "kudos" are due...

Cheers!

Oh, and by the way, I agree with you, for the most part. While I think the remake is a bit unecessary, it's still a fairly effective standalone film, and it made many, many viewers watch (or re-watch, as it were) the original...which still stands as one of the most important films (horror or otherwise) of all time.

Now, if all remakes were as (essentially) faithful to their source material as this, we'd be fine...alas, it ain't meant to be...

Keep 'em coming, people! This is the kind of thing I really like to see from my members!
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