"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Vern massacres the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE!

Hey folks, Harry here… Well let’s see… Mr Beaks and I both liked THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but Quint and now Vern didn’t like it… with Vern more or less striking with out and out hatred and venom. This is exactly what will happen to you if you carry the original in the theater with you. So, if you’re expecting the experience of the first film… I suggest renting the first film. If you want to see a “STUDIO VERSION” of this story, then check this film out, but I only suggest going if you’re open to that.

Meanwhile… here ya go, for all you monkeys that have been saying that TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was 100% based on Ed Gein… take a look at this LINK!!! See, we’ve got crazy psycho killers from Travis County!!!

Harold & the boys,

I bet Harry and some of the others out there agree with me that Mr. Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is not only a great horror picture, but one of the all time greats of American independent Cinema. A real hall of famer. Well if so you’ll remember that crazy old drunk in the cemetery at the beginning. “You laugh at an old man.” The kids are asking around about which bodies got dug up and the old man tries to warn them away from this godforsaken shit hole out there in Harryland.

Well today I am that old man leaning up against the tombstone, warning you against the worst type of dumb movie: the kind of dumb movie that is a remake of perfect movie.

The Texas Chainsaw MassacreWhen I first heard Michael Bay was producing a remake of ‘SAW I just about had a heart attack. Even back when Tobe Hooper wanted to do one I thought that was a bad idea. But this sounded like the worst possible combination of bad filmatist and good movie. Then I heard that Daniel Pearl was returning as cinematographer, and that crazy drill sergeant fuck with the big eyebrows, R. Lee Ermey, was in it. I started think damn, I almost want to see this movie. Then all the reviews started to appear on, you know, popular Austin-based movie web sights that will remain nameless to protect their reputations. These were positive reviews, sometimes by smart people, often people claiming to be fans of the original masterpiece. And I started to get more curious. What if they really did it? What if they overcame the odds and made a good or okay remake, like THE THING or THE FLY or THE BLOB or even NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 1990? Hell, I was dead set against THE RING AMERICAN STYLE but I ended up liking it alot.

Well, this ain’t fuckin that. This ain’t even on the level of PLANET OF THE APES.

(Attention people who read movie reviews before seeing the movie and then are surprised that the review discussed things that happened in the movie. Don’t read this one.*)

I won’t exaggerate. This isn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It doesn’t have that supercrack editing style you think of when you sadly find yourself thinking about Michael Bay. In some ways it’s better than TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION. The acting is better and the ending’s not quite that dumb. This one’s more like part 3. There are a couple of sicko lines and ideas that you like intellectually, but it feels contrived, like it’s trying to be a CHAIN SAW movie, not like it actually IS one.

I guess the premise here is that the original masterpiece is a fictionalized account of an actual event, and this moronic remake is the real deal. Trouble is the real TCSM feels real, and the remake feels like any other phoney baloney movie. These are horror movie characters who do the type of stupid shit that horror movie characters do. They don’t just make a couple mistakes and run into trouble. They repeatedly wander around in and break into scary looking places where they obviously shouldn’t go, especially after just watching a girl rant about someone trying to kill her and then blow her own head off.

They open up things and fuck with strangers and run right into spooky, foggy abandoned slaughterhouses while being chased. They trust people they obviously shouldn’t. They are very gullible about proper police procedures. They see dead bodies and almost get sick, but never actually do get sick. They have to pee but the bathroom’s too gross, so apparently they hold it for the rest of the movie. They pick up jars of pee and look at them but never realize hey, that’s a jar of pee. They get punished for smoking pot and making out, like teens always do in all those ’70s horror movies EXCEPT Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

This is a movie where if you hide in a closet, 5 squeaky rats will appear out of nowhere to give away your location. Where a small meat cleaver can easily cut through bone. Where a girl can be terrorized all day long and keep her shirt tied up to expose her cute little belly button the whole time. But don’t worry, babies won’t be harmed and inbred kids will turn out to be nice in the end.

I always liked how the original started out on a sweltering day, continued into the night, and ended with the sun coming up again in the morning. It felt like you were really in that ordeal all night. This one starts on a hot day with Michael Bay style fetishistic shots of kids covered in a glistening layer of sweat, and ends on a pouring down rain Dark and Stormy Night like you see in the movies. One of those Texas summer floods, I guess.

This is also the type of movie where Jessica Biel backs up against a wall and Leatherface’s arms tear through the wood behind her and grab her. I guess they must be setting up a LEATHERFACE VS. JASON because Jason’s gonna be pissed when he sees Leatherface ripping off his shit. (Does Jason go to movies? I guess maybe not.)

I mean, this isn’t ‘SAW, this is just a movie. They try to copy some of the ambient score of the original, but still when there’s an emotional moment or something your typical orchestra music pipes in to tell you how to feel. Thanks.

If Michael Bay and that guy who was fired from END OF DAYS really are fans of ‘SAW, well… they sure have a funny way of showing it. Actually, what I should say is they must not’ve seen it since they were kids. We all heard how Bay said this would be less gorey than the (not gorey at all) original, and of course it turns out to be far gorier. (Don’t see it for that, though, it’s nowhere near as disgusting as part 2.) But more importantly, most of the elements that make the real movie so great are left out of the remake and not replaced with anything that could make up for losing them. You don’t just put Leatherface and some body parts in a movie and have yourself a Texas Chain Saw picture. Have you even seen the movie?

Okay, here’s a quiz then. Who’s the best character in TCSM?

Well duh, the hitchhiker. But there’s no hitchhiker in the remake, not an Edwin Neal type anyway.

What is the best scene in TCSM?

Well, if it’s not the hitchhiker, obviously it’s the dinner scene. Not in the remake at all.

Can you believe that? It’s like remaking STAR WARS without that round space station thing blowin up at the end. Or NORTH BY NORTHWEST without the cropduster.

There’s also no Grandpa. No creepy news report on the radio. No graveyard scene. No graverobbing at all. No speech about the slaughterhouse (“That was better. They died better that way.”) No onscreen meat eating. Not a lot of bones, just a couple attached to dolls by a little boy. There’s no Cook. R. Lee Ermey plays a similar role, but doesn’t get as much screen time as Jim Siedow did.

There are no scenes where family members yell at each other. In fact, hardly any interaction between the family members at all. TCSM isn’t about Leatherface, it’s about a family of maniacs, but this remake keeps them all separate until a little part at the end, like you don’t assume they’re in it together. R. Lee, the only memorable new character, doesn’t even interact with Leatherface.

They do have the metal door slamming, and the butt shot of course, and Leatherface cutting his leg. They kind of got the saw twirling at the end. And they definitely remembered the meat hook. They keep going back to it like, oh, I know what’ll get ’em. The meat hook. Let’s go back to the meat hook again.

Leatherface is okay. He mostly looks better than the last two sequels. Just to be safe they keep him in the shadows most of the movie, so he kind of looks like the real Leatherface from some angles. You know, like how Will Smith really looked like Ali when they showed him from the back.

But then he has this one mask that’s got evil eyes on it, you know, like a creased brow. I guess Leatherface must’ve cut off an evil guy’s face when he was making evil eyes at him. I bet that guy deserved to get his face cut off, he looked pretty evil, man.

Oh yeah, but get this. He takes the mask off! He really does. He has a messed up face with no nose, and later they say he had a rare skin disease and everyone picked on him so that’s why he wears people’s faces. I don’t know if it was a Michael Jackson reference or not. But I do know for sure it was, you know, totally fuckin stupid. This screening was attended by a whole new generation of dumb horror fans (like you saw at the friday the 13th sequels in the ’80s) who yell YEEEAAAH!!! for every act of violence against any character. But even some of these guys groaned when the mask came off. I talked to one guy who said that turned him against the movie.

There are a couple good ideas in the movie. There’s a part where a gal has to help an amputee up after he falls dumping his piss bottle down the john. That’s an uncomfortable situation you don’t see in movies alot. Also R. Lee Ermey has a couple good lines and a scene where he forces a guy to sit in a blood spot where the girl killed herself and put the same gun in his mouth. Instead of a girl on a meathook its a dude that already got one leg cut off, and he sticks around for a while and tries to pull himself off. I was thinking okay, maybe he’ll escape and hop around on one foot for a while, that might be funny. But no, he stays hooked. I wasn’t really rooting for the guy anyway because who gives a shit about that character. It’s almost like they don’t want you to like most of the cast, because all but two of them want to just dump the suicide girl’s body on the side of the road before they even talk to the police. Not that the kids in the original were your best friends (especially Franklin) but they didn’t go out of their way to make them all into selfish assholes.

It was cool that they got John Laroquette to do the narration again, but I didn’t like what they did with it. The narration starts out the same as in the real ‘SAW but over crime scene shots supposedly taken by the police. He talks about the police files as if this whole movie is taken from what’s written in the files. Then of course by the end of the movie you know that the police didn’t find out that any of this stuff happened, so what’s the deal with the police files?

At the end they pin the murders on some name like “Thomas Newton, also known as… LEATHERFACE!” But come on, Laroquette. How do you know that? Nobody called him Leatherface in the whole movie. To WHO is he also known as Leatherface? Just us?

And one more thing Laroquette. Didn’t you think that deal with the SPOOOOOKY scratched up black and white footage was lame? It’s supposed to be police taking footage of the crime scene. I did like how they showed scratches and a clump of hair on the wall, and you had to wait to see where that came from. The dumb part is they go back to the footage again at the very end of the movie. Suddenly, Leatherface pops up and grabs the cop and they freeze on a blurry frame of the Leatherface mask. The only known image of him, blah blah blah.

Yeah, that’s exactly what we need. Remake a 30 year old classic and end it with a lift from the fucking BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

Why did you let them do it, Laroquette? You fuckin blew it, dude.

Listen up all you fuckers out there who might some day make a TEXAS CHAIN SAW movie. There are many reasons why part 2 is the only chainsaw sequel that anybody likes very much. And it has nothing to do with Leatherface. Forget about fucking Leatherface! Part 2 has a different Leatherface, with a mask by Tom Savini. He’s a little more retarded and sexually confused, so you kind of feel sorry for him. But they have Jim Siedow back as the cook, and they let him loose. “This town loves prime meat.” The hitchhiker died in part 1, but they brought in his brother Chop Top (back from Vietnam) played brilliantly by Bill Moseley. This is a very funny, completely insane character who talks about music while he picks pieces of skin off his head wound with a coat hanger and snacks on them. “Leatherface, you bitch hog, you ruined my Sonny Bono wig!” These are the characters that make a ‘Saw picture. Matthew McConaghey didn’t cut it, and not even Viggo Mortensen did. R. Lee almost cuts it but he’s only a cook, he needs a hitchhiker or a Chop Top at his side.

Come to think of it R. Lee doesn’t have as much dimension to his character as the cook did. That guy was brutal like R. Lee but he seemed kind of conflicted about it. He ties up Sally and puts her in a bag, and as he drives her to the house he keeps apologizing and jabbing her with a broom handle. Then he complains about his electric bill. R. Lee’s character is funny-scary-sick, but he’s still not as interesting.

I know some of you kids in the talkbacks will say who cares, I want to see Jessica Biel’s titties. Well if that’s the case read Maxim, asshole. You don’t even have to be 18 to buy it I don’t think. If you like softcore porn of actresses from tv shows, then fine. What’s next, remake TAXI DRIVER with the gal from Alias? Have some fuckin respect. Remake a Shannon Tweed movie or something.

Please, I know you kids have seen the positive reviews on the internet, but don’t listen to that shit. If the internet gave a good review of jumping off a bridge, would you do it?

This looks like shit, it walks like shit and it is in fact, you know… walking shit, I guess. If you feel like watching THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, it just got re-released on dvd. Check it out. This remake is not the same thing. When Jessica Biel cried, “I just want to go home,” I thought – “You and me both, lady.”

New Line, it’s not too late to shelve this fucker. Let’s pretend this never happened. All will be forgiven.

By the way, I know Michael Bay also wants to remake OMEGA MAN, and that other asshole is doing DAWN OF THE DEAD. Tell you what, I’ll save you the trouble of having to figure out all my favorite movies so you can piss all over them. Here’s a list of some movies I like:

Once Upon a Time in the West, El Topo, Blade, Ghost Dog, Die Hard, When We Were Kings, Petey Wheatstraw, Rope, Sonatine, Mad Max, The Getaway, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Dirty Harry, Vampire Lovers, The King of Comedy, Mr. Majestyck, Fight Club.

So there you go, have at it frat boy. Re-imagine the shit out of ’em. Introduce them to a new generation ’til they can’t see straight. Make them “less gorey” and “emphasize the thriller aspects.” They won’t know what hit ’em!

And after that you can lick my plate, dog dick.

thanks bud,

Vern

p.s. Oh yeah but I guess you did a pretty strong performance as the cut off head Harry. good work buddy.

*At this preview screening they actually searched each person with a metal detector at the door, causing a huge bottleneck which blocked the top of a jampacked escalator. If people hadn’t jumped out of the way repeatedly it would’ve been one of those horrible freak accidents like when 20 kids jump on a waterslide all at once. I figure if New Line Cinema thinks it’s okay to risk maiming a bunch of teenage horror fans just so a bootleg of their shitty movie won’t get out 2 days early, then it’s okay for me to give away every last surprise in the movie.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/16307

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2003 at 7:01 am and is filed under AICN, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Responses to “Vern massacres the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE!”

  1. The loop finally closes and after watching TCM’s 1-4, I got back around to rewatching TCM ’03 for the first time, and while I won’t be tweeting #NOTMYMASSACRE anytime soon, I do think viewed in context with the series, alot of the shine has worn off of this one. Like Vern’s Last Airbender review, watching and judging this in a vacuum obviously improves it – it’s well made and competent, it’s obviously better than probably 80% of the other horror movies that cluttered the early 2000s. Biel is legit great here, she’s easily the most developed and competent final girl in the series (even though I still prefer Stretch from Part 2). The pacing is fine, it’s never boring. If I’m not mistaken there’s actually more chainsaw violence here than in parts 1-4 combined.

    But is that enough? Is it wrong that I miss the wackiness and black comedy from the 3 sequels that the public mostly hated? Is it a right direction or a giant step backwards that the filmmakers decided to go back to basics and recreate the first one, even though the first one has already been ripped off a thousand times? I do kinda like some of the weird changes to the formula, like R. Lee Ermey playing the Hitchhiker/Choptop/Mortensen/McConoughey crazy brother role even though he seems more like he should be the cook/dad. But then again I like how normal family dynamics never quite seem to apply in these movies, like how McCounoughey was the father figure in the fourth one despite being younger than his brother, or how Leatherface’s daughter(!) in the 3rd one seemed more like his little sister. Also liked how the “secondary villain dies via vehicular accident” running gag is turned on its head with the heroine actually causing it this time.

    I have to admit I’m bummed about there not being a dinner scene – especially because you can kinda tell where there should be one in the movie – Biel gets knocked out, then escapes like every other heroine – it’s almost like they filmed the scene and took it out for time. (they coulda cut out the good kid character and the whole pointless subplot involving the baby instead, and where did the “Grandpa” character in the wheelchair even go?). Oh and another bummer is that literally every Chainsaw after part 1 had me going “Holy shit they ruined Leatherface” during his first appearance, and by the end of each film I was actually kinda charmed and won over by that film’s iteration. This is the only film that doesn’t do that, as this Leatherface is by far the least interesting and most generic. Yes, I liked Part 4’s Leatherface over this guy, so sue me.

  2. I remember dismissing this one when announced. Then it started getting great early-word-of-mouth (particularly on AICN) and I got interested. Then it was reveled AICN leader Harry Knowles has a kinda-cameo in the movie he neglected to tell everyone about before release in his glowing-review. Then I read Vern’s absolutely savage review and lowered my expectations again. I remember I almost decided not to bother with it after Vern’s review. So I went to see it and for a good bit of it I felt Vern was being way too hard on it. I thought it was pretty solid as it’s own thing (though our ‘heroes’ were a bit obnoxious). Then they dropped EVERYthing I was digging about it to make it a standard and generic (but slick) slasher film with Leatherface hunting Biel down. Shame we didn’t get a full horror movie of fake-cop Ermy terrorizing the kids. So then I joined the ‘it’s the worst thing ever’ brigade but since chilled on it. Maybe I should give it rewatch? At the time I hated part 4 but since rewatching it earlier this year I learned I kinda liked that one so thus far the Remake’s Prequel continues to the be the worst one. I look forward to your new take on it Neal.

  3. I am unfamiliar with both Sonatine and Vampire Lovers. I could look them up, but I prefer to hear from the outlawvern.com community. What are these movies that I have never heard of?

  4. I could also look them up huand I’d rather go with my vague memories. I believe SONATINE is a lesser known Beat Takeshi joint. VAMPIRE LOVERS I’m pretty sure is some old softcore Eurohorror.

  5. VAMPIRE LOVER sounds very Jess Franco

  6. Romans – Yeah I’ve actually never heard of those two movies either! Geoffrey – I’m looking forward to TCM: The Beginning too. I saw Matt Bomer’s name on the credits – I certainly hope he’s playing the starmaking Choptop role and not just another prettyboy victim.

    Speaking of which, I think I put my finger on why I didn’t like TCM 03 that much this time – the opening sequence with the hitchhiker is so brutal and so out-of-left-field that it really sets up a tone that the rest of the movie can’t live up to. I mean, it’s easily the goriest thing in the movie (and probably series), and makes you think “holy shit they actually showed that up close” instead of cutting away (and then most of the kills the rest of the movie end up tastefully cutting away). And it’s structurally so jarring – the character was JUST introduced, and by movie conventions you figure she would be a Newt-like major character or there’d at least be a long scene where the gang try to talk her out of it, but nope, 3 seconds in and she blows her brains out. (It’s even more unexpected when you take into consideration the role of the Hitchhiker in the first one). It truly sets up an “anybody can die at anytime” sense of dread, but then the movie proceeds to follow a traditional Final Girl formula (which a second viewing really shows).

    However, also re: the hitchhiker, I saw many people agreeing with you that the heroes in TCM ’03 are obnoxious and unlikable, but I actually liked the morally grey changes to the story, putting a late 90s Indie/Very Bad Things “we gotta hide the body!” spin on things. I mean, we can all complain about how heartless they are trying to dump the hitchhiker’s body and take off, but at the end of the day the heartless ones WERE right – if they had just gotten out of there at the first sign of trouble instead of doing the “right thing”, they would have all lived! In that sense, Jessica Biel is fascinatingly the Reverse Ripley in Alien – where Ripley’s cold-hearted “we have to follow the quarantine and leave Kane to die, sorry” attitude is meant to initially put her off to audiences but ultimately ends up being the right and smart decision, Biel’s “I can’t believe you guys are just gonna leave this dead body! I’m going to keep searching for this shady-as-hell Sheriff and take the keys to the van with me!” decision is meant to endear her to us and seems morally superior, but of course gets everyone killed. It’s a small layer of complexity that doesn’t add much but is greatly appreciated.

  7. I was definitely coming at it as a Chain Saw fundamentalist. Maybe I will consider watching it again now that I’m old and gentle.

  8. Guys, Tobe Hooper died today :(

  9. The Massacre, the other 24 hr Chicago horror movie marathon, is showing Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 this year.

    FYI, Chicago has two 24 Hour movie marathons. There used to be only one at the Music Box but there was a falling out. I like that they end up being varied enough where they feel like two different shows. The Massacre only shows digitially projected movies while the Music Box can show 35mm prints, which I prefer. They once showed one of the worst prints of Poltergeist I’ve ever seen but it was awesome.

  10. Well, I finally watched this. It is a good-looking movie that is just dumb as dogshit. The script might as well have been written by a 12-year-old who’d never seen the original TCM to begin with. My favorite part is Jessica Biel murdering the shit out of R. Lee Ermey. That was some primal, earned business. My “favorite” part is Leatherface activating the slaughterhouse’s sprinkler system at the end for the sole purpose of giving us some more Biel in a wet tank top. It’s so nakedly blatant and obvious, it made me giggle.

    Also, Leatherface only kills two people in this movie and while that’s not what I necessarily expect from a TCM, I DID kinda expect more from a remake.

    Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts and maybe shed some light on one of my favorite old-school Vern reviews.

    Props on getting Larroquette back, tho. I guess.

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