"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. Contemporary Art

I was walking downtown the other day when I strolled past one of these fuckin things:

bodiesexhibitionIn the building that used to be The Adidas Store they now have a bunch of plastinated Chinese corpses posed as if they’re playing chess and football and shit. This is one of two very popular travelling exhibits. It’s been through here before, I’m sure most of you have heard of it (or even seen it), and they even had James Bond run through one of these type of exhibits in QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

I’ve heard from many people that it’s really fascinating to look at. To be honest I haven’t seen the exhibit, because the shit freaks me out and because I’ve read that they don’t have documentation of where the bodies come from and had to post a sign admitting that they could not be certain they weren’t the bodies of Chinese prisoners sold to them like horse meat to a dog food factory (paraphrase). I tend to believe there is something fishy going on here because I can’t imagine anybody would ask to donate their body to touring art exhibits.

But this is the first time it occurred to me: holy shit, this is just like Texas Chain Saw Massacre! The Chainsaw family would excel at putting these exhibits together. It’s been one of their hobbies since the opening credits of the original:

tcsmopeningand really got rolling in part 2 where they have a whole underground amusement park decorated with skeletons of their victims made into furniture or posed into scenes from DR. STRANGELOVE or just sitting around, like the Grandma in her throne or like part 1 victim Franklin here:tcm2franklin

So, to that producer who’s doing the new TEXAS CHAINSAW movie who said he wants it to be modern day and “more urban” – I challenge you to get that in there somehow. The family visits Bodies: The Exhibition and know they could do better, or they try to open their own. Their bodies aren’t documented either, how different is it really?

* * *

By the way, some quick sight news: I have a backlog of partially written reviews of all the horror movies I’ve been watching this month. But I’m working every day this week so they’ll probly be leaking into November. Don’t worry though non-horror fans, I’ll try to get some other shit on here too as soon as Halloween is over.

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74 Responses to “Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. Contemporary Art”

  1. That is a pretty great idea, Vern, I think someone needs to hire you on as story consultant. They could at least make some passing reference to the family selling the undocumented bodies to the exhibit and claiming they are Chinese prisoners, or something.

    Count me as excited for all the horror reviews, and sympathetic to your backlog. I’ve been writing little 2 paragraph blurbs on my blog about all the horror movies I watched this month, and have been to busy too keep up with even that minimal committment. Kudos to you for being a dedicated writer.

    Also, just out of curiosity… exactly what line of work are you in, Vern?

  2. I just rewatched Texas Chain Saw (the greatest horror movie ever made, obviously) the other day, and like every time I watch it, I noticed something new. I liked that it was the Hitchhiker’s corpse-defiling hobby that put Sally & Co. on their doomed road trip to begin with, since they were heading out to the sticks to check on their grandma’s grave. It’s a weird closed loop of cause-and-effect that no one in the movie notices but the audience is aware of if they’re paying attention. I find that much more interesting than in the remake, where they just happen to be passing through cannibal territory on their way to a Molly Hatchet concert or something.

  3. On Cracked they had a list of the scariest places on Earth, and one of them was a church that has giant architechural structures built out of the bones and skulls of people from the overpopulated graveyard.
    I remember listening to Guillermo del toro’s Devil’s Backbone commentary where he talks about taking his wife to some version of this exhibit when they were in Paris, and he was running around drawing everything and taking notes on all the different things, and she was kind of hanging around near the entrance looking uncomfortable. I’m with her.

  4. There are two exhibitons? I only know the one, from the German guy who looks like Reverend Kane from the “Poltergeist” sequels. And while many people are protesting his for years, I never heard them talking about the unkknown origin of the corpses (correct me if I’m wrong), so I assume his one is “save”.
    But to be honest, I haven’t visited any of these exhibitions. I just think that it’s not worth the money, because judging from the photos and news footage that I saw over the years, it’s not like every corpse look that different from another. So if you saw one, you know the whole exhibition. I still think it’s a pretty interesting, although absolutely fucked up concept anyway.

    And I’m the master of procrastination, so I will be the last one who will judge you for releasing made-for-Halloween reviews in November or even later.
    “You can’t spell inspiration without procrastination.” – Ron Stoppable

  5. I’ll second Dan’s question; just what do you do with your days Vern? I know you’re a private person, so if you want to keep it broad that’s cool. You could say something like the automotive industry, sales & accuisitions, or human trafficking.

    Whatever works bud.

  6. I’d rather not say on account of mysteriousness, but it’s just unexciting and not very well paying regular work. And legal, don’t worry.

  7. Those exhibits are nuts. The first one I went to mostly had the corpses playing baseball and stupid shit, but the second one had a body cut into sections like drawers, a body in pieces on wire looking like Dr. Manhattan getting blown apart in ‘Watchmen’ and all kinds of crazy shit. You get to hold brains and lungs, and there’s a section where all of some guy’s skin was peeled off like an apple. I go there to sketch every once in a while. Interestingly enough, the first time me and my current girlfriend kissed was after one of these exhibits. Oh yeah, and the first time I did mushrooms was after one of these exhibits. I’m done now.

  8. I had a feeling you’d opt for the man of mystery response.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I was kind of hoping that it WAS illegal. Like maybe you were pulling some Parker shit when you weren’t reviewing movies.

  9. I like to think Vern is either a night watchman or drives a cab. I dunno why, it’d just be cool. It’d be fucking soul destroying if he worked for Goldman Sachs or something, though.

  10. I was kind of hoping that Vern had the same job as that dude with the rubber gloves in Dirty Harry. People come to him when they need their asses kicked for real and an amateur just won’t do.

  11. I always took the cover of Vern’s 5 on the Outside as biography.

    He liked to drink and throw himself through cars windshields but eventually got thrown in the stir for it.

    Upon his release he entered the world of online film criticism and we’ve been fans ever since.

  12. Plastination was invented by Gunther Von Hagens, who is clearly a super villain. Photo Evidence:

    Seen here playing cards with some of his ghastly creations


  13. Is it not common knowledge that Vern used to rob banks and that’s why he was in jail? The dude who wrote Pretty Persuasion bought the rights to his life story and there was talk of making a movie about it at one point (if I’m not mistaken about everything).

    Also, sorry if I’m crossing some kind of line, Vern, I mean no disrespect – I’m just genuinely surprised people don’t know (but looking around on the internet, I realized your biography isn’t really talked about much out there.)

  14. @chemical burn

    Yeah I think most of us are aware of that, but since Vern did time for the bank robbing it stands to reason he didn’t make enough cash out of it to live like a prince for the rest of his life. He would therefore have needed a job of some sort in the years since he got out.

  15. Are you kidding, Vern? I’d absolutely donate my body to weird gross pop art posing as some kind of vague scientific endeavor. Seriously, I plan to. I bet a lot of folks here couldn’t think of a better final resting place than that. Barring unforseen legal difficulties, I’d particularly like to will my remains either to the Mutter Museum in Philly or to Theatere Bizarre in Detroit, with the written instructions that they do something truly apalling with it.

    Speaking of Theatere Bizarre, I just went up their for their massive Haloween party, and jesus fucking Christ. That thing is nuts. The fucking Enigma was there, how sweet is that? You should go.

  16. you don’t make a living off the royalties for Seagology? Now that’s a shame.

    I bet whenever Vern gets mad at his co-workers he thinks to himself that if they keep fucking with him he’ll unleash his horde of movie loving internet geeks on their ass.

  17. how you have time to keep this site rolling at the speed it is, and working a regular 9-5 i’ll never know. good work.

  18. Fair enough Vern, I thought you’d probably leave it in the shadows. Maybe I’ll just imagine you doing something very Seattle-specific, like a monorail operator, or the guy who drills the Seahawks whenever they start to complain about the rain. Maybe the next time a guy gets dosed with Gatorade I’ll think of you, and grin.

  19. Vern is clearly one of those guys at the wharf who throws fish around at high speeds. Every now and again, he uses his incredible fish-throwing prowess to disrupt a foot chase already in progress.

  20. Hey Vern, this is completely off topic but are you aware of the fact that Seagal´s latest “The Keeper” has been released in England?

  21. Wasn’t it Casino Royale that had those body art things?? Bond runs through it during the airport chase.

  22. I thought it was QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but I’m not sure. Can we get a tie-breaker?

  23. yeah it was CR. I’ve seen the scene you’re talking about but I’ve yet to see Solace.

  24. Thomas – I had no idea, thanks for the tip. I’m trying to order it right now.

  25. Please tell me that The Keeper is a romantic comedy about how Seagal, a gruff but secretly sensitive ex-CIA agent turned self-help author, is the man of ambitious but neurotic book editor Renee Zellweger’s dreams.

  26. Isn’t that the plot of the Aaron Eckhart/Jennifer Aniston movie that came out a few weeks ago?

  27. And how much better would it be with Seagal in it, amirite?

  28. I hope that it would start with an action sequence from his CIA days (maybe one that was obviously filmed at a different time (maybe even for a different movie) and tacked on after the producers decided it needed to be a little more “Seagal”) , but then just play like a straight romantic comedy from then on.

  29. Okay, but there has to be a part where he busts up a robbery in the middle of a date and she gets mad at him for ruining the moment, but then at the end he uses his skills to help her career and she realizes that wrist-snapping and woo-pitching are not mutually exclusive activities.

  30. Oh God….Vern please at least tell us you’re not a Wal-Mart greeter or something. At least give us that peace of mind.

  31. I am not a Wal-Mart greeter or something.

  32. Vern working at Wal Mart would have made one entertaining essay.

  33. I visited one of those exhibits down in Orlando. Absolutely fascinating, if some freaky shit. The non-documentation of these bodies’ sources is rather disturbing. Yet it figures.

  34. My theory is that Vern is actually Barack Obama.

    Aide:Where’s the president? We’ve got a situation developing!

    Rahm Emanuel: um, he’s the in screening room watching THE NIGHT BRINGS CHARLIE.

  35. Mr. S – It would explain why he isn’t exactly forefront on healthcare. He’s too busy reviewing MONSTER SQUAD.

    “Oh and Michelle, Wolfman’s got nards! “

  36. Vern is Donal Westlake’s other alias, after Richard Stark became compromised. His death was an elaborate hoax to throw the rest of us off the scent.

  37. I went to one of these Bodyworlds exhibits and it was really interesting and a little disturbing. I’m surprised no one has mentioned ANATOMIE, a German horror film that was inspired by these exhibits (doesn’t really present them in a flattering light though).

  38. In my opinion Vern is a chimney cleaner like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. The only difference is that , during the obligatory dance number , his soundtrack is the music of Shaft . Come to think of it , he REVIEWED Mary Poppins , and at the time , it seemed kind of strange , now we know why . Insider knowledge .

  39. No offense intended to all the chimney sweeps like Vern out there. I sell flowers , dammit , a job far less badass than that , and I rarely get the chance to show my impressive dance skills in my line of work .

    And on the art issue , I’ve seen those Body Worlds pieces in Casino Royale . I find them interesting but absolutely creepy , especially with the issue of the origins of the corpses . For me it would be way more interesting if those pieces were sculpted , as a display of skill . Today way too many artists are trying to make shocking declarations with their art , with very little actual ART and more and more conceptual art and intellectual statements . In Texas Chain Saw one of the fascinating factors is to look for every little detail in the bone compositions MADE for the movie , and to catch little details you’ve missed before . It’s not the same thing with Body Worlds .

  40. Thanks for the peace of mind Vern. If I found out you were working there I might have had to lift my boycott. Color me relieved.

  41. Shit. You write this web sight, and you also hold a full-time job?

    Posts like this remind me that I am a lazy, lazy man.

  42. CallMeKermit – Are you one of those people who go to bars and sell roses to drunk people?

    I always wave them off because I have no game and giving a rose to some unsuspecting female will just come off as creepy.

    One day I did buy a rose from a lady that was selling them. I was with my friend Dan at karaoke and some guy was singing a The Fray song which meant it was time for a smoke break. The flower lady asked me if I wanted to buy a rose and I naturally said, “No thank you.” As she was about to go into the bar I stopped her.

    “Hold on! How much are they?”

    “Five dollars.”

    “I’ll take one. Can you give it to someone for me?”

    “Sure, I guess.”

    “Cool. It’s for the bald guy with tattoos and I’ll give you an extra five bucks if you can not tell him who it’s from. Just hand him the rose and say, “Youo’re the dad.””


    So I go back inside and the flower lady is doing her rounds so I take a piss. When I come out of the bathroom she’s handing the rose to Dan who is jaw-dropped, looking around the bar trying to find out who gave him the flower.

    Backstory – He banged one of the former waitresses who had been absent for the last month. I didn’t realize this at the time, it was just coincidentally perfect timing on my part.

    Anyway the moral of the story is, “Be sure to tip your flower people.”

  43. Don’t deny it Vern, you are BILL GATES!

  44. hamslime : No , we have a legitimate family business . One of those old school flower shops . The only time I actually sell flowers outside is during delivery jobs , you know , phone orders . And when there’s an unsuspecting lady or girl receiving flowers from an unknown person , she never thinks about a “secret admirer ” , the first thing in her mind is an ex boyfriend . One time , one of the female customers , upon receiving an unsigned gift , immediately called an ex , furious . There was an argument on the phone, “Stop calling me!” and the like , and I just stood there for a good half hour.All I know is that the “secret admirer” was , in fact , male .But I don’t know how that works in bars , when you try to sell flowers to drunk people ! One thing is sure :“Be sure to tip your flower people.” Especially if the flower shop , like mine , is near a cemetery ……!

  45. caruso_stalker217

    October 29th, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Woah, woah… what’s so bad about Wal-Mart greeters?

    I’m just fucking with you. Been there, done that. To tell the truth I’m doing it next week. And I’m under 25 for Christ’s sake.

  46. I think the bar thing might be for a young couple out on the town and the guy wants to be a sweetheart and buy his girl a rose. Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) the only females I’m around at bars are friends or my sister so it just gets uncomfortable.

    When I’m by myself or with other guys, it just doesn’t make sense.

    As for your location near a cemetery… That sounds like it would be a prime location. Although I would think that most people who go to a cemetery to drop off flowers already have them, so maybe not.

    That’s cool that you have a family business though. I’m close with my family so that would be a dream job for me. Unfortunately I work at a Firestone fixing cars, but the pay is good and my boss is cool so I really can’t complain.

  47. Christ, Majestyk, you’re on a roll tonight. I was going to write some lame comment about Vern’s job being Pure Awesomeness, but your remark puts it to shame. Let me repeat it in all its glory: “People come to him when they need their asses kicked for real and an amateur just won’t do.”

    On the topic at hand, let me ask something to no one in particular. I’ve only ever seen the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. None of the sequels, none of the remakes. I’ve seen the original a few times and have read enough about everything else to get the gist. The way I figure it, the family’s killings have some sort of logic behind them, but it’s a logic and a family dynamic that is inscrutable to common people. It’s a kind of a grand guignol of twisted morality and grim ritual. It’s terrifying because we can tell there is a logic, we just can’t comprehend it. We don’t know where it came from. At any rate, that’s how I read the original movie.

    So this remake that is in the works: is there a risk that the terror of the original will be explained away? If the family has a clear and recognizable purpose, do we fear them less? If their morality (such as it is) too closely adheres to some thematic scheme, do we miss the point of the whole exercise? Or has the damage already been done and there’s no going back?

  48. caruso_stalker – Would it be creepy if I bought you some flowers so as to brighten your day of the hell that is greeting Wal-Mart customers?

  49. Jareth – I think the new one is more of a sequel than a remake, based on what they’re saying, but “rebooting” so it’s not connected to the Platinum Dunes remake. In that one they gave Leatherface a backstory involving deformation and being picked on as a kid. In part 4 actually they have a crazy twist where the family turns out to be paid off and protected by millionaire thrillseekers (or something – I’ve seen it twice but can’t remember the exact explanation).

    I never really thought there was a logic to their killings per se, but I like that interpretation. Anyway I agree, it’s not being able to relate to them that makes them so scary in the first one. I hope they avoid explanations.

  50. Another art controversy happened when Guillermo Vargas , as part of an exposition , chained an allegedly starving dog to a wall . He refused to comment on the fate of the dog . Some say that the dog later escaped . But , you know , where’s the art piece in that ? Where’s the painting , the sculpture , the display of skill or work? I can get behind abstract art , for some abstract artists the balance of a painting is really important . I like to imagine them struggling for an afternoon to balance , say , a red circle on the lower left corner of the painting , with a green triangle on the upper right corner . Then , the next day , realizing that , you know , that fucking triangle really should be yellow. It’s cryptic , and in most cases it only makes sense to them , but there’s actual thinking behind , actual work . I don’t see that in chaining a dog to a wall , only shock value .

  51. Anytime people use urine, feces or blood in their art, I have to call bullshit. It’s comparable to an angry teenager smearing blood in their diary or something.

    I don’t see why they don’t just make a disconnected movie with Leatherface and his family killing people in Texas. No backstory, no rebooting or anything, just make it in the tradition of the thrid and fourth one. This isn’t some holy franchise, it’s one good movie, one sequel that some people say are genius others say is a pile of dog shit, and two others that everyone agrees are bad. Just take the basic iconography and go apeshit, no big ‘reboot’ thing necessary.

  52. Jareth-If you enjoyed the original Texas Chainsaw,but haven’t seen Texas Chainsaw 2 ,do yourself a favor and see it as soon as possible.

    It is an under-rated masterpiece of black comedy and over-the-top gore. Vern’s review could def sell it to you better than I ever could.

  53. Thanks for the feedback, Vern. Let me ask you this: how brutal should a new installment be? Just outright visceral and animalistic? Or psychological? And if it were up to you, where would you put your focus: on the atmosphere? On the ingenuity of the violence? On the physicality of the family members? Do you stick with the tried-and-tested implements of destruction, like meat hooks, or do you introduce some variation, like, say, an abandoned slaughterhouse or factory? And how about pacing? Slow? Fast?

    If we can’t trust today’s scriptwriters to capture Hooper’s weirdness (these days I’m not sure we can count on Hooper to capture Hooper’s weirdness), can a new film be salvaged by a particular style of violence? Does the family need to disappear a bit into the background?

  54. The Family needs to be at the forefront. Seriously, Vern’s right the Hitchhiker and the Cook are way better characters, they just never got the chance to come out of a giant steel door and smack someone in the face with a hammer. The Platinum Dunes movies were pretty much pure Leatherface and R. Lee Ermey improvising, and uh, yeah we all know how that worked out.

  55. dieselboy – It’s the element of black comedy that most interests me about the sequel. And Vern’s numerous remarks about Chop Top over the years have been priceless.

  56. Brendan : Yeah I’ve seen a reportage , a while ago , about an artist actually mixing colors and urine for her paintings . And that’s bullshit . It was on the national news here in Italy , on TV . The sad thing is , I don’t remember a single reportage on TV for Stan Winston when he passed away . You know , he was only building stupid plastic puppets….

    hamslime : Fixing cars is way more badass than selling flowers ! On the other hand we also sell small trees and sometimes we need pieces of wood for compositions : so I actually own a chainsaw. Granted , It’s a small Black & Decker , but sometimes , around here , you can see me chainsawing a small tree trunk in the backyard . Where did I see that , recently ? ……”I’m the Lord of the Harvest!” (and since I’m a retard , I actually do the “chainsaw dance” from part 2 ) . I love my job !

  57. Next time I’m in Seattle I’ll have to ask all of the cab drivers, gas station attendants and chimney sweeps who’s a better musician: seagal or willis? The chimney sweeper with the best thought out answer and carpal tunnel is our man.

  58. Vern is apologizing for not getting reviews done when he has new material going up every day. Sometimes more than one review. The man is a class act. I bet he’s a fire fighter, or an astronaut.

  59. the first time i was aware of this exhibit was when i saw it in casino royale. then when i went back to the u.s. for a visit (i live in japan, and the exhibit hasn’t come here), my friends told me that it was this huge phenomenon. which seems kind of weird to me that it would become so popular. i think it seems bizarre and interesting and would maybe check it out if i got the chance, but do like soccer moms and stuff go to this thing? that would be strange.

    i remember going to that controversial “offensive art” exhibit in brooklyn back in the late 90’s, the one that became sort of imfamous when giuliani decried it because of the one piece that had a painting of the virgin mary with elephant dung on it, despite him never actually having seen it himself. anyway, it had all sorts of cool pieces, like the one where the artist had remove a bunch of his own blood and had it poured into a mould of his head and then frozen, so it was a frozen blood bust of his head. also, there was this decaying cow’s head that had maggots growing in it, then the maggots would turn into flies, and the flies would then fly up into this zapper thing that would kill them.

    none of this has anything to do with texas chain saw… or does it? i challenge you all to find the connections!

    btw, and this is even more off-topic, but i though vern might find it interesting/cool to know, if he doesn’t already, that many of seagal’s recent straight-to-dvd efforts actually get theatrical releases here in japan. not exactly sure why that is, though maybe because it has to do with his japan connection (he used to live and run a dojo here, he speaks japanese, and he has a half-japanese daughter who is a sort of famous young actress here now). in fact, a few months ago TWO of his movies came out in theaters on the same day! not sure which ones, though.

  60. oh, i also wanted to mention that i have been to the church that someone mentioned above that is decorated with human bones it’s in the czech republic, about an hour or two outside of prague. it’s really bizarre and cool! apparently, the surplus of bones in the cemetary was a result of some plague or other in the olden days. so, the interior of the church is entirely decorated with hundreds of human bones and skulls. there’s even a bone chandelier. my friend was taking a tasteful black-and-white photo of me in profile staring at one of the skulls up close, and a creative impulse overcame me, and i couldn’t resist sticking my tongue out and licking the skull at the moment he took the photograph. for art, man!

  61. Mr. Miyagi made bonzai trees and he’s a billion times the badass I could ever be so you have that under your belt.

    However I was commenting on you working with your family. I realize that not everybody gets along with theirs but my family is very close so the idea of working at a family business… I have to say, I’m a bit envious and you’re pretty lucky. (Assuming of course that you like your family. Otherwise that must be hell but at least you still have the Mr. Miyagi thing you can wear on your sleeve.)

  62. caruso_stalker217

    October 29th, 2009 at 11:08 pm


    I suppose buying me flowers would be a little creepy. It would be frowned upon at the very least. I’d rather be cashiering than greeting, even though that’s not my job either.

    This fuckin’ economy, man. We need more employees!

  63. All the more reason to let me buy you flowers. I buy them from CallMeKermit, he gets some business and needs more employees, you can then get a job working with a fellow Verniphile (or whatever the proper terminology for Vern Nerd would be) and not only do you have a dozen pansies to brighten your day, but you have a job that doesn’t suck and CallMeKermit can retire early. It’s a total win situation.

  64. caruso_stalker217

    October 29th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    This Wal-Mart life isn’t so bad. Like when I have to empty the machines in the bottle recycling center and all the rednecks have put their Mountain Dew bottles full of tobacco spit through the machines and they get crushed and there’s tobacco shit all over inside the bins and on my hands.

    You know, on second thought, changing careers wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

  65. hamslime : Yes , we’re very close . I’m really lucky .It seems like an Italian Mobsters movie stereotype , but it’s true , we watch movies together , play videogames and boardgames together and we constantly exchange books. As a matter of fact , the chainsaw I was talking about up there is a gift from my aunt and my family , because I was always talking about how cool it would be if I had one , like Ash . You can imagine the stupid grin in my face when I received that !

    And don’t talk to me about bonsai , they’re a pain in the ass ! I hate those little fuckers ! We sell a couple every year , we don’t actually make them , but you need to be extra careful when watering them because the pot is so small . They don’t like to stay indoor and some gardeners even say that they like music or background noise . Yeah , you like Iron Maiden , you little shithead ?

  66. Yeah , I can hire you , caruso . You will handle those fucking midget trees , and don’t forget to sing and talk to them ! And stay away from my chainsaw and my heavy-metal CDs !

  67. Brendan – I’m betting they’re doing exactly what you say, an unexplained later adventure of the family like part 3 or part 4. But when you do that and you talk to Variety or the Hollywood Reporter or a websight about it they gotta fuckin start saying “reboot.” They love the word “reboot.” They use it for remakes, sequels, prequels, you name it. Pretty soon new movies will also be reboots just so they can use that word even more.

    Jareth – because this is in 3-D, I think part 2 should be the model, because if they were gonna convert them all to 3-D I think part 2 would be the coolest. The original is a masterpiece of imagined violence, but if you’re making this in 3-D and you don’t have body parts flying it’s a waste. So I think it should be ridiculously gory, but in an “oh shit!” ’80s kind of way, not a “I have to take a shower” 2000s way. I don’t think the family should be in the background, except maybe in the first third or so. I think you gotta follow the Texas Chain Saw tradition of dropping the protagonists into the belly of the beast and it’s a total nightmare until they escape into the daylight at the end.

    As for Hooper not being able to get that Hooper weirdness, check out his “remake” of THE TOOLBOX MURDERS. It definitely has weirdness that only he could do. Of course, that’s six years ago, but hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him. (MORTUARY’s not too bad either.)

  68. I wonder what Vern’s job is?

  69. Thanks for the feedback, Vern. I didn’t know that the “not-a-reboot” was going to be in 3-D. Funny how 3-D determines so much of what a movie will ultimately be.

    Your “belly of the beast” remark underscores something that I really like about the original film: the actions of the kids aren’t drawing the wrath of a violent redeemer (like Jason), or serving as instruments for someone’s scheme of vengence (Freddy, Jigsaw), nor are they tempting the great supernatural beyond (Pinhead’s posse). The CHAIN SAW kids are like unwitting explorers who walk into a lost tribe; the tribe exisits fully-formed in its behaviour and customs. Basically, the kids who stumble upon the family are disrupting an ecosystem.

    It would be a shame if that element of the original was lost, or if it was depicted in a heavy-handed way. You don’t want to burden the family with too much theatricality. I think that was Hooper’s genius in the first film: the family is horrific but somehow realized in a perfectly naturalistic way.

  70. Yes, there are two of those weird-ass corpse exhibits, and the second one (also known as the “copy cat” one designed to cash in on the original) had a bit of trouble a couple years ago when the exhibits started LEAKING a mixture the weird oil that makes them possible & liquified tissue! And you just know that some poor museum custodian had to clean that shit up!

  71. Hey Vern, isn’t there some way to set up a link sponsorship progam with amazon or something for the movies you review, kinda like Harry does with his DVD-column over on the ‘News? I remember you had something like that way back in the days, but the fuckers closed shop before they ever payed you, right? On the one hand, it might actually lead to impulsive buyings and stronger sales for great movies (Black Dynamite, I’m looking in your direction), on the other hand, it could be a way for us to support your writings and for you to relax your working schedule a bit. I get so busy (or lazy) that I can hardly keep up with READING the amount of stuff you put up, let alone writing that much. Also, your readership seems to have grown a lot and nobody’s gonna call you a sell-out around here, that’s for damn sure…

    On the topic of disfigured corpses, I saw von Hagen’s exhibition when it caused quite a stir here in Germany and I wanted to see it for myself before hating on it. I kinda like to criticise stuff from an informed position, y’know? Anyway, that shit shook me. Ethics aside (by now, there are thousands of people volunteering for that creep), I just don’t enjoy seeing skinless pregnant women in pin-up poses with a split belly and the exposed fetus inside, if they are actual human beings and not props in a HELLRAISER movie. You can run school classes through that horror show as much as you like, but there’s no denying that the guy is getting some sick kick out his undignified displays. He may be using the mantles of educational value, demystifying death or even art, but I’m not buying it. There was this one display of the human digestive tract…it’s one thing to show the esophagus, stomach and intestines of some guy for a paying audience, but if you feel the need to top that off with a lolling tongue on one end and a shrivelled, plastinated ASSHOLE on the other, you’re really pushing it, Kane.

  72. Holy crap! Return of the Living Dead covers this issue, too. We saw it for the first, second, and third times a little over a year ago but had forgotten about it until we watched it again last night. It’s actually the punchline to the first scene. Frank talks about a “skeleton farm” in India where they grow adult females with perfect white teeth. So that’s cool.

    Also, we’re worried that the will new Texas Chain Saw Massacre will emulate Part 2 but be humorless and Saw-like. With Jackie Earle Haley as new less fun, more “realistic” Chop Top.

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