Holy shit you guys, I never really thought I’d see EGGSHELLS! It’s the weird psychedelic movie Tobe Hooper made in 1969 – five years before THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. According to Hooper it only really played about fifty times, and only in Texas. It had never been on video until 2013, when it was included as a bonus disc for Arrow’s Region B limited edition of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. I didn’t know about it in time to get it.
But recently a copy of that disc was donated to the collection of Scarecrow Video, so I checked it out. It’s a beautiful restoration and the disc includes a Hooper commentary track, which I’m glad I listened to, because it sure gave me a better idea what was supposed to be going on. You wouldn’t necessarily know this was the work of a future Master of Horror, because it hadn’t yet occurred to him that the horror genre was a good hook to get your movie played in drive-ins. There’s possibly a supernatural force in it, but it’s not used for scares – just trippiness, I’d say. (read the rest of this shit…)
As in the original film, we have a group of young people driving from Austin to a remote Texas town where they don’t fit in. But instead of a pretty casual day trip it’s for a business venture: chefs Dante (Jacob Latimore, SLEIGHT, DETROIT) and Melody (Sarah Yarkin, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U) purchased a small ghost town at a bank auction, with plans to open a restaurant and turn the town into some kind of hipster enclave. Along for the ride are Melody’s younger sister Lila (Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE) and Dante’s girlfriend Ruth (Nell Hudson). (read the rest of this shit…)
You may not know this, because I’ve worked really hard to keep it on the down low, but Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 are some of my favorite movies. And although I don’t like any of the other chapters in the Texas Chainsaw Cinematical Franchise Property (TCCFP) nearly as much as those two, I know that for as long as they keep making them I will keep watching them and possibly kind of liking some things about them. That’s just my way. It’s what I do.
To date there are eight (8) official entries in the series:
•The two Tobe Hooper films (1974 and 1986) – Preeminent works of cinematic greatness.
•TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013 sequel only to 1974 original) – This one is so fuckin stupid, but I got a kick out of it the way I would a lesser FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel.
•LEATHERFACE(2017 prequel to 1974 original) – I liked this one quite a bit. Though it’s a different sort of thing (a criminals on the run movie) and makes a few choices that bug me as a CHAIN SAW purist, it’s probly the most worthy non-Hooper one.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE – did you know that I’m missing one on that list, a 2012 the-names-and-details-have-been-changed type unofficial sequel written and produced by Henkel? Somehow I never heard about it until very recently, when JK tipped me off in the comments for my NEXT GENERATION review. (read the rest of this shit…)
Happy Halloween, everybody! As is sometimes my tradition, I have managed to do a write-up of one of my all time favorite movies that I haven’t done an official piece on. In 2016 I finally got the balls to do THE THING, and in 2017 I did INFERNO. I guess when I did DAWN OF THE DEAD it was a month after Halloween, but that’s the type of review I’m going for here.
These reviews of the classics are intimidating because there’s such a risk of saying the same shit that’s already been said, but I’m tired of linking to my Ain’t It Cool News review of a DVD release every time I mention it, which is inconvenient when I seem to compare half the movies I watch to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I remember I even compared the Kathryn Bigelow racism drama DETROIT to it. Incidentally, even though I’ve been thinking about HALLOWEEN movies all month the world is feeling more TEXAS CHAIN SAW to me these days.
In other words, be warned: this is one of the ones where I relate the movie to the politics of today, so if you hate that, please don’t read, and go have a happy Halloween. If not, please do read, then have a happy Halloween.
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THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. One of the greatest horror movies since they started makin’ ’em. Not sure if I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s true.
It’s a movie that has grown on me and with me. When I first saw it I was probly 13 and I thought it was dumb. Just some crappy footage of a dude chasing people around in the dark. I was a Freddy guy. Saw it again in my twenties and it became pretty much my favorite movie. Back then it was VHS (not sure if it was even letterboxed) and I really believed that the raw quality of the footage was part of its magic. That it felt like a documentary, one made by crazy people.
After believing that for years I got that remastered edition that Dark Sky Films released, the one in the steel case (which I took these screengrabs from). It looked so much cleaner I wasn’t sure if I should accept it at first. Now I watch the way-more-pristine-than-that Blu-Ray and I love the movie even more as the controlled, artful craftsmanship it had always secretly been. For the moment, forget “drive-in” or “grindhouse” and think “great American film of the ’70s,” even if it’s all of those things. (read the rest of this shit…)
During my recent two-week TEXAS CHAINSAW binge I learned of the existence of this movie I’d never heard of before. It was written by Kim Henkel (co-writer of the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, writer/director of part 4). It also stars Lou Perryman two years before he played the lovable loogie-spittin’ sidekick L.G. in TCSM part 2. (He was also assistant cameraman on part 1.)
But this is not a horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, in fact if I was gonna compare it to any movie it would have to be CLERKS. Because this is a low budget, 16mm black and white slice of life movie about some regular people hanging out in a bar called The Alamo. It’s the last night before it’s gonna get demolished, and almost the entire movie takes place inside, in the parking lot, or at a house right across the street. (The opening scene is the farthest you get from the Alamo, it shows one of the characters driving to The Alamo in real time.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Well in a serious bid to not hate the upcoming TEXAS CHAIN SAW remake prequel, I decided to mentally condition myself by rewatching the two bad sequels, parts 3-4. But I don’t know, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, maybe the remake lowered the bar, maybe it’s some kind of Stockholm Syndrome deal, but this week I found out I really don’t hate these two movies like I used to. They’re not good sequels, no, but I was able to appreciate them a little more after all these years. The little fuckers are starting to grow on me.
I also realized the secret behind the failure of the sequels. Every one of them is basically a loose remake, but without all the elements that were in place to make the first one work. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle 4 times unless you’re really good with a bottle, and not even Tobe Hooper is that good with a bottle anymore. The sequels are all closer to the original than the actual remake is. They change the reason why the victims are in town, they have a different lineup for the family (and a different person playing Leatherface), and they add some new twists here and there. But they’re all basically some people come to town, get stuck at the house, they’re tormented in crazy ways, there’s the dinner scene, they escape, they battle, they get away. (read the rest of this shit…)
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