Movie Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – The Next Generation

@lcfremont takes you back to time before the Mcconaissance…The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

At various intervals this year, Haddonfield Horror will be reviewing all of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films both the good and the god awful. We continue with a review of  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, writers of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, reunite to bring us Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Initially written off as a bad horror film, the movie found a new audience when both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger became household names; we all love to find out that our new superstar has a campy horror movie in their past.
Starting with the usual group of jerkface high school students on prom night, our car of teens end up walking through a decidedly creepy and desolate back roads area. Conveniently, they happen upon a random office, in the middle of nowhere, and are magically rescued by the sassy, tough talking lady running it.. As they’re leaving, she tells them not to worry about the boy driving the Wrecker.
Enter Matthew McConaughey. As he exits the Wrecker (his tow truck) he appears to have some sort of vacuum hose apparatus attached to his leg. By breaking a young man’s neck for no reason, he illustrates to us that he is cray-cray. It is at this point that the true tone of the film is set; campiness turned all the way up to an 11.
This is the first film that didn’t just gloss over the fact that Leatherface likes to dress up and wear makeup. It revels in it. Despite the poor quality of his wig, this is the most glam Leatherface the franchise has seen. Played by Robert Jacks, this Leatherface  is clearly enamoured with female beauty and he is more of a gentle giant. Well, a cannibalistic gentle giant, but he has a heart and that has always been the conundrum with Leatherface. He’s just doing what his family tells him to. When not butchering up hot, young meddling teens, he enjoys sewing new masks for himself and applying makeup to them. Quite frankly, if there wasn’t the danger of turning into Sunday dinner, I imagine Leatherface to be a fun guy to go out on the town with. Can’t you just picture it? We’ll put on some 80’s dance music, pick out dresses and do each others makeup. Dare to dream.

Alright, alright, alright, this movie has taken a lot of flack for being awful and it kind of is, but in the best possible way. This movie is a camptastic basket of horror fun. McConaughey hams it up, clearly relishing playing a crazy redneck cannibal and it’s a blast to watch. Zelweger is amusing to watch because she’s so awful. Truly, you would never have guessed that the girl in this movie would end up being a regular fixture at the Academy Awards. 
Listen, there is a scene that involves our two future Academy Award winners battling for survival via remote controls that operate McConaughey’s leg contraption. This movie is in on it’s own joke and that’s why I love it. Also, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel bad for Leatherface not getting the new face that he so badly wanted. Oh yeah, and there is a fun cameo from Marilyn Burns. This movie is not good, but it is fun, crazy and self aware and sometimes that’s all you really need.

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Lisa Fremont

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