As one of the most influential films of horror history, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 has been a victim of cultural abuse, with two conventional sequels, a prequel, a remake and a prequel to the remake. And just when horror fans thought they were safe, the story is unleashed back onto the big screen, now in horrendous 3D.
New director John Luessenhop and his team of four screenwriters know that audiences loved the 1974 movie, so much that he opens Texas Chainsaw 3D with a crude highlights reel of the original, followed by a re-enactment of the events that could have happened in the massacre’s aftermath.
From here we’re transported 29 years into the future to the present, and things start shaping up like a stereotypical modern horror movie. Alexandra Daddario stars as Heather, an adopted supermarket clerk with a murky past. After receiving a letter claiming that her distant grandmother has died, she hops in a VW campervan and heads for her native Texas. Accompanied by her adulterous boyfriend Ryan (played by rapper Trey Eyez), slutty best friend Nikki, token ‘rock-dude’ friend Kenny and hunky hitchhiker Darryl, they arrive to discover that Heather has inherited the huge family mansion. It’s a double-edged sword (or saw, rather) however, as she’s yet to discover the six-foot-five leather-faced terror lurking in the basement.
This is a repugnant film. Not only is it scare-free, it’s deeply misogynistic, with several up-skirt tracking shots – the damsels in distress are seemingly incapable of keeping their clothes buttoned up while trying to flee the chainsaw-wielding maniac.
After Life of Pi, I was starting to warm to the idea of 3D cinema. Seeing this, the technology and glasses are back to being nothing more than a headache-inducing gimmick, with spurts of blood wiped across the screen and chainsaws being hurtled at your face.
Whilst this new film may have chickened out of using ‘massacre’ in the title, it’s certainly killed all my appreciation for the original. If you have some time to burn and cash to spend, do yourself a favour and do anything other than see Texas Chainsaw 3D.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (15)
Dir: John Luessenhop; US horror, 2012, 101 mins; Bill Moseley, Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde
Premieres January 10