Kim Henkel

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Review


Bad
There's a great conversation that goes on in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where a crazed man and a van of hippies awkwardly talk about the difference between the new way of killing cattle and the old, barbaric ways. The new way is painless and more sanitary in general, but it was bad for social matters (layoffs, machinery-over-manpower etc.) but the old way was brutal, unclean and considered inhumane. At the time, this conversation was meant to point out how the '60s counter-culture wanted to help the poor workers but disapproved and actually fought to get rid of the jobs they had. How proper it is that now, 32 years after the original and three years after the original remake, the same argument can be used to discuss what has now become the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.

The film begins with the terrifically gruesome birth of none other than Tommy Hewitt, aka Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski). He is born in the dark, dirty floor of an old-style killing floor, and thrown out in the garbage behind the plant. There, he is saved by an elderly woman who brings him home and puts him under the care of his Uncle Charlie (R. Lee Ermey), who later takes on the identity of Sheriff Hoyt, the Texas town's only cop who is disposed of after he calls Tommy "retarded." Time passes and the Hewitt family, at the full swing of the Vietnam War, happens upon two soldiers and their girlfriends. Only one of the girlfriends (Jordana Brewster) stands a chance of surviving the night.

Continue reading: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Review

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Review


Good
History, and memory, have been exceptionally kind to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and yep, that's how they spelled "chain saw," as two words).

In our collective consciousness, Leatherface and his chainsaw have become as iconic as Freddy and his razors or Jason and his hockey mask. And it's all thanks to a goofy and only occasionally scary low-budget horror vehicle that started it all in 1974 (making Leatherface the ancient grandfather of his contemporaries). The story has been widely copied in the following decades: Hippie teens run out of gas and seek refuge at a backwater gas station; too bad a family of psychos are waiting in store for them. (In the last year alone this premise was copied nearly to the letter in both Wrong Turn and House of 1000 Corpses.) Over the years the film would spawn seven sequels or remakes (to date), including versions starring Dennis Hopper and Renee Zellweger.

Continue reading: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Review


Bad
There's a great conversation that goes on in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where a crazed man and a van of hippies awkwardly talk about the difference between the new way of killing cattle and the old, barbaric ways. The new way is painless and more sanitary in general, but it was bad for social matters (layoffs, machinery-over-manpower etc.) but the old way was brutal, unclean and considered inhumane. At the time, this conversation was meant to point out how the '60s counter-culture wanted to help the poor workers but disapproved and actually fought to get rid of the jobs they had. How proper it is that now, 32 years after the original and three years after the original remake, the same argument can be used to discuss what has now become the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.

The film begins with the terrifically gruesome birth of none other than Tommy Hewitt, aka Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski). He is born in the dark, dirty floor of an old-style killing floor, and thrown out in the garbage behind the plant. There, he is saved by an elderly woman who brings him home and puts him under the care of his Uncle Charlie (R. Lee Ermey), who later takes on the identity of Sheriff Hoyt, the Texas town's only cop who is disposed of after he calls Tommy "retarded." Time passes and the Hewitt family, at the full swing of the Vietnam War, happens upon two soldiers and their girlfriends. Only one of the girlfriends (Jordana Brewster) stands a chance of surviving the night.

Continue reading: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Review


Terrible
Aren't remakes intended to improve on the films they're honoring? First-time director Marcus Nispel may return audiences to the Lone Star State to recreate the horrific and (not really) "factual" events of August 20, 1973, when five hippies were abducted and tortured by a killer named Leatherface and his inbred family of cannibals. But this flavorless rehash ultimately proves you can't just fire up a power tool, hang an innocent teenager on a meat hook, and call yourself The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The new Massacre hacks away everything different and inventive Tobe Hooper's original film did for the horror genre. Graphic yet pointless, it introduces five teenagers returning from a Mexican vacation who make the fatal mistake of stopping to ask a woman wandering the side of the road if she needs a ride. They assume she's on a bad acid trip, and intend to turn her over to the local authorities. Little do they know that their bad trip has just begun.

Continue reading: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Review

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Review


Good
History, and memory, have been exceptionally kind to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and yep, that's how they spelled "chain saw," as two words).

In our collective consciousness, Leatherface and his chainsaw have become as iconic as Freddy and his razors or Jason and his hockey mask. And it's all thanks to a goofy and only occasionally scary low-budget horror vehicle that started it all in 1974 (making Leatherface the ancient grandfather of his contemporaries). The story has been widely copied in the following decades: Hippie teens run out of gas and seek refuge at a backwater gas station; too bad a family of psychos are waiting in store for them. (In the last year alone this premise was copied nearly to the letter in both Wrong Turn and House of 1000 Corpses.) Over the years the film would spawn seven sequels or remakes (to date), including versions starring Dennis Hopper and Renee Zellweger.

Continue reading: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation Review


Weak
For some reason it's incredibly maligned, but this remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is really no better or worse than the 2003 remake, but it's hard not to dig Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey in early-career roles here. How can you not love watching Z as she climbs a roof and clings to a TV aerial to escape from a saw-wielding maniac? Or zapped with a cattle prod? And McConaughey as one of the bad guys -- playing perhaps his looniest character ever -- is a real riot. Plenty of gore (and it's passably realistic),gratiuity, and murderous babes give The Next Generation enough horror street cred to just make it passable -- and much better than its reputation.

Continue reading: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation Review

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Kim Henkel Movies

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Movie Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Movie Review

There's a great conversation that goes on in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where...

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Movie Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Movie Review

There's a great conversation that goes on in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where...

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Movie Review

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Movie Review

Aren't remakes intended to improve on the films they're honoring? First-time director Marcus Nispel may...

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