The Saw is Family: My Twisted Journey Through the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series

     After spending the beginning of the year dealing with a death in the family, I found myself thinking about what it means to have a family. Being the eccentric guy I am, I started watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. In horror, there is no family tighter than the Sawyers. Its been hard for me to articulate the path I’ve been on emotionally, so I turned to the one horror film franchise that was meant to bring out the raw emotions I’ve bottled up, but then I soon discovered that this series has destroyed then reaffirmed my faith in the horror genre. Just like one wonders why God gives us things only to take them away. Just like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.

     I was probably about 12 years old when I first saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and its reputation scared the shit out of me. It was known as the most disgusting, horrifying film ever made; people throwing up in the aisles when it was first released. So after months of working up the courage to see it, I rented from the video store and had my little puke bucket (in case I couldn’t make it to the bathroom. Be prepared). I really couldn’t have grasped what I was in for. The movie wasn’t ecen close to being disgusting; it was just mind numbingly disturbing on almost every conceivable level.

     I mean Jesus Christ.

     There are very few films that change you as a person, and holy fuck, this movie is one of them. The sheer rawness of its documentary style approach is enough to make anyone lose their fucking mind. So, where in the living hell do you go from here?

     Apparently here. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is quite a bit… different. While this movie was made to be morbidly comedic in nature, and from the director of the original to boot, I fucking hated the fuck out of this installment. I mean, shit, one film is this grim, disturbing, documentary style film, to a comic book style gore fest.

     The fuck, dude?

      Now, going back to this, thinking that tasting the metallic barrel of a gun will release me from the massive shititude of this shittiness, I found myself enjoying the movie. I shit you not.

     What’s happened in the passing 20 years since I saw this movie? Simply put, the other Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. You could see the other movies as that bad, but I prefer to see them as that uninspired. Director Tobe Hooper has an apparent warped sense of humor, and wanted to make a sequel that enforces the humor that people missed in the original. Go ahead. Read that shit again. Apparently, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was supposed to have funny parts.

     Let that sink in.

     Here was the first of many installments to “fix” the series after the humorous part 2. And at the time I thought it was pretty good, but coming back for the purposes of this post, I found it quite bland to be honest.

     It’s crazy how films can change over time.

     There’s really nothing notable or memorable about the picture (except for a very young Viggo Mortensen). It plays out now like a formula, which I get since it worked the first time around and changing it fucked up the second one. I give them points for trying to recreate the terror of the first film, but it was never going to work and Tobe Hooper knew that.

     Now, there’s no terror, no fun to be had, and no one to give a fuck about (except for Leatherface the entire Sawyer clan has been pretty much replaced).

     It sucks pretty much that the movie is just that: underwhelming.

     Good lord, what a piece of shit. I saw this back when I was in junior high, when I still hadn’t developed any taste, and I still found this to be a colossal waste of time. I didn’t have anything to that day, and I still feel like a wasted it. Shit, I might’ve gotten laid that day! (Note: I wouldn’t).

     The only morbid curiosity that exists is the fact that Matthew McConaughey is hamming up the fucking screen, and it is a sight to behold. Even this early in his career the man had no inhibitions. The sad fact that he’s so much better than the movie deserves. 

     And I’d rather not discuss the shrieking Leatherface. No fan does. 

     This was the beginning of the end for me. I mean my childhood. Even though the Psycho remake came out in 1998, this was the start of the dark period in horror. All everyone ever spoke about was remake this, or reimagining that, instead of the movies themselves. 

     This remake shouldn’t exist. 

     There’s no joy to this. Not that the original was a romp in a field, but that movie felt like you just experienced something cathartic. This felt like someone telling you how awesome the original was, and then emphasizing the shit that wasn’t even in the movie in the first place. 

     Everything here felt generic; I can’t even tell you the names of the family members in this one, and that’s kind of a big deal. Just a smidge?

     So I started to lose faith in the genre of horror at this point, only a matter of time before I get pushed to the edge… Speaking of which…

     I had never in my life been more depressed at seeing a sorry excuse of a movie in my entire life. Just year after year of terrible horror films finally caused me to break. 

     When the final girl, played by Jordana Brewster, gets a chainsaw through the back I decided I’d had enough. I was thoroughly depressed at the lack of ingenuity, imagination, humor, thrills, basic craftsmanship of it all. 

     And for being a prequel the movie didn’t answer jackshit. The only thing I wanted answered was who the fuck thought this warranted being called a film?

     After nearly giving up on horror films because of this now tainted franchise, I was hanging out with the best friend and went and saw this. The good thing is I didn’t want to put a gun in my mouth after watching it. It’s all about life’s small victories. 

     As happy as I am that the remake timeline has been jettisoned, I do have one big gripe with this film: 

     How old is Alexandra Daddario’s character supposed to be? 

     The main hook of this entry is that it follows the events of the original film which was in 1973. This one takes place in 2012. Her character was found as a baby. Damn, she’s one hot 39 year old. Doesn’t look a day over 25. 

     Aside from that just being offensively annoying, I liked this one. Leatherface being more of an antihero is pretty cool, its nice and gory, and I can actually see what the fuck is happening in the frame thanks to proper lighting. 

     Or it could be the simple fact that I had fun watching this with my beat friend. Meh, to each their own. 

     Well, that brings me to the end of this journey. Its amazing how a series of films can shape you, and even chronicle your evolution as a human being. I started this franchise having nightmares about renting the damn thing; now I’m just, “They made another one?!”

Happy New Years everyone. Thanks for reading. 

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