Worst to First: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Franchise

I have spent nearly all of August celebrating a great series in horror, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I decided to put a list together with highlights of each post.  You can check out the full Retro Reviews of each movie by clicking on the title of each.

Of course these will be from worst to best.  It was a pleasure sitting down and watching each of these again, even the bad movies.  It is strange, it seems like most of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies are actually pretty bad.  There are seven total and to me, 3, maybe 4 are good.  Anyway, on with the list.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

tumblr_m4ha0hCcKG1r159loo1_r3_1280

I remember the first time I watched this film, stumbled on it on HBO or something.  At first, I thought this film wasn’t too bad, I do think it is better than Texas Chainsaw 3D.  But nope this one either doesn’t hold up or it was just plain terrible.  Watching the film years after the first time, really makes a difference.  This is not good, I do think the tried different things, but they also seem to recycle characters and situations.  This film really gets campy and the gore level is not really there.  One thing I am confused about, who in the hell are these people and how do they connect to the Sawyers?  It seems every film after the second we get to meet a different part of the family.  But no it seems this family and the Sawyers are apart of big conspiracy, what?

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

texas-chainsaw-3d

Ok let us first address the characters, Heather is the lead played by Alexandra Daddario, she was tolerable, but her friends, I am not even going to name them because who cares. Although, Scott Eastwood is in this and he is not a bad actor. All terrible actors pulled from the shit bin of Hollywood.  Then you have to deal with the timeline, if the original takes place in 1974 and due to a headstone reading 2012 am I to believe the girl, Heather is 39 years old?  Am I to believe the Mayor and Sheriff of this town are still in office?  So it has been 39 years, the Mayor and Sheriff are clearly in their 40’s to 50’s, so what in the hell.  So Heather is 39 and looks great for her age I guess.  Yep that is a picture of her.  Oh my, I almost forgot, Leatherface is wearing a really nice, kind of maroonish dress shirt, COME ON!  He reminded me of some kind of over-sized teenager going to his first Junior High School dance.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

texas-chainsaw-massacre-2003-leatherface-2

I’ll have to be honest, I was mad when there was no Hitchhiker character, I mean there was, but I hated her.  I was enraged from the beginning and the inferno burned the entire movie.  I could not enjoy it at all.  A few months later when the DVD was released, I gave it another shot, I fucking bought this damn thing.  But, there was a deal, get the remake and get TCM 2 free.  I could not pass that up.  I popped it in the ole DVD player.  I gave it a fair shot.  I noticed how stylized the movie was, it was supposed to look dirty and grimy, but the cast was so beautiful.  They did not look like “All American” teens or whatever.  It seems like it was a movie to put Jessica Beil’s body on display(not a bad thing).  I also hated the character of the Sheriff.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

8632814_5

It is about two couples driving across Texas on their way to leave for Vietnam.  The two guys are brothers, one has been to Vietnam and the other is a draft dodger wanting to go to Mexico.  We also meet Thomas Hewitt, who is Leatherface, we see how Hoyt becomes the Sheriff.  The things about the movie, it is fresh and similar and feels a little bit more than Jessica Beil walking about and bouncing all over the place.

I didn’t care about the characters, but I found this to be the case with nearly all of these movies.  They are kind of fast paced and you don’t need to know them as well.  I did like the way the boys were dragged into the barn and tortured.

I honestly do not have much to say about this one.  I like it, better than the remake.  I don’t like the absence of the Hitchhiker in this series, well he and Chop Top.  These are pretty much average horror, slasher films.

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

leatherface

The movie is very bizarre and has a few familiar faces like a young Viggo Mortenson and not everyone knows Ken Foree, but you would remember him from Dawn of the Dead and Devils Rejects, oh and the Halloween crap remake.  Also in some of the stunt work scenes, Kane Hodder plays Leatherface, Kane Hodder is know for playing Jason Voorhees in a few Friday the 13th films.  I should not have to explain who Kane Hodder is to this group.

The film is both a sequel and a reboot to the previous movies, as the original Sawyer family and apparently Leatherface died in the previous film.  This is, I guess another bunch of Sawyers.  Same thing as all the others, right well a couple of people are traveling through Texas and they run into the Sawyer family along with that lovable ox, Leatherface.  Ken Foree is in this film, which for me, gives the movie some cool points, he is great.  He really was an underrated actor and still is to this day.  Foree gets to have a show down with the Leatherface, but does meet his demise or does he, it looks like he dies, but we see him at the end.  Ken Foree is a badass, so I bet he survives.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

texas-2-3

So the film picks up 13 years after the first.  It begins with a couple idiots driving to a football game in and shooting off their gun.  They call in to Stretch’s radio show and show how awesome they are.  Leatherface eventually shows up and kills these dicks, the entire event is recorded on Stretch’s show.  Later, Lefty Enright shows up to investigate as his niece was a victim of a chainsaw wielding psycho.  Chop Top drops in to see Stretch to tell her how big of a fan he is and it gets creepy.   Chop Top was stationed in Vietnam during the first film and is the twin of the Hitchhiker from the first film, probably creepier than his bro.

The Sawyer family has taken refuge in an old abandon carnival, cave place. The cook or Drayton wins the chili cook off, of course his secret recipe and Leatherface is still terrorizing people with that damned chainsaw. This one took a different approach where it really seemed to rely more on gore and black comedy. Which I love, where the original was so bleak, this one is so much fun.  When I say black comedy, just pay attention to the family. Also new characters are a part of the film, like “the hitchhiker’s twin brother Chop Top play be Bill Moseley as I mentioned. I love Bill Moseley and if you ask me he really stole the show in this film,  Moseley is a very underrated actor and his role as Chop Top was the one thing about this film that always stuck in my mind.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

TCSM-4

It is loosely based on, Ed Gein, serial killer, Wisconsin the 1950′s.  But really the only thing that is similar is what is going on in the house, the bone furniture, the cannibalism and the killing. Otherwise, the story written by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper and it takes place in Texas and features a cannibalistic family, rather than a single hermit like Gein.  Hooper actually had a story already developed while in film school, involving the elements of isolation, the woods, and darkness.  He credited the graphic violence by San Antonio news outlets as one inspiration for the film and the cannibalism from the Gein story.  The elements he put together work and even when nothing is happening, there is a feeling of dread around every corner.

The movie is non stop, there are so many iconic moments in this film.  Does that make me sick, thinking the scene were the girl goes into the bone room and runs out of the house and Leatherface grabs her, it is iconic for me.  How about the dinner table scene with grandpa and Sally is strapped to the chair.  When Sally goes to the gas station and gets beaten while having a sack over her body.  There are so many moments in this film that resonate in my mind.  Leatherface slamming the door closed after knocking a guy out with a mallet.  So many moments that just mess you up

There you have it!  The list for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  This little snippets all come from the Retro Review of each movie.  Click the title of the movie to read the full reviews.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films are horror and every fan of the genre should at least see the first film and maybe the first two sequels.  Anything after that is up to you!

Found the over at Halloween Costumes.com

Leatherface: Man of Many Faces
Infographic Created by HalloweenCostumes.com

About Ray Marek III 261 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.