Admittedly, that’s a pretty great poster, but just the other day we were talking about unwanted horror remakes and now it seems we’ve stumbled upon yet another one. In case you’ve been asleep for the last decade, Hollywood is currently in the process of remaking every film you’ve ever cared about. They will stop at nothing. Now, everyone’s favourite movie about a chainsaw in Texas will be remade, again.
Starting from his humble origins as a discarded tool in a dilapidated shed, the chainsaw in question is depressed and worn away by a lifetime of hard cutting. However, despite all of his hardships he manages to overcome his fears and work his way back up the ranks, until his final showdown against the evil Baron Buzzsaw at the annual North American power-tool rodeo. This tale is a timeless classic, so I can understand the desire to remake it for a modern audience. Having a bad day? Watch the trailer below and you’ll find yourself practically floating from all the good vibes!
What are your thoughts after watching that? Are you buzzing with positive energy? Are you revved with excitement? Are you feeling a limb or two lighter? You’re probably a little confused right about now. That’s okay, I’m a little bewildered also. What you may not have realized is that I am, oh so subtly, making fun of whosoever’s genius idea it was to drop the most significant goddamn word from the title! No longer is it a story about a massacre in Texas that happens to be perpetrated by a man wielding a chainsaw, now it’s a story about a chainsaw in Texas…in 3D! How sinister.
Honestly, the new title is so bafflingly stupid that I can’t really think of much else. I can just imagine all of the cast and crew just trailing off their sentences as if they’ve all had an enormous unanimous brain-fart that has just removed the word “massacre” from existence. They all stand around scratching their heads until one of them helpfully and unimaginatively (probably the producer) pipes up with “3D”. They were all able to breathe a sigh of relief as the hardest part of the job was done. The film is named.
Beyond the absurd title we seem to have a slightly more nimble and sadistic Leatherface this time around; instead of merely disposing of the teenagers in a traditionally cold, distant and methodological approach we are instead confronted with a man who is more in touch with his primal urges. He’s blood thirsty enough to viscerally torture the younglings as well as be far more cavalier with his chainsaw, instead of using it for special occasions.
So what do we think? It looks like it has the visuals down, but then a lot of these remakes always do. Where they always falls apart is their inability to prolong a tense and malleable atmosphere for a ninety minute run time. Modern horror remakes often feel like the people behind them have only watched the original films on mute. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is a very scary and creepy movie due to Tobe Hooper’s impressive understanding of aesthetic and mood. The original fed into public fears of the time and was relevant to what was happening in America, whereas the remake looks set to be yet another irrelevant, more polished imitation of former greatness. There’ll be a lot of blood and perhaps even a splash of creativity, but ultimately it will be undermined by a lacking of depth and resonance, the complete reverse of which has caused the original to be held in such high regard.
One last thing: I would like to register my dismay at the distinct lack of the despicable, annoying crippled man that I loathe for every minute he is on screen; but then cheer loudly when Leatherface eviscerates him in the most delightfully brutal fashion imaginable. I suppose we’ll just have to be content with watching factory-made stock jock and cheerleader characters meet their comeuppance.
Oh and darling, don’t hide in the coffin. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! There’s irony, but WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Is this Wacky Races? You were miles ahead! You’re not Dick Dastardly! You don’t need to stop to let him catch up! I know they say “you should quit while you’re ahead”, but this is fucking ridiculous! After consulting an expert in this field, I can assure you that, that common phrase doesn’t apply in situations where you’re racing against a bunch of wacky racers, or when a MASSIVE MAN MOUNTAIN WITH A CHAINSAW IS CHASING YOU AFTER HE’S JUST MURDERED ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS!!!
I need to lie down. Preferably not in a coffin.