The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Preview

Rich and Poe glide down the mountainside away from the smoldering ruins of the Wicker Man. The wind is in their hair and they feel as free as a couple of birds (you know, if birds had washboard abs and slammed Mountain Dew to the extreme). Distracted by the wonders of flight, they fly a little too close to the edge of a cliff and suddenly a minotaur is upon them, thrusting a spear through the wing of their beloved hanglider. Only through their poly extreme athletic skillz are they able to master their damaged craft and steer it directly into a tree growing out of the side of the cliff. Rich laments the appearance of the minotaur, clearly sent by their tournament foes in an attempt to stop them. Their zen oneness with the air prevented them from counteracting such an obvious trap. “We were playing by the rulez, bro,” he says to Poe, “we gotta remember that rulez aren’t coolz in this universe and not everyone is gonna play by them.” But Poe isn’t listening. A man has appeared just above the crag on which they’re trapped. Perchance this man could lower a rope and help them out of this jam. Maybe he even knows about the tournament and where the well worn path Nic Cage mentioned is at. Suddenly the man emerges further from the bushes and Poe’s heart sinks. While the top half is a man, the bottom half is a horse. These -taurs are going to be the death of them… literally. For at that very moment the centaur pulls out a chainsaw and revs the engine before starting in on the base of the tree they are sitting in. “This is going to be a massacre,” Rich says forlornly. That’s right! We’re hopping right back into that Texas Chainsaw Massacre saddle and watching the 2003 remake of the film along with the 2006 prequel that followed. These are often grouped together not just because the actor portraying Leatherface is the same, but BMT fav Michael Bay produced. I’m always down for some Bay action. Let’s go!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) – BMeTric: 39.2; Notability: 37 

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginningIMDb_BMeT

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginningIMDb_RV

(This is held basically stock still over time. I still find it somewhat insane that this one is nearly over 6.0 as well. This film got absolutely ruined by critics. In this case I am fairly convinced the relatively high IMDb score is because of the gore. It is just one of those underserved markets.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  When the ideas for endless sequels wear out, bring on the prequels! This one creates a backstory for the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, set in the 1970s. Two teen brothers and their girlfriends go on a final fling before shipping off to Vietnam, get caught up in the infamous house of horrors and face-lifts after a car accident brings them to the attention of the evil local sheriff. There is nothing to suggest the ‘70s period; it’s all about graphic violence. This is one “beginning” whose ending can’t come quickly enough.

(Now that I’ve automated the review section off of RogerEbert.com it is more rare to get the OG Leonard’s take on film. RogerEbert.com though didn’t see this film. We got semicolons and Leonard’s usual disdain for horror films. So check and check. He only liked the original, and partly because it isn’t nearly as violent as it is reported to be.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OKXd2j6Fmo/

(I was kind of okay with this right up until Amazing Grace started playing. Then it started to feel like a cynical cash grab.)

Directors – Jonathan Liebesman – (Known For: The Killing Room; Future BMT: Darkness Falls; Wrath of the Titans; BMT: Battle Los Angeles; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2015; Notes: Born in South Africa he apparently got the notice of producer Michael Bay because of his short film Rings which connected the first two American Ring films.)

Writers – Sheldon Turner (screenplay & story) – (Known For: X: First Class; Up in the Air; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Up in the Air.)

David J. Schow (story) – (Known For: The Crow; Future BMT: Critters 3; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: He allegedly came up with the term stalk-and-slash to describe the emerging horror genre that would later be referred to as “slasher” films in 1977.)

Actors – Jordana Brewster – (Known For: Fast & Furious 7; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 5; The Faculty; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Nearing Grace; Future BMT: American Heist; D.E.B.S.; Home Sweet Hell; Annapolis; The Invisible Circus; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Fast & Furious; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: )

Matt Bomer – (Known For: The Nice Guys; The Magnificent Seven; Magic Mike; Magic Mike XXL; Walking Out; Papi Chulo; Duplicate; Space Station 76; Anything; Future BMT: Flightplan; In Time; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; A New York Winter’s Tale; Notes: )

Diora Baird – (Known For: Star Trek; Wedding Crashers; Hot Tub Time Machine; Transit; Future BMT: Stan Helsing; Night of the Demons; My Best Friend’s Girl; Young People Fucking; Accepted; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: )

Budget/Gross – $16,000,000 / Domestic: $39,517,763 (Worldwide: $51,764,406)

(Ah that makes sense. It was such a let down from the original they basically decided to reboot it instead of trying to salvage it. That is still a healthy profit, but considering how much the original made it killed the franchise.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (11/85): The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is full of blood and gore, but not enough scares or a coherent story to make for a successful horror film.

(If you read just the big reviewers the consensus seems to be: remember how some of us thought the last one was sadistic? Well, now all of think it is sadistic. Reviewer Highlight: Attention sadists: Demand more from your gorefests than this pro forma return to the well. Has mass murder ever been this dull? – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Sticks & Stones Origins: The Beginning (B+)

texas_chainsaw_massacre_the_beginning

(Gotta say, still digging it. Artistic and dark… still, not really telling a story. I mean, he looks all grown up in the poster. I’m looking for a little baby Leatherface.)

Tagline(s) – Witness The Birth Of Fear (A)

(This is good. The more I read it the more I like it actually. Birth of fear is a nice turn of phrase and packs a wallop in a small package. It’s quite good.)

Keyword – extreme violence

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginning_extreme violence

Top 10: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Goodfellas (1990), The Hateful Eight (2015), Logan (2017), Drive (2011), True Romance (1993), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Casino (1995); 

Future BMT: 66.7 Halloween II (2009), 60.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 52.8 The Green Inferno (2013), 46.7 Saw 3D (2010), 44.6 Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), 40.1 Gothika (2003), 34.2 Hell Fest (2018), 30.5 Marked for Death (1990), 30.2 Halloween (2007), 29.6 House of 1000 Corpses (2003); 

BMT: Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Rambo (2008), Gangster Squad (2013), Silent Hill (2006), Cobra (1986), Ghosts of Mars (2001), RoboCop 2 (1990), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Punisher: War Zone (2008)

(Let’s see. Most of those, weirdly, I don’t completely hate. I don’t really like excessive violence, but most of what we’ve watched it like amusing 80s versions of excessive violence which I’m apparently fine with. This has definitely become more popular recently with things like John Wick and Logan, both of which I also quite liked.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jordana Brewster is No. 1 billed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and No. 4 billed in Fast and Furious, which also stars Vin Diesel (No. 1 billed) who is in Babylon A. D. (No. 1 billed), which also stars Michelle Yeoh (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 4 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Chasing Mavericks, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 19.

Notes – During filming, R. Lee Ermey was called away to his mother’s death bed. For the remainder of the time, filming was done around his character.

When Eric gets his face wrapped in cellophane by Sheriff Hoyt that’s actually real, Matt Bomer’s head was actually being wrapped in Saran Wrap, R. Lee Ermey said he was very concerned for him. They left a small gap opening at the bottom of Matt’s chin for him to breathe but that didn’t help much, so when ever he was having trouble breathing he would indicate by knocking his knees together

The cow that gets hit by the jeep was made of fiberglass and filled with blood, fake entrails and fake bones then screwed together. (Huh, that’s cool to know)

Producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller decided not to make a sequel to the 2003 movie. But the fans kept coming to them, asking how the family got that way and wanting to know several unanswered questions in the 2003 version (some of them include how Monty lost both of his legs, to how Sheriff Hoyt lost his front teeth, and how Leatherface got his nickname). And after a meeting with Michael Bay, they let Sheldon Turner write the script for a prequel and they were prepared to make it. (Stupid fans, no one should want to know these things!)

Jordana Brewster initially got made fun of for the way she ran during filming scenes in which her character Chrissie had to run. (YES! I love weird running)

Jordana Brewster said while filming with future husband Andrew Form ‘Everyday Andrew wore these work boots to the set, and if I was lying down in the shot or there was equipment in the way, I’d look for his shoes. It was comfortable just to know he was nearby.’ They married in 2007.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel or Sequel (2007)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Preview

Rich and Poe glide down the mountainside away from the smoldering ruins of the Wicker Man. The wind is in their hair and they feel as free as a couple of birds (you know, if birds had washboard abs and slammed Mountain Dew to the extreme). Distracted by the wonders of flight, they fly a little too close to the edge of a cliff and suddenly a minotaur is upon them, thrusting a spear through the wing of their beloved hanglider. Only through their poly extreme athletic skillz are they able to master their damaged craft and steer it directly into a tree growing out of the side of the cliff. Rich laments the appearance of the minotaur, clearly sent by their tournament foes in an attempt to stop them. Their zen oneness with the air prevented them from counteracting such an obvious trap. “We were playing by the rulez, bro,” he says to Poe, “we gotta remember that rulez aren’t coolz in this universe and not everyone is gonna play by them.” But Poe isn’t listening. A man has appeared just above the crag on which they’re trapped. Perchance this man could lower a rope and help them out of this jam. Maybe he even knows about the tournament and where the well worn path Nic Cage mentioned is at. Suddenly the man emerges further from the bushes and Poe’s heart sinks. While the top half is a man, the bottom half is a horse. These -taurs are going to be the death of them… literally. For at that very moment the centaur pulls out a chainsaw and revs the engine before starting in on the base of the tree they are sitting in. “This is going to be a massacre,” Rich says forlornly. That’s right! We’re hopping right back into that Texas Chainsaw Massacre saddle and watching the 2003 remake of the film along with the 2006 prequel that followed. These are often grouped together not just because the actor portraying Leatherface is the same, but BMT fav Michael Bay produced. I’m always down for some Bay action. Let’s go!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – BMeTric: 27.3; Notability: 32 

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TheTexasChainsawMassacreIMDb_RV

(I think this, weirdly, hits just the right spot for a bad horror film. Usually horror fans are very down on horror done poorly. But then there does seem to be a contingent of fans that are all about the gore. And from what I can tell this film is all about that gore, so maybe it makes sense that it crept up to above 6.0. Also the film is not really that bad, it barely qualifies, so there is that as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.0 stars – The new version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a contemptible film: Vile, ugly and brutal. There is not a shred of a reason to see it. Those who defend it will have to dance through mental hoops of their own devising, defining its meanness and despair as “style” or “vision” or “a commentary on our world.” It is not a commentary on anything, except the marriage of slick technology with the materials of a geek show.

(Oh shiiiiiiit. I actually can’t remember the last time we hit a full thumbs down from RogerEbert.com. This sounds like I’m going to hate this film. Gore-based horror is by least favorite of the genre.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg3LWY70rvw/

(Man back in the day “from producer Michael Bay” actually meant something. I have to admit though, the end of the that trailer is banging. If I didn’t know it wasn’t very good I would think that was a pretty good way to reenvision the series.)

Directors – Marcus Nispel – (BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Pathfinder; Friday the 13th; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: We did it! We completed his filmography! He’s basically stopped working, although I’m going to guess he’ll pop up at some point when Arnold Schwarzeneggar does some small time film as they are apparently friends.)

Writers – Kim Henkel (1974 screenplay) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; Leatherface; Death Trap; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: As mentioned in the previous installments he is a professor in Texas at the moment. He seems to still produce / write randomly, although only once or twice since 1995.)

Tobe Hooper (1974 screenplay) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Mangler; Leatherface; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Apparently had a small cameo in the second film as a man in a hotel corridor.)

Scott Kosar (screenplay) – (Known For: The Machinist; The Crazies; Future BMT: The Amityville Horror; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: He was the producer for The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix which is supposed to be quite good. Also wrote a few episodes of The Bates Motel.)

Actors – Jessica Biel – (Known For: The A-Team; The Illusionist; The Rules of Attraction; Hitchcock; Cellular; The Tall Man; Easy Virtue; Ulee’s Gold; Future BMT: Accidental Love; Blade: Trinity; A Kind of Murder; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Home of the Brave; Planet 51; Next; Total Recall; The Truth About Emanuel; Elizabethtown; Powder Blue; Spark; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; Shock and Awe; London; BMT: Stealth; Summer Catch; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Playing for Keeps; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Next; and in 2013 for Playing for Keeps, and Total Recall; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Starred in the television show Limetown which is the second television show I know of based on a podcast (the other being Homecoming). It is not supposed to be very good.)

Jonathan Tucker – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; The Next Three Days; Sleepers; The Virgin Suicides; Sweet Virginia; 100 Girls; The Ruins; In the Valley of Elah; The Deep End; Criminal; Bee Season; An Englishman in New York; Future BMT: Pulse; Stolen Hearts; Hostage; As Blood Runs Deep; Stateside; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Performed in The Nutcracker for the Boston Ballet as a third grader. That’s a big production that involves a lot of kids … so somehow both impressive and not impressive at the same time.)

Andrew Bryniarski – (Known For: Batman Returns; Any Given Sunday; Higher Learning; Mother’s Day; The Program; Sky; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Scooby-Doo; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Pearl Harbor; Necessary Roughness; BMT: Rollerball; Hudson Hawk; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Naturally he is a former bodybuilder and trained professional wrestler. That’s about all you need to be Leatherface honestly. Was Zangief in Street Fighter.)

Budget/Gross – $9,500,000 / Domestic: $80,571,655 (Worldwide: $107,362,708)

(A huge success. No wonder it got a sequel. How badly must the second have done for them to cut the cord I wonder.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 37% (57/156): An unnecessary remake that’s more gory and less scary than the original.

(That is actually a lot better than I would have expected given Ebert’s review. A lot of people seem to like it as a gorey B-movie basically. Reviewer Highlight: Weakens, dilutes, disinfects and otherwise undermines the legacy of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – True Story, Bro (A-)

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(This is actually good. Artistic and dark for a horror film and gives the sense of leather for Leatherface. Unique font. Doesn’t exactly tell a story but good enough.)

Tagline(s) – Inspired by a True Story (F)

(What the fuck… seriously, how is this the tagline to the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Is it a meta joke that it’s based on the true story of the film Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I’m confused and unhappy.)

Keyword – horror icon

TheTexasChainsawMassacre_horror icon

Top 10: It Chapter Two (2019), It (2017), Aliens (1986), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), The Terminator (1984), Annabelle Comes Home (2019), The Conjuring (2013), The Ring (2002), The Predator (2018), Scream (1996); 

Future BMT: 80.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 74.0 Psycho (1998), 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 65.5 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 65.0 Seed of Chucky (2004), 63.0 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.6 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), 60.5 The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), 58.6 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 56.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 

BMT: The Predator (2018), The Nun (2018), Friday the 13th (2009), Predator 2 (1990), Jaws 3-D (1983), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Jason X (2001), Rings (2017), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), The Ring 2 (2005), AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(Awwwww snap, we’ve seen so many! Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play are the big ones left obviously.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jessica Biel is No. 1 billed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and No. 2 billed in Valentine’s Day, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – A then-unknown John Larroquette provided the narration in the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). Despite becoming a distinguished actor in the years since, he happily agreed to reprise his role for the remake.

After learning about the remake, Andrew Bryniarski (Leatherface) went up to producer Michael Bay at a Christmas party and personally asked him for the role.

On his final day of shooting, Eric Balfour stripped down, threw his wardrobe back to the crew, and walked off the set only wearing a baseball cap. (weird!)

There’s a homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) regarding each film’s leading ladies Erin (2003) and Sally (original). In the remake, Erin pulls out a knife to pick a lock. When asked where she got it from, she replies “from my brother.” In the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sally’s brother Franklin is obsessed with his knife, and at one point in the film gives it to Sally. She never returns it. (I kind of like that)

In the original script, the character Jedidiah was going to wear a Felix the Cat T-shirt throughout the movie. This was later scrapped because the copyright holders of Felix the Cat wouldn’t allow it. However, the novelization of the movie features the character wearing the shirt. Also, Jedidiah was going to be killed by Leatherface by slicing his chainsaw through his back because he let Erin and Morgan go. This was later scrapped because the filmmakers thought it was too intense. (I love novelization facts)

The only time we actually get to see Leatherface’s “real” face.

To prepare for his role as Leatherface, Andrew Bryniarski ate a diet of brisket and white bread in order to get his weight to nearly 300 pounds.

Dolph Lundgren was first considered to play Leatherface, but he turned them down so he could spend more time with his family. (What a bizarre choice that would have been)

The severed head of Harry Jay Knowles from Ain’t It Cool News can be seen in the basement of Leatherface’s house. (Huh?)

To avoid an NC-17 rating in the USA, the more graphic shots of Morgan’s death were cut. The original version of the scene featured the shot of the chainsaw slicing into his crotch and then having intestines and blood falling out of him. The cut version cuts away when the chainsaw is about to cut him and totally cuts out the intestines falling from his body. The hitchhiker death scene was also cut severely. The original scene has her ear flying off of her head and blood and brain matter being more dark in color and more in amount flying out of her head. Jedidiah was originally supposed to be killed by Leatherface for helping Erin and Morgan escape, but the scene was scrapped for being “too intense”. (gross!)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2004)