Sunday, September 13, 2015

Random Horror Movie Of The Week: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)

Yes when a watery tart throws a sword...sorry chainsaw... at you, please DO NOT ignore it!  Moistened bint, my arse...this is Leatherface!!

Horror Sub-Genre:  Slasher Flick, American Gothic

Year:  1990

Country:  USA

Language: English (well there is a little gibberish)

Runtime:  81 minutes (R-Rated version) 85 minutes unrated "X" version

Tagline:  Some tales are told, then soon to be forgotten.  But a forever. (along with three other taglines that are pretty dumb)

Watched:  Streamed via Videobash

Bonus:  One kick ass custom family embossed chainsaw, Viggo Mortensen in a lady apron.

Recommendation: Yes Please!  (meaning, enthusiastically recommended)

All weekly reviews contain spoilers, and, of course, it's up to you if you choose to watch any clips.

I just nailed some bitch to a chair...time to done the apron!

I had seen this film once before in the mid 1990's during horror binge rental of endless VHS tapes (jeez, some people may not remember those!)--a quite expensive venture even for just one week!  Man did those rental places (you know the ones that no longer exist) really have a racket back then!! So I barely paid a great deal of attention to it.  Actually I had only gotten around to the Tobe Hooper sequel a couple of days before this, so I'm pretty sure I all but dismissed it at the time.  And, of course I hadn't really noticed that it was a form of remake of the original in many ways.  And, yes (!) I didn't know who the hell Viggo Mortenson was.  I did, however, know Ken Foree (every horror fan at the time knew him because of Romero's Dawn Of The Dead).  In fact, his performance is what I remembered the most.  Re-screening it after all these years I was pretty blown away with how much I really liked it.  Elements of the original were tweaked, such as Viggo being the character ("Tex" Sawyer) asking for the ride, and Mama Sawyer (Miriam Byrd-Nethery) as the character in the wheel-chair, nice touch that she has a "throat talker".  Yet another Sawyer brother as the gas station owner, who indulges in a bit of what "Tex" calls a "peek-a-boo party" with customers using the female bathroom stall.  I thought this was a fun little poke at Hitchcock's Psycho, it's Norman Bates' little hole in the wall, redneck style.  In all there are four Sawyer brothers:  Leatherface or Jr., Tinker, Eddie (who really, really wants people to call him "Tex") and Alfredo.  Now I don't know if it's just me, but what the hell kind of Texas backwoods redneck is named "Alfredo!?"  Maybe it's some sort of inside joke about The Godfather!!  And, of course, there's grandpa---there's always grandpa.  There is also Leatherface's daughter, I don't think any of us wants to speculate as to how she managed to come into the world (!), played to absolute perfection by Jennifer Banko.

In the case of Ken Foree's character Benny, it's almost as if the though it was decided to take the African American semi driver from the end of the original Chainsaw and flesh out his character to full blown rescuer with some real one line zingers along the way.  He is transformed from a concerned truck driver to a full on weekend warrior, coming from a way out in the boonies "survivalist camp" in one funky Jeep! One absolutely spot on zinger comes when he spies Leatherface through a window badly using a spelling machine, one that Mama refers to as "his lessons"--Benny's response as only Foree can deliver it, confused face and all, "what kind of sick shit is this??"

Original gif caption: "The Agony Of Defeat!"  Damn those spellcheckers!!

Kate Hodge as Michelle does an excellent turn as the scream queen in this!  The best scream, and it is awesome (!) comes when she sees her traveling companion Ryan (William Butler) hoisted up for "dressing out" and realizes, because of his wheezing, that he is still alive.  The Sawyer family realizes this as well, which brings in their invented contraption for slaughtering, because you know that whole hitting in head things is just so damn messy!  Quite the opposite from the original film, which the family laments the old days in the slaughter house when the giant hammers were used to stun steers first, not those dang air guns (you know like the one that Anton Chigurh uses in No Country For Old Men?).  Do to both the method and killer, the slaughter event in this film is not to be missed (one reason to purchase the unrated version of the film.)  Not least is Tinker's one-liner "now all we need is a mess of greens!" [Okay, I'm not trying to be morbid here, but I did notice something.  Since the original--and all the sequels after it--were famously inspired by some of real life killer Ed Gein's crimes and general weird body part "art," I can't help but point out that the "truss up" they do on Ryan is pretty damn close the way Gein trussed up the headless corpse of victim Bernice Worden (not to mention the scene at the beginning of the film, of the position of the head the police find, is very, very similar to the condition that her head was found inside Ed Gein's house. Just sayin'...)]

One issue with watching it online as I did, is that you will be watching the R-rated version, the "compromised second draft" if you will.  The film was originally slapped with an X rating by those bastards over at the MPAA due to what they considered "excessive gore;" IMDb still lists it as rated X (that's just wrong).  One scene in particular that was left in the film, was heavily cut and makes Leatherface's chainsaw murder method rather confusing (it's the murder against the tree).  I also think there was a serious cuts to Ryan's demise as well.  I'm assuming that other scenes were cut all together.  Fortunately, there is now a DVD copy for purchase that contain both versions of the film.

Eventually our weekend warrior tires of all the crazy ass shit he keeps spying through the windows and goes ballistic on everyone's ass.  With it comes one of the most excruciating close ups of the film, Michelle escaping from the chair that Tex has nailed her hands to--at least that escaped the MPAA censorship!  Benny's shoot em' up is truly a thing of beauty!  Clearly they've messed with the wrong survivalist!!!!

While Benny manages to take a whole slew of Sawyer's with his gun, some of them survive, which leads to a thoroughly hilarious (in a good way) fight between Eddie, Oh I'm sorry "Tex", and Benny that have some the best one liners of the film, with Benny screaming "What's wrong with you people?  Haven't you ever heard of pizza?"  Tex takes a swing at him and yells "I like Liver"--takes another swing at Benny--"and Onions!"  Yet another swing.  So when Benny finally gets the best of him, he yells "Toast Fuck!"  Pure awesome and underrated.  The last lines in the film, on Michelle and Benny's escape echo Tex from the beginning of the film:

Michelle:  There's roadkill all over Texas!"
Benny:  You got that right!!

Clearly the Swayer family really had it coming and fucked around with the wrong type of "meat!"

I always thought that for the most part Rob Zombie's House Of 1000 Corpses was just a really entertaining rip off of Tobe Hooper's original Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974--plus the Halloween Dr. Satan thing added on.  But after seeing this, I almost think it's this movie that most closely resembles it.  And don't get me wrong, I love 1000 Corpses.  Of course, I am also aware that elements of Hooper's own 1986 sequel were also utilized in the plot of Corpses and it's sequel The Devil's Rejects, not to mention Bill Moseley himself (who was in Hooper's sequel).  But the whole starting off at the gas station thing, the attempted hitchhiking, the directions, etc., much more resemble the actual beginning of Corpses (of course, I am aware Sherry Moon Zombie, as Baby, gets her ride).  Then there is the house--it looked sooo familiar, especially when those flood lights came on!  The subsequent fight between Tex and Benny; Michelle egging on Leatherface...I knew I had seen it in almost an identical state somewhere before, so I looked it up.   It was filmed on Sable Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, and while the house was featured in the pilot episode of the television series Supernatural, I knew that 's not where I was remembering it from.  But low and behold there it is five titles down on the IMDb page:  The Devil's Rejects.  Now, again, do not get me wrong here!  Those are absolutely my two favorites films of Rob Zombie's (although I will admit I haven't seen Lords Of Salem yet--waiting for a special "Music" theme Friday Fright Theme to view it).  This film I did thoroughly enjoy--love the camp and the gore, and I just ordered the unrated version (hey let's call it the rated X version after all)--so looking forward to that added 4 minutes of gore!!  I don't usually include fan generated stuff in any reviews, but since Viggo went on to be such a superstar--Jeez Aragorn for Christ's sake, couldn't resist the tribute below that I found on YouTube.

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