Lisa Marie Newmyer
Chainsaw Horror Sequel Cash-In Bollocks
Trivia The patient on the gurney at the end of the flick is none other than a certain Marilyn Burns.
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1996)
25th Nov 04
Everyone's favourite dysfunctional Texan family are back, although why is anyone's guess.
If you're reading this, article I hardly need to tell you about the importance of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the world of horror cinema. In fact, there are those who say The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and Night of the Living Dead are the most important horrors of all time, and I admit I agree, although each of those three films has very different stories to tell in terms of sequels. Whereas none of Romero's sequels or remakes disappoint, the following seven Halloween sequels - with the possible exception of the third one - just got worse and worse. But The Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels beat them all for sheer folly. Put simply the second was entertaining but stupid, the third was a complete load of rubbish and this - the fourth - is more of the same. What a waste of everybody's time and money.
The story - what there is of it - doesn't actually start that badly. It begins at a prom with the typically irritating all-American stroppy teenage Heather searching for her equally obnoxious boyfriend Barry. Outraged to find Barry getting off with another girl, Heather jumps into Barry's car and tries to drive off, but Barry's fast - he leaps into the passenger seat and, as she drives off, tries to cool her down by cleverly blaming his infidelity on her. You see Heather won't have sex with Barry which Barry claims is dangerous because a man can get prostrate cancer from being turned on too much and having no relief at the end of it. And his Dad's a doctor, so it must be true!
At this point however Sean and Jenny, who had been hiding in the back seat smoking a joint before our lovebirds came along, join in the conversation, turning it into a full blown steaming row. Heather's a right stroppy bitch and Barry's a complete asshole, whereas Sean and Jenny are the nice guy goodie two-shoes types, so the four way conversation they have is actually very funny - by far the best bit of the film actually, hence why I've banged on about it so much. In fact, when the inevitable car crash (in the middle of nowhere) comes along, it's as much as a shock to you as it is to them.
From here on in, the rest of the film is turgid. After crashing into some random guy in a sports car, Sean stays with the vehicles while the rest go for help, but they don't really find any. Instead they find a strange old house (in the middle of nowhere, obviously) populated by a poor Sunday night sit-com version of that famous Texan family who really aren't very scary. Sean does little better - he's visited by that pick up truck from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 3, although this time driven by a totally crackers Matthew McConaughey who acts like he's auditioning for his role in Reign of Fire albeit with a remote control leg. Yes, a remote control leg. No, I don't understand how that works either, although there is some amusing milage stretched out of Renee Zellweger getting hold of his remote control later in the movie.
Ah yes, Renee Zellweger. What the fuck is she doing in this movie? Well, I asked myself the same question. Zellweger plays Jenny and, like McConaughey, she's hypnotic to watch and obviously destined for greater things, but she doesn't scream all that much - or very well - which I'd've thought was important for someone filling Marilyn Burns' great big shoes. There are a few obligatory Leatherface chase scenes of course, but this Leatherface is a mockery of Gunnar Hansen's original, spending half the movie in drag and never coming across as much more than an inconsequential running gag. When you see the hapless fool chasing Zellweger through the woods - terrifying in the original - you can't help but laugh. It's like watching a father chase his four year old son around the garden - I swear I caught him slowing down whenever he got too close, to give her a bit of a chance
And that's that - I'm not sure there's any real point in carrying on. This is a movie that I'm sure McConaughey, Zellweger, you and I would rather forget. It's cheap on DVD, but there's a reason for that. Avoid like the plague.
Versions This is the heavily cut version. Apparently there's a version out there that's 10 minutes longer, although why anyone would bother wanting to track it down is beyond me.