The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) — Horrible, not horror

“Well, I guess that’s what brains look like… sort of like… lasagna… kind of… OK, I’ll shut up now.”

Kyle’s rating: I’ll take supernatural slashers over a skin-wearing serial killer any day.

Kyle’s review: There seems to be no disputing that Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic film. Some might try to argue that it’s slow and a little boring and just a little bit too much to take on a regular or even singular basis, but for the most part we all just say “Yeah, it’s a classic” and move on to other topics.

A lot of my friends, especially those who don’t watch a lot of horror, have gone out of their way to see the original Massacre, and while it hasn’t really blown any of their skirts up in a significant way there is a general consensus that it was “totally awesome” that the kid in the wheelchair got the ‘saw treatment. That’s some legacy!

So now, 30 years of infamy and occasional merchandising tie-in later (all the Leatherface toys are recent developments in the last several years; don’t try to tell me horror is dead!) along comes Michael Bay, semi-reviled film producer, to snatch up the rights to the story and remake it as a bigger budgeted ultimate slasher, with an intriguing trailer and several story variations to add flavor and danger.

People were yelling that the film shouldn’t have been remade, then they were yelling because some thought the remake/reimaging was brilliant and others thought it was complete nonsense, now they’re yelling at me because I grabbed the last DVD copy at my favorite video store where they put out new releases five days in advance just because. I love it! Time to see what all that damn yelling is about, I decided, and slapped the brand new Texas Chainsaw Massacre into my DVD player. It’s go-time, baby.

So now I’ve seen the new one, and I watched the old one on a Halloween a while back. Let me first say that I am an ugly person, inside and out. However, despite being unattractive, I’m at least human in appearance and somewhat vaguely “cute” to the point that I can score enough spare change while begging in Santa Monica to fund some pool games and a burger at Yankee Doodle during a Laker game on any given day (believe, I’ve proven this hypothesis time and time again).

If the 2003 Massacre were out begging for change, people would fill the streets with vomit and animal control would come shoot a hundred darts into Massacre before carting it off to stick it in an electrified cage where it would stay for the rest of its life. It’s horrible, horrible, horrible, and I strongly urge that if you haven’t seen it yet you try to live the rest of life without doing so. You’ll be happier, cleaner, and more likely to find love and happiness in the long run.

I’ll admit that this movie has its strengths. There are plenty of people who love it, even to the point of exalting it over the original, and argue that the direction and cinematography and make-up and effects and overall dedication to putting gore and psychological filth alike on the big screen are second-to-none in the horror genre. That’s fine. There are plenty of films I love that are critically savaged and knocked for a variety of reasons. Whatever. It’s cool. We all have different taste. But after watching all of 2003’s Massacre, all I could taste was bile. Bleh.

There are really only two strengths to Massacre: Jessica Biel and Erica Leershen. Holy snikes, are these two smokin’ hot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Biel in anything else before, because that stupid baseball movie looks horrible (though a good buddy of mine said it wasn’t too bad) and although I tried on more than one occasion I could not stand more than a few seconds of television program 7th Heaven. Well, okay, I did buy that magazine from a few years back that Biel posed 95% nude in (stupid camera angles infringed on 5% of the fun, though). Other than that, I haven’t see her in anything. She’s super hot!

The voice is a weird mishmash of smoky and raw, but I was told today that my voice is “incredibly annoying” and that was from a girl I dated, so there you go. However, I’ve got to give it to Leershen as the smokin’est hot-ilicious-nest girl in the film. There is no comparison: She is hot, thin, red-headed, and actually exists in a realm of attractiveness that is beyond superhot. Leershen, who was 100% naked in Blair Witch 2, is incredible and lovely and should be, hmm, the next Bond girl. Sure. Why not?

I went heavily into the awkward female celebrity love there because I’m tired of talking about this movie. It was so bad that I ended up speeding through some scenes just to see the girls on-screen again, even if it was during horrible scenes of torture and degradation.

For one thing, I guess I’m just firmly in the camp of “fun slasher movie fan,” where for as serious as the film gets you can still perceive the influence of countless campy hack ‘n’ slash movies influencing everything and it takes the edge off. For Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the perceived influences seem to be actual war footage and snuff films. No thanks. I don’t know if it’s all too real (in a certain kind of way) or if it’s just too gross, but it’s not my cup of tea.

If you liked the original, you might like this, but if you tend to avoid movies that features lengthy scenes of a homicidal maniac sowing a new mask out of the skin of his victims, avoid seeing this for as long as possible. You might regret missing Biel and Leershen, but at least you’ll sleep peacefully at night.

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