After the disappointing reception of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, New Line decided to bring back the raw edge grittiness of the original with writer David J. Schow and director Jeff Burr. Though despite the recent box office flops of horror franchises in 1989, the studio took a risk and released the film in early 1990.
So what do I think of it? Well, I think it's.....okay. It's really nothing special but if it wasn't for the performances of Kate Hodge and Ken Foree, this movie would be a total dud.
There was some things I liked about it. Like Leatherface's new rock star look and it's also great to see Viggo Mortensen in an early role, who did a really chilling performance. And I would also like to mention the climax. Nothing was going on in this movie up until this point, so I liked how they build up the tension and kept the action at a high level.
But sadly, the rest of the movie.....drags. It takes a while to get use to the main characters and surroundings but it's a chore to get through.
It's not a bad movie by any means but it could've been better, that's all I can say about it really.
The Story: Michelle and Ryan, a young couple from California, are on their way to Florida when they are suddenly involved in a car wreck with a survivalist named Benny. While on their way to find help, they are eventually terrorized by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and his psychotic, cannibalistic family. So Michelle, Benny, and Ryan must find a way to survive the night.
The cast was actually pretty decent though there were only minor actors that were KIND OF bad, like the gas station attendant in particular. But overall, the main cast was pretty solid.
There's really nothing for me to say about the Michelle character, although I think she is the most badass of the final girls in the franchise.
Just like Stretch from the last movie, she doesn't just cower and scream all the time, she takes charge and fights like hell. Again, there's not much to say after that but it's worth to see her kick some ass a little. To me I feel that Kate Hodge brought more to the role. I don't know, I just think she is a very talented actress and wished she'd be around more.
Ken Foree is the real show stopper, bringing great strengths and intensity for the role of Benny.
Unfortunately, there's not much about Benny but he is by far the coolest character in the movie. Just like Michelle, he takes no crap and uses his survivalist skills to his advantage. But I would also like to mention the epic fight scene between him and Viggo Mortensen. It's probably the best moment of the film.
Speaking of Viggo Mortensen, he really brought a menacing charm to his character. He is, of course, the normal looking one in the family (and quite good-looking, too), so it would be easier for him to lure victims. He is also oddly calm, not at all bat-shit bonkers like the family in the pervious two movies. And it's no doubt that later on Viggo Mortensen would be an Oscar nominee and will be widely known in the Lord Of The Ring Trilogy.....also distributed by New Line.
The Gas Station Attendant. Do I have to talk about this guy? Really? He has no relevance to the plot other than to be a rip-off of the Hitchhiker. And by the way, I have no I idea what the hell this guy is saying for the rest of the film.
Finally, I would like to introduce to you the head-bashing, chainsaw-wielding, face-wearing Leatherface. First of all his look is spot-on. He's very menacing and could crush a guy in two. the look sort of brings back the intimidating aura of Leatherface in the original.
Though besides the new scary look, he is still child-like and is willing to take care of his family, which makes the character complex.
There is one huge debacle that is on everybody's mind, is whether the little blond girl is Leatherface's daughter or not but I think it remains a mystery. I think Leatherface is too naïve to know about sex, though. Some claim the little girl might be a child of rape, however, that's too much of a heavy subject to touch upon.
I think RA Minailoff put a lot of heart into the role, embracing the raw, intense energy that Gunnar Hensen had in the first film.
The suspense, however, is kind of flat. There are moments where certain scenes are intense like the re-creation of the dinner scene but other than that the pacing was just too slow to have any impact on me.
The biggest complaints about the movie from fans is the lack of gore. To be honest, I'm not a huge gore hound. I feel that when a horror movie has a lot of blood and gore, it's a style over substance thing. It kind of loses impact whether it would go that route though only if it's intentionally or supposed to be over-the-top. But upon looking at the uncut version of this....boy, did it needed it. I think it would've made the movie more watchable and although I do appreciate the original film's subtle approach to gore, I think more of it would've help this sequel better.
Now For Some Trivia:
Here's a Freddy and Jason Connection!
William Butler is the only actor I know to appear with Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface. He starred in F13: The New Blood (alongside Jennifer Banko), did an episode on Freddy's Nightmares, and now he's being menaced by Leatherface in this sequel.
The original script was much more brutal with more explicit gore and high-octane violence. However, New Line objected some of the scenes and ordered to reduce the script.
The film was submitted to the MPAA a whooping 11 times before they passed it as an R-rating.
Here's another Freddy and Jason connection. Kane Hodder(Jason Voorhees) was a stunt coordinator for the film, even wearing the mask in one scene. So that makes him the only actor to portray Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface.
Benny was to originally die in the original cut of the film but test audiences loved the character, so it explains how he survived a chainsaw to the head, only having a wound that is a size of a paper cut.
The film was originally slated to be released November 1, 1989 but was pulled back because of the problems with MPAA. And like I mentioned earlier with the decline of certain horror franchises, it pretty much dodged that bullet.
But it still didn't help as the film didn't made money at the box office, only ranking in 5,765,562, which made back the movie's budget but wasn't the money maker everybody expected to be.
The film was met with really bad reviews with some citing it as "just another generic slasher." Which I honestly agree. There was just nothing to offer at this point. Besides some good performances from the main cast, all we got is just a mediocre film. The only good I have to say about it is the climax. Although, you really have to be patient enough to get through the rest of the film.
So not a bad film or anything, it's just very forgettable.
My Last Word: It's watchable enough but it's nothing really to dwell upon.