Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD

Hollywood’s necessity to reinvent its past is on display in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a remake of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic drive-in horror film about a group of young people who come face to face with a nightmarish, cannibalistic family living on the outskirts of civilization. What made the 1974 original so nerve racking was Hooper’s unrelenting style, pace, and desire to create a film that would work on more than one level.

Whereas Hooper went for visceral thrills, former music director Marcus Nispel goes for the visual, creating a film that is awash in crimson red and severed limbs. Ask anyone to describe Hooper’s film, and they’ll tell you how graphic and bloody it was. Graphic yes, but look closer and you’ll notice there’s really not that much blood. Hooper’s images were so unnerving (one victim gets speared on a meat hook, another is forced to satisfy a near-dead patriarch) that we believed that we saw more than we actually did.

Nispel knows that the current generation of horror fans won’t sit for that, and paints the screen with more gore, which all but obliterates the psychological undercurrent of the original. Even though Nispel has recaptured the doom and gloom look of Hooper’s film, what exists within that frame is pointless and annoying.

How many more times can filmmakers send out a van load of appealing young men and women to be slaughtered and still expect us to care. Even Hooper knew that the only way to follow-up his original was with an over-the-top, guts to the grater sequel. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” starring Dennis Hopper as a law man with a plan, was so extreme that it became self-parody.

“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” evolves into parody without even trying. Nispel may know where to put the camera for maximum effect, but has no discernable connection with his actors, who run from point A to point B with little sympathy or concern. Writer Scott Kosar tinkers with the formula, changing plot details hoping to catch fans of the first film off guard while serving up the same old dish of innards for new recruits.

Kosar skimps on the back story, hoping that anyone willing to pay to see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” will have seen the original, saving him and director Nispel the drudgery of rehashing plot points. Most of the changes seem geared to satiate modern horror fans who want a fast and furious fix, logic and history be damned.

“TEXAS” REDUXRemake cuts a path of familiarity


Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, R. Lee Ermey. Directed by Marcus Nispel. Rated R. 98 Minutes.


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