Saturday, July 16, 2011

REVIEW: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

The third Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie…are you done vomiting yet? I’ll wait.

OK, well if you are, maybe we can actually start this review and get it over with, because I don’t think I’ve wanted to be done with something this badly in a long time. I mean, really, how much lower can you go than Texas Chainsaw Massacre anyway? Who really watches this crap? What’s the audience; mongoloids with sloped foreheads? Rocks? Blank walls? Your kitchen utensils? There’s nothing in any of the sequels to the original masterpiece that should interest anyone with a brain – I’m not even exaggerating; these movies are the bottom of the whole godforsaken barrel. It’s a shame because the first one is one of the all time genre classics. But after that it’s like, “hey, we can coast on the controversy of the first one and nobody will care as long as it’s gory and set in Texas!” And shame on them for not trying harder.

Director: Jeff Burr (Yes, the same guy who made Pumpkinhead 2, for the 0.0001% of you wondering...)
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Ken Foree, Kate Hodge

Before the film starts, we get a scrolling information screen detailing the back story of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, which is about as useful as a broken rubber band – oh, except to remind us how great the first one was. To add to the pointlessness, it’s delivered in such a boring voice that it just becomes incredibly bland to listen to. And since I’ve wasted a whole paragraph before the movie’s even really started, you know I'm just stalling you to try and get out of talking about the rest of it. But I suppose I must...

So the movie begins with a shot of some chick getting the ax in typical slasher fashion, which is so short before the title screen cuts in that I probably shouldn’t even mention it. And the title of the movie is ‘Leatherface,’ even though they never call him that during the actual movie? Did the producers even look at this before they let it out of the gates? I mean I know this garbage is hard to watch, but really they're just making it so much easier for me to make fun of this movie.

Then we’re introduced to our main characters, who I’m sure have names, but I’m just going to call them Generic Boy and Generic Girl. They’re driving along listening to info dump radio (conveniently telling them what they need to know for the plot to have some context), which tells them that a bunch of dead bodies have been found in a pit which is slowing down traffic. I also love how the guy is like, “It could be worse, we could be in that body pit.” Thanks, movie; having him “humorously” undermine the horrific deaths of dozens of people is a great way to make the audience not care whether he, a main character, lives or dies. Real classy.

Then it’s nighttime suddenly, because I guess they couldn’t have just shot that whole scene at night, and they pass by the burial site and see all the bodies. It’s a pointless scene and quickly just fades into the next day anyway…they run over an armadillo in the road and the girl is too scared to put it out of its misery, so the guy does it for her. Enjoy this while it lasts, folks; it’s the most emotional death in the movie.

Alas, poor armadillo...

Then they go to one of those seedy gas stations on the side of the road that are always in movies like this, and which I bet have lost real life gas stations a ton of money. The guy goes for the world’s longest bathroom break while the girl is harassed by some weirdo. Luckily, he’s stopped by Viggo Mortensen, who was just starting out at the time. I think we can consider it a stroke of supreme luck that he had a career at all after this…anyway, he gets in a fight with the weirdo who was already there, and I’m surprised how miniscule an impact a scene involving a guy going crazy and shooting a gun in the air can have. You’d think it would be at least a little bit interesting, or shocking. It isn’t.

Our two milquetoast morons get out of there before anything really bad happens, and the screen then cuts to nighttime, when the crazy guy from the gas station gets his truck and starts to go out and look for them! I’m dead serious – even though the kids left in the middle of the day, it took the crazy guy until NIGHTFALL to even get in his car and go after them. But it’s not like he can actually catch up to them, right? I mean they must be long gone by now…oh, who am I kidding?


Logic: it’s overrated!

So yeah, the crazy dude in his big truck damages the main characters’ car and they pull over and try to fix the wheel. But they get attacked again, this time by Leatherface, and have to run, even though the car isn’t properly fixed yet. The girl refuses to stop and fix the car even though she KNOWS not doing it will eventually result in something bad happening, too. I know if they stop, there’s a better chance of getting caught and everything, but they get ambushed by Viggo Mortensen afterward anyway, and end up crashing.

They’re saved by a black man named Benny, who is really quite an enigma, as he literally has NO CHARACTER AT ALL. Where did he come from? Where was he going? What’s his personality? None of that matters; he’s just ‘random character thrust awkwardly into the movie at the half hour mark.’ Hooray for great character writing. He actually becomes the focus of the movie for a good 10 minutes or so, believe it or not, as he dukes it out with Leatherface and exchanges words of wisdom with a crazy girl who watched the second TCM sequel for too long.

Eugh...that's enough to make anyone go crazy. Still better than the 4th one though...

Actually it’s because she ran in with Leatherface before and had some of her friends killed or something, but that doesn’t matter and I will continue to humorously make fun of this film and its characters however I see fit! Anyway, she dies shortly after, so what the hell was the point? To establish that Leatherface kills people? Well golly gee gosh, I had no idea.

So in case you forgot who the actual main characters are in that excursion, we see Generic Girl finds a house where a little girl who works with the Leatherface family is waiting at the top of the stairway for her to stab her when she got close enough. And if Generic Girl had not come inside the house...then I guess the little girl would have just stood there waiting forever. Seriously, some of these horror movie set ups are implausibly ridiculous.

She gets kidnapped by the Leatherface family and has her hands nailed to a chair, and a gag put in her mouth. They pretty much partake in what happens in every TCM movie ever – they annoy her and laugh like schoolgirls while she moans and whines a lot. That’s it; about as scary as your little brother's 7th birthday party that you had to supervise or else you'd be grounded. But wait; there must be some way we can make this more annoying! How about…adding a character that talks with a robotic voice-box machine and thus grates on my every last nerve:

Having a character with a voice box machine automatically makes your movie more irritating - it seems like good movies just don't have them.

…and have Leatherface playing with a little hangman computer game thing on which he keeps trying the same (wrong) word OVER AND OVER AGAIN and making the machine make a sound, and annoying the ever-loving crap out of anyone watching, because, ooooh, it’s funny! Except it’s really about as funny as herpes. Seriously, who thinks just having a noise repeat over and over is humorous? What kind of cretins wrote this? I’m reaching my breaking point here, people!

Aren't our late 80s video games funny? It's because they're pop culture references in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie!  Do you get it?!?
Ooh, now he's frustrated! It's funny because he's an intimidating and depraved killer playing with a kids' toy. LAUGH AT US, DAMN YOU! LAUGH!

So yeah, the black guy Benny is still in the movie – surprised? He takes a gun and shoots up the Leatherface house indiscriminately. He could have almost killed the main chick, who is still tied up at this point, but he doesn’t care. She gets herself out, because he’s apparently such a half assed hero that he can’t even do it himself. He’s too busy fighting Leatherface in the water in the swamp and getting chainsaw’d in the face. And how do chainsaws even work in the water anyway? Forget about that – you do want this movie to be over soon, don’t you? This review is already too long for what this movie is worth.

Another of the movie's problems is that everything is just so DARK. It's hard to even see this half the time!

Both characters survive pretty well intact. We see that Generic Girl made her way out of the swamp and into the desert road again, where she’s met by Benny who is driving the truck…so how did he survive that chainsaw in the face again? He probably just used the mystical powers of the Necronomicon – makes about as much sense as anything else.

That expression of pain? It's actually from being associated with this movie in my review.

It turns out the gas station weirdo survived too, even though we saw him earlier also being drowned in the swamp – what, does that lake just have magical regeneration powers? It’s like everyone who’s injured in it can just…come back to life! Gas station weirdo attacks them, is killed easily (and incredibly pointlessly – what’s the point in showing this scene when it didn’t have ANY impact on ANYTHING?), and they go off into the sunset leaving us with the last line, “There’s a lot of roadkill in Texas.” Yeah, totally worth it, right? You know what else there's a lot of in Texas? Sand, for the makers of this movie to go bury their heads in in shame.

This movie is wretched and worthy of no respect from anyone. I haven’t seen a worse movie since the other Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels. There’s barely any plot, the film has as much flow as a scatter-point line graph and the characters and acting are all banal as hell. It’s awful; really, really awful, and you’d do well to avoid this miserable excuse for a movie at any cost. I’d rather eat a porcupine and follow it up with a glass of Drano than watch this crap again!

…well, OK, I guess I’d rather watch this crap again than eat a porcupine and follow it up with a glass of Drano; that would just be silly and painful. And probably life threatening.