Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

A Month of Horror

I have always wanted to do a marathon of "HORROR" throughout the month of October, one where I would revisit a new horror movie every day from the first to the thirty-first.  I will revisit the classics as well as new entries into the canon.  There are many movies that define this time of year, and I hope to showcase 31 of them this month...

October 17: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Tobe Hooper's original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" from 1974 spawned three direct sequels, and a fourth that will be released in January of 2013.  The original movie was exceptionally stark and harrowing - so believable that it was banned in many countries (it also happens to be another film on the infamous "Video Nasties" list).

When a remake was first announced, my initial thought, was why?  Why mess with a classic?  When the first trailer was revealed, I was surprisingly optimistic all of a sudden - the trailer was extremely well edited and portrayed a few key things: it was set in the same time frame, and looked like what a remake should: more polished, more professional, and slightly revisionist without veering too far from what made the original a classic.

The remake begins with a similar introduction, this time a crime scene walk through at the Hewitt residence on August 20, 1973, where five teen aged bodies have been discovered...

From there it sticks close to the original plot, but it also veers off enough to provide a bit of character building and plot development.

One of the most memorable aspects of this film is the cinematography by Daniel Pearl.  He manages to capture the both the arid heat and vast expanses of the Texas desert, as well as the eerie shadows and ominous darkness of the Hewitt mansion, in a way that truly helps sell the story of the five youth destined for trouble once the movie cuts back to two days prior to the police investigation.

While not as starkly terrifying as the original, this is an excellent revisitation of the same themes and aspects that made the original, and by extension "Leatherface" such iconic entries into the evolving landscape of Hollywood horror.

If you do decide to check out this beautifully shot, and capably retold sequel, make sure you also give the gritty and nasty original a chance as well.  they are both deserving of your time.

Tomorrow, I plan on heading south for a bizarre journey into Las Selva.  Bring your sunscreen, and leave the cellphones at home!

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