Seven films. 39 years. One entry on Matthew McConaughey’s resume worse than “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” It’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie franchise, kids, and it’s out for blood. Again. This weekend. In the year 20-freakin-13. IN 3D.
Yes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D opens this weekend in theaters everywhere [where people don't really care about how they spend $11]. Don’t get me wrong: I love a grisly, violent, far-fetched, D-grade horror flick as much as the next girl. But even I have to ask why on God’s green Earth they are still making Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies? I want–nay, I need–you to help me understand, MamaPop nation. For my peace of mind. To restore my faith in humankind. So I can explain it to my daughter in ten years when they are certain to be releasing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Princess Diaries or whatever comes next in this oh-so-muddled narrative.
Don’t tell me it’s for the money. The whole gaggle of films (they’re not exactly a series as much as a bundle of reboots) has only earned $203 million overall. That’s not even a fraction of your mega movie franchises. Hell, anything with “Fast” or “Furious” in the title has earned over $1.5 BILLION. And even among horror movies, it’s not doing so hot, ranked as the eighth all-time top earning brands [in a genre that has only nine plots not stolen from Japan].
Don’t tell me it’s public hunger to see what Leatherface and his cannibal kin will do next. They will eat you. Tah-dah!
Don’t pin it on public fascination with serial killer/taxidermy enthusiast/bad date Ed Gein, a loose (like “glass eyeball in a stuffed owl” loose) inspiration for Chainsaw anti-hero Leatherface. People have Psycho, Ed Gein, and any number of TV specials hosted by Bill Kurtis to satisfy their prurient interest in old Ed.
And, finally: spare me the film school clap-trap that all these reboots somehow pay homage to the original 1974 Tobe Hooper gris-fest achieving the impossible – opening doors for low-budget, truly independent, out-of-left-field film-making. Hooper wasn’t truly the first and Carpenter’s Halloween would do it better and bigger only four years later.
No. None of this justifies making the exact same movie in 1974, 1986, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2006, and 2013.
So there can be only one explanation. And it’s what you should tell your kids, their friends, and everyone you pass: people who make movies think we are incredibly stupid and bored. And the only way we can convince them we’re not is by encouraging anyone you know with a handheld camera, access to a computer, and a dream to pick up the corn syrup and start making their horror own films. If you hand out enough latex (ahem) and seed enough ambition by encouraging the creative kids–or old folks–in your life, SOMEONE is bound to make it in the margins of Hollywood where horror movies are made. Why not find some shady, bloodthirsty young person and mentor them to earn an MBA and become a wealthy investor…who can funnel their cash to movies full of new ideas and new leather-bound maniacs.
Someone, please save the American horror movie for me. (And meanwhile I will totally save you a set of 3D glasses…)