I’ve seen a few minutes here and there of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), but never sat down to watch it, partly because I’d never seen the real deal from 1974. Now that I’ve lost my virginity on that one, I continue the TCM binge.

I’m watching this thinking it’s similar but not the same, like a strange bout of Déjà vu or even a dark overlay dimension where you think you know where you are, but you’re not in Kansas anymore. The Hewitt family like the Sawyers and Slaughters are freakish and creepy.

This version of events has its perks, including seeing Leatherface without his mask; I guess he has a skin ailment and that is the reason for the mask. His motive is revenge killing because of the way he’s been treated by “pretty” people. I guess this means that the Hewitt’s aren’t cannibals like the Sawyers in the original reality, but that remains unclear in this version of events.

I liked this chapter, and I give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) takes us back thirty-four years to 1939 before the massacre took place. It shows the birth of Thomas Hewitt aka Leatherface, who was born in a slaughterhouse, then discarded in a dumpster because he’s malformed and gross. The opening credits show his childhood years in flashes filled with wonderful visuals, and I wish they would’ve focused more on this part of his life than regurgitating the same thing.

After the initial shock and awe, the movie turned into the standard teen slasher horror flick. It fits into the cookie cutter style that I’ve grown to love and hate for so many reasons. What would a horror movie be without TNA? Oh, and I almost forgot the “protagonists” are pretty, white kids, at least one of them is Matt Bomer, who entranced me in American Horror Story: Hotel.

The initial mask is cool with pieces of canvas sewn together, showing part of his face. They kept the set from the previous chapter. However, they should’ve aged it more in the 2003 movie since it is thirty-four years later.  One scene was lost on me, but I guess they had to get to it somehow; it’s toward the beginning, but I won’t mention which one.

This movie doesn’t offer anything new, only giving a basic backstory of Leatherface’s life and the Hewitt’s in general, but at least they confirm that they are cannibals. The thrills and gore are good though, so I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars, too.

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) opens with footage from the 1974 film, and supposedly where it left in “actual” events mentioned in the ending narration. It’s weird having all those people in the house; I don’t understand who they are, they weren’t there in the original. They did come close to replicating the original meat-mask, but they tried too hard. At least, they returned to the original name of Sawyer.

Decades later, we meet Heather, who is a butcher, and decorates art with bones, an exciting family trait as it’s no mystery who she is, though she doesn’t know at this point. For being a Sawyer, she’s hot, how is that possible from that clan? The tie-ins from previous movies are cool, some as insignificant as a dead armadillo.

I’m concerned about the timeline as it seems they hopped too far into the future. If Heather were a baby in 1974, then she would’ve been a young adult in the mid-90s, and in 2013 she would’ve been in her mid-40s. Then there’s Leatherface. In ’74 he was, what, early twenties? In the mid-90’s he’d be 40ish, but in 2013 he’d be at least sixty, running around like he’s thirty.

Had they kept the timeline straight I would’ve given Texas Chainsaw 3D more stars, but because of that, I can only give 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

The next and currently final in the TCM franchise is Leatherface (2017) not to be confused with Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) is a prequel to the original 1974 film. The Sawyer family is much how I would expect, interbred and freakish. Even Lili Taylor’s character, Verna Sawyer, is demented, which is fun to see her play a role like this.

This movie is more of what I expected from the 2006 “prequel,” showing the story of young Jeddiah. In the initial scenes, he’s eight, and then they jump ahead ten years with him in a mental ward where he is known as Jackson. The story is unexpected, not going the way I had thought it would, and I like it for the most part. There are details that I would’ve omitted and added, but all in all, I liked it. The explanation for his face being mangled made more sense to me than a birth defect or skin disorder.

Leatherface had a good story, and I enjoyed most of it, so I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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