Forgotten Frights II: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

Forgotten Frights is back! To celebrate the second anniversary of our annual horror movie roundup, every weekday for the next month we're going to sound off on a scary good sequel (or, if we want some cheese with our corn syrup, a schlocky second), ruminating on the returns of our favourite monsters, murderers, heroes (or heroines), creepies, crawlies, chills and thrills.

What came before it: The hugely successful original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) centred around a cannibalistic family led by a killer carrying a chainsaw and wearing a human skin mask. The sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) is an overly-campy and silly version that reduced Leatherface to a lovesick and sexually confused monster, relying heavily on classic 80s cheese.

What remains: This sequel should have been the original sequel! This version is much closer to the feel and structure of the original. They keep the general plot outline and the whole Leatherface family is back, but with some additions. We meet Michelle and her boyfriend who are road tripping through Texas (always a good idea) and after being rerouted by a crime scene, stop at a gas station owned by a pervert (who else would own an almost-abandoned gas station?). When the pervert gets a little too creepy, a young, handsome hitch-hiker played by Viggo Mortensen, saves the day (seems legit). All goes wrong when the couple leaves and the hitch-hiker is shot by the gas station owner! It turns out the two strangers were in on it the whole time and as our leads soon find out, the strangers are more than perverts.

Why it deserves a second (or third, or fourth) chance:

  • This movie is worth it just for Viggo. He's creepy and charming at the same time and he wears a floral apron to save his shirts from blood splatter.
  • The family and the Leatherface house is just like the original (they kept the bone room!). The family has just a few additions but instead of being a strange, campy version of the original, they're a revamped but more realistic version.
  • There are so many more layers in this one. There are more characters (an escaped victim who is equally creepy as the family) and plots twists (are they dead or aren't they?!).
  • This version keeps the most important line from the first sequel, "The saw is family," but this time, it's engraved onto a brand new, custom made chainsaw.
  • This one is also creepier! Nothing beats the original but compared to the first sequel, this version is tense, gross and actually creepy, thanks to pretty good sets and mood lighting.
  • Just wait for the lake of bodies and the chainsaw fountain/fight scene.

By Isa Montagnese
Dream cast: Gene Wilder. That's it.

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