I don’t know how many sequels were made of the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ from 1974 but I suppose with a little research the answer would be easily enough discovered. Frankly, it’s of little importance because this is probably the version with most relevance as far as the story goes, picking up just after the end of the original movie. The people from the local town, enraged at the happenings in the Sawyer dwelling, go out in a frenzied mob to look for the ones responsible for the gruesome murders. Led by Mayor Burt Hartman, they shoot the place up and burn it down in a determined effort to destroy everyone. However, as you might guess, not everyone dies. One of the vigilantes takes a baby back home to his wife, presumably because they have been unable to make any children of their own.
The years pass and we cut to a young woman, Heather Miller. No prizes for guessing that she is the baby grown-up into an attractive young woman. Her connection to the family materialises when she is the sole benefactor of a will from her grandmother, Verna Carson. Along with her boyfriend, a couple of other young adults and the ubiquitous hitchhiker, they make out for the mansion. Then the predictable action begins! You know that they are all doomed, except for Heather of course and it is just a matter of waiting before the blood and guts start to make an appearance.
Don’t go down into the cellar. Something bad will happen if you do that. The hitchhiker, left on his own in the house, becomes a burglar. Loaded up with booty, he decides to venture down to the basement where he goes through a strange apartment with a locked door. Thinking something precious will be concealed inside, he manages to enter only to be brutally slaughtered. Leatherface has a penchant for removing the faces of his victims and sewing them onto his own face.
To cut a long story short, more people are murdered, they try to escape and then the Mayor and the police become involved. Thinking she would be helped, Heather is perplexed to find that the authorities don’t want to assist her but in fact wish to kill her along with any remaining members of the Sawyer family. There are lots of scary moments, brutal slayings including a man literally cut in two using a chainsaw. The scenes in the slaughterhouse are a trifle gory. After that, including the scene where the Mayor ends up in the meat grinder, we realise Heather becomes one of them.
Having watched the original, this is much changed in character. They don’t seem to be cannibals any longer and, whereas the whole community was involved originally, it now seems to be confined to just one family. This sequel is very much a teen-age scary movie, sanitised, if that’s possible to say under such circumstances, and more socially acceptably placed into a specific genre. This is not groundbreaking stuff. It’s rather predictable and essentially irrelevant.
There are quite a few extras on the Blu-ray including commentaries and documentaries which will be of interest to followers of chainsaw culture. Overall, the quality of acting and movie presentation is good, with plenty of action in the right places at the right time. There is also the twist at the end, the final coup de grace. Whether you liked it or not, the 1974 original was a milestone in horror movie history, making it rather impossible for sequels to come up to the same standard but this one is probably better than most. The Blu-ray will be out on the market at the end of May 2013 so it will be interesting to see how it is received.
(region 2 blu-ray: pub: Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd. B00AAXZ840. 91 minute blu-ray with extras. Price: £17.75 (UK))
cast: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Bill Moseley
check out website: www.lionsgatefilms.co.uk