The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Collector’s Edition)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Jessica Biel as Erin
Jonathan Tucker as Morgan
Erica Leerhsen as Pepper
Mike Vogel as Andy
Eric Balfour as Kemper
Andrew Bryniarski as Thomas Hewitt (Leatherface)
R. Lee Ermey as Sheriff Hoyt
David Dorfman as Jedidiah
Lauren German as Teenage Girl
Terrence Evans as Old Monty
Marietta Marich as Luda May
Heather Kafka as Henrietta
Kathy Lamkin as Tea Lady in Trailer
Brad Leland as Big Rig Bob
John Larroquette as Narrator

Special Features:
Collectible metal plaque cover

Crime city photos

Deleted scenes

Alternate opening & closing

Chainsaw Redux: in-depth documentary

Gein: The Ghoul of Planifield documentary

3 filmmaker commentaries with producer Michael Bay, director Marcus Nispel and others

Cast screen tests

Art gallery

DVD-ROM Content including script-to-screen

7 TV spots & trailers

Music video

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS ES Surround Sound
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is a remake of the 1974 film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

In 1973, a group of college students are returning from a trip to Mexico. On their way through Texas, Erin, Morgan, Pepper, Andy, and Kemper happen across a woman wandering aimlessly on a country road. When they pick her up, she quickly becomes panicked and unexpectedly commits suicide. Unsure of what to do, they stop at a gas station run by an old woman. She calls the sheriff and directs them to an old abandoned mill to meet him.

Upon arriving at the mill with the dead body, the group finds themselves in a surreal world full of strange children, randomly discarded human body parts, and toothless rednecks. But worst of all is Thomas Hewitt who will eventually become their worst nightmare.

This film is rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and drug content.

The Movie:
If you like horror films, you’ll probably really enjoy this Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. However, I’m not a big fan of horror films and this one reminded me why. The film is sick, twisted, gory, and rather disturbing. Those are all important keys to any film of the horror genre, but they also made me wonder what kind of twisted mind could come up with this stuff. What makes the movie so disturbing is that it hits on so many basic human fears. They show someone being chased, kidnapped, stabbed, cut with a chainsaw, pursued by toothless inbred rednecks, etc etc etc. It’s the stuff of nightmares. It takes someone with their screws loosened just right to enjoy that stuff, and you people already know who you are.

I never saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so I can’t say how this remake compares to the original. However, I have seen enough horror movies to appreciate how often it has been copied since. This remake sticks to the original slasher flick formula and gives it a little bit of a modern overhaul.

My distaste for horror movies aside, I do appreciate that this was a well made movie. Every frame of the film is creepy and they do some interesting camera shots, especially during the suicide scene. The sets are especially disturbing and they make you want to tell the characters to run the other way when they approach them. The cast is also good. Jessica Biel is well cast as Erin. She not only handles the characterization scenes well, but also the screaming and the running. R. Lee Ermey is his typical self as Sheriff Hoyt, but that ends up being perfect for what is needed in this movie. He’s so completely psycho that it’s laughable. As a fun tip of the hat to the original, John Larroquette returns in the role of narrator like he was in the 1974 film.

In the end, this movie seems to be a good remake. It is well made and appropriately creepy. All that being said, you’re only going to like this film if you’re a horror fan. Others will probably be really disgusted like I was. You have been warned!

The Extras:
Since this is a “Collector’s Edition,” New Line piled on the extras for this DVD:

Collectible metal plaque cover – I have to say that this seems to be a waste of money. It’s not particularly special, it tends to get in the way, and I’d hardly call it collectible. Including it was a nice thought, but the money was probably better spent elsewhere.

Crime city photos – This is a little envelope included in the case filled with postcards. They show a few images from the “crime scene” in the film. It’s a cute gimmick, but not that impressive.

Deleted scenes, Alternate opening & closing – There are 5 or so deleted scenes (or “Severed Parts” as they call them) included on this DVD. You can watch them separately or in part of a documentary featuring director Marcus Nispel. One features an alternate opening and closing where we see Erin in 2003 living in a mental hospital. A reporter interviews her and we see that Leatherface is still on the loose. Another deleted scene shows a slightly gorier version of the suicide scene. Meanwhile, another shows more of the young boy Jedidiah. One of the more important deleted scenes reveals that Erin was pregnant thus explaining why she didn’t party so hard in Mexico. That also made her sense of desperation even more important and added to the sense of loss when her boyfriend is killed. A final deleted scene is an alternate ending to the movie. In it, we see Leatherface in 2003 escaping from a SWAT team closing in on him. Nispel explains why all of these scenes were cut.

Chainsaw Redux: in-depth documentary – This is a 1 hour 16 minute documentary on the making of the movie. It covers everything from the 1974 version through the casting and filming up until the recent release. They talk with Michael Bay, director Marcus Nispel, all the cast, and more. It covers everything you could possibly ask for about the making of the movie. It is also very candid. They show people saying before it was released how they thought it would suck. They talk about executives freaking out when Harry Knowles showed up on the set. They talk about arguments on the set and more. They also talk about how fun it was to make the movie. (The cast do hilarious impressions of Marcus Nispel.) I was particularly amazed to see that they hardly decorated their locations at all. Overall, this is a first rate documentary.

Gein: The Ghoul of Planifield documentary – Ed Gein inspired a lot of horror movies, so it’s only fitting to have this documentary about him here. This is almost creepier than the movie itself because it all really happened. Gein inspired the most horrific moments in Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and more. When they claim this movie was “based on a true story”, this is the guy they were basing it on. The documentary is filled with experts talking about Gein, photos of the man, and crime scene photos of his victims. It’s very gory, but still morbidly fascinating.

3 filmmaker commentaries with producer Michael Bay, director Marcus Nispel and others – The commentaries are broken up into three different ones – one concerning the technical aspects, one on the production, and one on the story. Each of these commentaries features a ton of different people speaking about the movie. It is quickly apparent that they were recorded at different times because they all sound different. Each person also has their name stated before they talk. It’s good for keeping the discussion flowing, but the speakers don’t always talk about what’s happening on the screen. Speakers on the commentaries include Michael Bay, Marcus Nispel, Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, and others.

Cast screen tests – Three screen tests are shown. They include those for Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, and Erica Leerhsen.

Music video – This is the music video for “Suffocate” by Motograter. It shows the members of the band in Leatherface’s party room. I didn’t care for the music, but the video has a good look to it.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, this movie is for horror fans only. All others should stay well away.

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