The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

(Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, USA - 1994)

by Mike Lorefice

Cast: Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Jacks, Tonie Perensky, Joe Stevens
Genre: Horror
Director: Kim Henkel
Screenplay: Kim Henkel
Cinematography: Leevie Isaacks
Composer: Wayne Bell, Debbie Harry, Robert Jacks
Runtime: 86 minutes

Where do you begin when a movie is this incredibly awful? This script was so incoherent that to say an animal wrote it would be an insult to the intelligence of whatever animal you chose to pick on. Nothing about this movie made any sense or went anywhere. It was so bad that they didn't even bother trying to offer even the slightest bit of an explanation so the movie would have some semblance of closure. It began, bizarre things happened for reasons I doubt even the writer could explain, and then it ended, perhaps because they couldn't afford any more film or something. You know things are beyond awful when one of the big "highlights" of the movie is that the music by some no name band sounded half-decent in the background.

Usually these bad sequels get more and more violent to appease their waning audience, but that really didn't even happen here. Actually, in a way we got the opposite because Leatherface was no longer even reminiscent of Leatherface. Not only did he become pretty wimpy, but also he no longer wears his skin mask or cuts people up with the chainsaw. I was not a fan of the original, but at least it was fairly creepy. How terrified can we be of a cannibal family that's now eating some pizza that's not so mystic? It's much scarier that Julia Roberts won the Oscar for Best Actress before Jennifer Jason Leigh even earned (LOL) a nomination.

Perhaps the saddest thing about this movie is that Kim Henkel is behind it. Now, by no means to I have any respect for Kim Henkel, but he has been involved with every TCM movie, including co-writing the original with Tobe Hooper. In other words, this is not the typical situation like with The Exorcist where the first one was awesome, but the second one was a travesty because it was a "rethinking" and had no involvement from those whose vision made it great (in the case of the Exorcist, writer William Peter Blatty). Luckily, the third Exorcist was quite good because Blatty was back with his sequel to the first, totally ignoring the existence of the John Boorman debacle, but the point is the original creators had nothing to do with the awful second verse that was consistently different from the first in a bad way.

The badness of this movie becomes more and more amazing as years go by because it's two stars, Matthew McConaughey and particularly Renee Zellweger went on to do a lot of quality work (although Contact, which has one of the worst endings I can think of, is one of the most overrated films of the '90's). McConaughey seemed godlike here, probably because everything and everyone else were so awful that a good performance would seem worthy of one of those bogus awards. Be smart and don't subject yourself to this cruel and incredibly unusual punishment.




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