Tuesday, October 28, 2014

it was supposed to be a spiritual experience

Note #1 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is set according to the titlecard at the beginning May 22, 1996. Depending on how you look at it, it was released either in 1994 (which for how I’ve been watching these films puts it a few days ago, between Jason Goes to Hell and New Nightmare) or 1997—it had two releases and, if I remember it rightly, barely even got released.

Note #2 - At this point, the slasher film is dead. Jason’s dead. Freddy’s dead, briefly meta-revived, then dead again. The two of them are partying it up in Hell planning a crossover film that would take a decade to come to fruition. Michael has, depending on the edit of Curse of Michael Myers either been beaten mostly to death then maybe kinda disappeared and/or killed Dr. Loomis or left Dr. Wynn for dead, finally changed his own look, and walked off into the metaphorical sunset (actually a long hallway that inexplicably has very few doors). Michael’s not dead, but he’s free; the curse may have moved on to Danny Strode, and the job of looking after him has moved on to Dr. Loomis (meaning Loomis is not in a position to want to stop Michael even if he were still killing people—and since I argued that Michael was enjoying his job, it’s safe to say he might still be interested in killing people, Thorn curse or not. But anyway, I’ve previously framed the slasher film as a sort of response to the women’s movement of the 1960s, notions about gender equality challenging what it meant to be a man or a woman, masculine or feminine.

(Meanwhile, are those fake breasts the woman flashes the first nudity in the Texas Chainsaw films? There has been implied offscreen sex before—plus that Leatherface/Stretch bit in 2—but I don’t recall any nudity.)

Leatherface belongs in a slasher film, but these films just aren’t quite slasher films.

(Really, the Texas Chainsaw films, while they generally get lumped together with slasher films, don’t quite fit the usual mold. Too few victims, not enough inferable commentary on gender roles/relations. There is the psychosexual fury, sure, but is that enough? Or is that an aspect to any horror film, maybe? Is all horror inherently sexual? The Texas Chainsaw films are closer to The Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn, with the classist urban vs. rural underpinnings. While the slasher film generally takes place in a more rural location, it isn’t necessarily a requisite detail.)

Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, Oscar-caliber actors, and he’s hamming it up and she’s barely registering. It’s interesting that the later release of this film was delayed to cash in on her Oscar win, but his people tried to keep the film from being released.

(Finally, a chain saw, almost 40 minutes in.)

I’ve mentioned before how many later-big name actors had parts in slasher films. While this film isn’t very good, I’m not sure why it should be such a horrible thing to have on one’s resume...

Actually, I take that back. Almost immediately after typing it, I take it back. This movie should be offensive to pretty much anyone who lives in rural Texas—since they are nothing but mentally deranged and/or deficient killers in this film. The helpless young kids who wandered into their territory don’t fare much better. McConaughey and Zellweger are both from Texas, so, yeah, they should probably distance themselves from this thing.

Possibly even worse, considering what is happening in this film, why the lack of gore? I mean, for example, I have no idea what Vilmer just did to Heather. Bit her somewhere on her face, I guess... ah, later, we see a little bit of blood on her nose

Then the film goes crazy.

4 comments:

  1. Gore is an interesting subject. For instance, Scream has a lot of IMPLIED gore but there's not that much ACTUAL gore. Do you feel a slasher film should have actual gore or is implied gore enough?

    It's also an interesting question about whether every horror film is about sex. I wouldn't say EVERY horror film is about sex, but I would say there is definitely a sexual subtext to most. Puberty, procreation and parturition are all pretty freaky when you think about it. And it's fairly obvious why most slasher films are about teens. I don't think ALL horror is inherently sexual. I don't know if you've ever seen the 1945 Ealing horror Dead of Night-- it's one of my favourite horrors and every horror fan I know loves it. It's hard to see a sexual subtext in that one.

    By the way, do you mind my capital letters? I feel a need for emphasis occasionally.

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    1. gore: I do not find it to be necessary, but the combination of this particular film being a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film and it being the mid-90s--gore had been increasing, if for no other reason, because the effects has gotten easier over time--THIS film should have had more gore. even though the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre mostly implied its gore, this film barely even does that.

      sex: maybe it's not SEX specifically, but I am finding that just about any movie has something to say about sexuality or gender, especially slasher films, and probably all horror films. looking at a description for Dead of Night, it seems like something I have seen, but a long time ago, so I can't speak to it specifically.

      capital letters: HAVE AT IT

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    2. this review of Dead of Night--http://www.sfx.co.uk/2014/02/21/dead-of-night-review/--suggests:

      "There’s meat for a PhD on sexual politics in the third section too, in which an effete leading man of the sort now extinct finds that his antique mirror reflects a different room, then gets a burst of testosterone, possessed by a murderous spirit and driven to jealous violence against his wife."

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