Friday, October 30, 2015

31 Nights of Terror 2015 #36 - Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)
Director: Jeff Burr
Starring: Kate Hodge, Ken Foree, R.A. Mihailoff
Format: VHS

Plot: A couple encounters a perverted gas station attendant who threatens them with a shotgun. They take a deserted path in Texas to seek help, but only meet up with a cannibalistic clan interested in helping themselves to fresh meat.

This is the only of the original TCM movies that I don't own on DVD (it's long out of print and expensive). In fact, I thought I didn't own it at all, until I stumbled upon a VHS copy in a box. I hadn't watched it since it came out on VHS back in the day, so what better time to check it out than now.

I make it no secret that the first two TCM movies are among my very favourite horror films. The first is pure low budget horror and the second is campy fun. But unfortunately when the Sawyer clan bit the dust in part two, it created a problem for anyone wanting to make a further sequel. My preference would have been continuing the story by explaining that Leatherface got away and putting him with a new "family" or some relatives that we weren't aware of. In fact, that's how I like to look at this movie, despite the fact most people say it takes place in an alternative timeline.

Either way, Leatherface is the only carry over from the earlier movies, as he has a new Sawyer family, made up of a wheelchair-ridden "mother", a daughter (WTF?), and three brothers (one of whom is played by future Aragorn Viggo Mortensen). The mother and daughter are interesting, but the others just kind of fade into the background.

The protagonists are an annoying yuppie couple and a survivalist, the latter played by the always-entertaining Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead). Foree is one of the only real high points of this movie, as even Leatherface comes off as pretty boring in this one (and his make-up effects are shoddy).

Unfortunately the VHS of this movie was cut to pieces to get an R rating, so the version I watched was devoid of a lot of violence. In this form it came across as really short as well, as there's one big fight scene and then it's over. I must try to get hold of the unrated DVD at some stage, when it comes down in price.

But besides the obvious hackjob on the gore scenes, this movie has a lot of other problems, including some incredibly dumb moments. Leatherface can drive? Okay. His chainsaw can still run while underwater? Wow.

I'm usually very forgiving when it comes to TCM movies - I enjoy the remakes from recent years - but this one is just plain bad. It doesn't even have the camp factor of part 4. Unless you're a Texas Chainsaw completist, you're fine to skip over this one.

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