Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult-classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remains one of the most controversial and influential additions to the horror genre. Partially inspired by the real-life exploits of notorious serial killer Ed Gein, the film introduced audiences to the character of Leatherface – a cannibalistic madman who wears the skin of his victims and tortures anyone unlucky enough to cross paths with him and the rest of his inbred family.
Three sequels followed the original TCM, with each installment taking a significant dip in quality. In 2003, Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes began their streak of churning out flashy remakes of landmark horror films with a new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed by Marcus Nispel (Conan The Barbarian).
The commercial success of the remake paved the way for a 2006 prequel appropriately titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. It received overwhelmingly negative reviews and took in less than half of its predecessor’s gross. Still, Platinum Dune briefly considered making a third film set in the remake’s continuity, but ultimately scrapped the idea. The future of the franchise was called into question until producer Carl Mazzocone (Repo! The Genetic Opera) secured the rights to the property.
Back in November, Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate were reportedly developing a new entry called Leatherface 3D, which would pick up immediately after the events of the 1974 original. The project now looks to be a joint venture between Lionsgate and their frequent production partner Nu Image. Yesterday, the studio issued a press release confirming that the new film (now titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D) would begin shooting this June and that John Luessenhop (Takers) is in talks to direct.
Although it’s described as a direct follow-up to the original, attempting to figure out how this latest installment will be connected to the previous films becomes a little bit murky when Mazzocone describes his enthusiasm for the project:
“I’m excited to re-conceive this iconic horror classic in a contemporary setting for a new generation of horror fans to enjoy … Our story picks up where the original left off. Both John Luessenhop and I intend to deliver a new chapter derived from Tobe Hooper’s 1973 masterpiece with the goal of making it as horrifying as the original — in 3D!”
Please note, that’s not a typo – the press release is incorrect about the date of the original film. Regardless, is anyone else curious to see how The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D will manage to take place in a contemporary setting and pick up immediately after the first film? If you’re a fan of this franchise, then this approach probably sounds a lot like the disastrous 1994 sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. That film basically ignored the events of the previous two sequels and was simultaneously a follow-up to the original film and a remake of it.
Interestingly, this has to be one of the only instances where a series eschews its revised continuity and reverts back to its original timeline (perhaps the producers of the Halloween franchise will take note). It all seems needlessly complicated, but maintaining a cohesive mythology probably isn’t all that important in the long run. All you really need is the iconic Leatherface character, a fresh crop of young victims-to-be, and the assertion that anyone trying to make sense of this nonsense is probably over-thinking it.
In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated on the development of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.