TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. (2022) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. (2022) DIRECTED BY DAVID BLUE GARCIA. BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY KIM HENKEL AND TOBE HOOPER.

STARRING SARAH YARKIN, ELSIE FISHER, MOE DUNFORD, MARK BURNHAM, ALICE KRIGE AND OLWEN FOUERE.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Question: What do you call Leatherface on a bus full of social influencers and millennial money-makers?

Answer: A good start…

Heh-heh-heh. I nicked that joke from PHILADELPHIA (1993) and WAR OF THE ROSES (1989), in which the original witticism reads as follows:

Question: What do you call a hundred lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?

Answer: A good start…

Lol. Anyway, I loved this movie, a ‘sequel’ to the original 1974 film which shocked and repulsed cinema-goers everywhere back in the day with its unrelenting gore and truly savage kills. Nowadays, of course, we watch blood and guts in films with eyes deadened from years and years of seeing horror movies become ever more violent, but just remember this: the Daddy of ‘em all was, and still is, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE of 1974.

I’ve heard that this sequel has received terrible reviews. Seriously, who cares? I loved the film. Having spent the last few weeks watching the millennial money-makers like fake socialite Anna Delvey (INVENTING ANNA) and con artist Billy McFarland (FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED) embarrassing themselves on Netflix, I was excited to see that TCM (2022) features the same type of people, whom I’m now able to recognise: young, trendy millennial hipsters who have these supposedly brilliant ideas- the Anna Delvey Foundation for Artists and the ill-fated Fyre Festival, to name a couple- and then pester and persuade rich millionaires to invest in them. Whether the ideas ever come to fruition is, of course, another matter.

In this version of TCM, the young money-makers have set their sights on a small, almost deserted wreck of a town in Texas called Harlow. It’s a town with a long history, and which still contains remnants from the Civil War like flags and memorials and statues, etc. Attitudes too, for all anyone knows…

The four main hipsters-slash-social influencers, Dante, his girlfriend Ruth, and two sisters called Melody and Lila, have singled out the town with a view to making it over into a sort of artistic and cultural hub. To which end, they’ve invited a busload of investors, social influencers and interested parties to Harlow to check out the place and get in the party mood on the tour bus.

When pretty much the first act committed by the four head hipsters is to get an old lady wrongly kicked out of her house, after which the old dear ups and promptly dies of the shock, well, you know things aren’t going to go great with the hipsters and their lofty schemes. It’s a bad omen, one of the ‘yoofs’ says, and, boy, she’s not wrong.

The old lady happens to have been the proprietor of a long-defunct orphanage, and her one remaining inmate just so happens to be the same Leatherface who brutally slaughtered Franklin, Jerry, Kirk and Pam all those years ago in the original film.

He’s not happy at the way that these four blow-ins have directly caused the death of the one woman who has cared for him all these long years since 1974 and who has probably shown him the only love he’s ever know. They’ve awoken a sleeping giant. God help us all…

The One Who Got Away, way back in 1974, was Sally Hardesty, who has the privilege of being one of the first ever ‘final girls’ in this kind of situation-slash-movie. Sally, now a tough, hardened Texas Ranger, has spent her whole life waiting to confront the evil Leatherface for what he did to her friends back then and for what she was personally put through during that whole nightmare and in the intervening years.

Her situation is very similar to Jamie Lee Curtis’s as Laurie Strode in the new HALLOWEEN movies. Laurie too has spent her life living in fear, simultaneously dreading and yet longing for the moment when she’s face-to-face with her tormentor, Michael Myers, again. It’s a terrible waste of the two women’s lives, in one way, and yet, in another way, who can blame them for wanting to take some of their power back?

I nearly died of shock when I heard that my long-time Facebook friend, Irish actress Olwen Fouere, plays the kick-ass Texas Ranger, Sally Hardesty. We’ve been FB friends for years and I knew she was an actress, but other than that our paths haven’t really crossed much; you probably know how that can happen. In fact, I thought she worked mostly in theatre, for which I know she’s won a ton of awards. She’s bloody brilliant as the driven Sally Hardesty.

She has long white-blonde hair, classic cheekbone-y features and a figure to rival Marilyn Burns’s, who played Sally in the original film. She’s got her Texas Ranger hat and her shotgun, her bootcut jeans and her cowboy boots, and she is ready to tear up the near-ghost town of Harlow when Leatherface starts his campaign of grisly terror against Dante, Ruth, Melody, Lila and their busload of live-streaming, show-us-something-we’ve-never-seen-before jaded YouTubers. Boy, are they gonna see something tonight that they ain’t never seen before; let’s hope their phones are all set to record…! Snigger. Dumb millennials…

It’s funny, in a good way, that the only two people who can really help the young ‘uns in their horrific predicament are both played by Irish actors. There’s the aforementioned Olwen Fouere, of French descent but definitely Irish, as the butt-larruping Sally Hardesty, and Moe Dunford as Richter, a hot Texan mechanic who befriends Lila, once the witness to a school shooting. Good on the Irish contingent, I say. Way to kick ass in the deadliest franchise of all time…

Olwen Fouere as Sally Hardesty gets one of the spookiest scenes in the film to herself, the one in which she inadvertently comes across a grotesquely hideous ‘shrine’ to Leatherface’s sort-of-adoptive Mommy that has the added bonus of featuring the actual corpse of the lady herself, sans her face… ‘I will fear no evil. I will fear no evil.’ Very reminiscent of FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH 2, which features a similar shrine to the unkillable one’s birth mommy, also starring the lady in question. Or at least her head…

I neither understand nor care why the film received such negative reviews, as I enjoyed it thoroughly myself. A couple of the quotes from critics were funny though:

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter: Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but gorehound fans who rejoice at watching people’s innards fall out of their bodies will find much to appreciate.

Brad Wheeler of The Globe And Mail: Texas Chainsaw Massacre is what it says it is. You have your Texas, your chainsaw, your massacre.

That last one is my favourite.

I love the close-knit, I’ll-never-leave-you relationship between the two sisters, Lila and Melody, by the way, and the ridiculous courage they find within themselves in order to fight the chainsaw-wielding maniac we so fondly call Leatherface. Let’s hope they don’t lose their heads when the chips are down.

I certainly hope there’ll be a sequel to this film, anyway. It’s great, gory fun, and there’s terrific scope there for a whole plethora of sequels. So what if it’s not the original 1974 movie? Nothing ever is, my friends. Nothing ever is.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

WRONG TURN. (2003) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

wrong turn

WRONG TURN. DIRECTED BY ROB SCHMIDT. WRITTEN BY ALAN MCELROY. STARRING DESMOND HARRINGTON AND ELIZA DUSHKU. MAKE-UP SPECIAL EFFECTS BY STAN WINSTON.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an excellent ‘backwoods’ horror film, ‘backwoods’ meaning a film where a bunch of young American ‘normals’ are travelling to a certain place for – usually – vacationary purposes, but they accidentally take the titular ‘wrong turn’ and end up in a hellish nightmare from which there seems to be no escape. And, for the unlucky few, there may well be no escape.

You can always rely on at least three young ‘uns out of the party of five – two loved-up couples and a single guy, usually the joker or the stoner – not surviving till the end of the movie. The only survivors are, for the most part, the nicest of the couples or the girl who’s not the skank, lol. We already know by now how most of these things go, as you can see.

WRONG TURN follows the formula but that’s no bad thing, because at least they do it well. It’ll put you in mind of DELIVERANCE, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES (both original and re-make), WOLF CREEK, MOTHER’S DAY and any other film you’ve ever seen where the young ‘uns have to battle ferociously with the indigenous natives of the seriously God-forsaken area in which they were misguided enough to get lost.

Chris Flynn is a handsome young clean-cut all-American medical student who seems to be travelling to a very important interview, maybe for an internship at a good hospital or something. An oil tanker spilling its load onto the main road causes Chris to unwisely take a back road he sees on a map at a gas station.

The gas station should have given him his first clue as to what kind of danger he’s letting himself in for. Rust-eaten and neglected with no working phones, it’s manned by a sneering, toothless native who delights in not warning Chris about the reason that Bear Mountain Road is not a popular choice with the local population…

On this self-same Bear Mountain Road, Chris’s car collides badly with another car. This is probably the most traffic Bear Mountain Road has seen in, like, forever. Both cars are totalled, and so Chris and the occupants of the other vehicle decide that they’re going to have to walk to the nearest house and telephone for help.

Francine and Evan, a loved-up couple from the second car, stay behind with their jalopy to smoke weed and have sex while the others go for help. We can feel that greedy, hungry eyes are watching the couple and suffice it to say that it’s the last sex-and-weed combo that these two poor unlucky kids are ever going to have. And their friends aren’t faring much better…

The remaining young ‘uns are Chris and a gorgeous, newly-unattached babe called Jess, played by Eliza Dushku from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and a couple called Scott and Carly. Scott is lovely and Carly is whingy and annoying, and you just know that Carly will get killed – if there’s any justice in the world at all – and that Chris and Jess, both ridiculously easy on the eye, are going to end up together.

Together they trek through the deserted roads of the backwoods until they come to the one house in the whole entire region to which they really should have given a big fat wide berth. If their first clue was the creepy, run-down gas station, then their second should certainly have been the eerie automobile graveyard that surrounds this ill-fated house.

Methinks that inside this accursed dwelling, the kids will find all sorts of tragic souvenirs that once belonged to the owners of these trashed vehicles. And that’s not all they’ll find either, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed.

It’s literally the house from hell and poor Chris, Jess, Scott and Carly are about to meet its three inhabitants, three brothers horrifically mutated from centuries of in-breeding. These lads make the Orcs from THE LORD OF THE RINGS look like Dean Martin in his finest, suavest tux. I’m telling you, you’ll see them in your nightmares…

Highlights include the scene in the watch-tower in the middle of the spooky dense woods, and the brilliant scene where the kids are trying to escape from the house while the three horrors are sleeping, tired out from their most recent kill.

It’s like something out of a scary fairytale, like Jack and the Beanstalk maybe, because the three lads, Three Fingers, Saw-Tooth and One Eye, are just like the giant from the story, only considerably more hideous. Mind you, putting these three lads into a kid’s story would only lead to years and years of costly psychiatry in the long run and would not be advisable.

I also love the scene where a tied-up Jess, about to be raped maybe, chopped-up and cannibalised, although God knows in what order, tries to appeal to the least hideous of the brothers to let her go free.

He looks at her and she thinks he’s understanding her, but then comes that awful moment when she realises that her words are no more than pretty little noises to this overgrown imbecile.

A nice little sex scene between Chris and the delicious Jess in the cave behind the waterfall wouldn’t have gone amiss, but other than that one little omission the film is top-notch. Jess, however, should lay all the blame for this nightmarish weekend at the door of her four friends, who decided that such a foray into the outdoors would cheer her up after being dumped. I really wonder what jolly delights the friends were planning as an encore? A trip to the dentist…?

The First Policeman On The Scene is present and correct here too, and we all know what happens to these poor coppers, right? And surprisingly Chris, the posh affluent medical school student whom we assume is going to be a big pussy in the face of the mutants, actually comes into his own as he not only tries to escape the monsters – with Jess in tow, of course – but he’s not averse to getting a bit of his own back on them as well. The desire for vengeance is strong in this one. Let’s hope he gets it…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor