Wednesday, November 16, 2011

my very brief thoughts on.... 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait'

"The most accurate explanation of what really happened." - Gunnar 'Leatherface' Hansen

That's the quote on the movie poster for this documentary. If you've read anything about this horror film, then you probably already know all of the stories.... like the infamous dinner scene. But this was made in 1988 and if you've not an uber-fan of the film, then this was all new info back then. This is shot all on a higher quality VHS, so don't expect too much in that department. That doesn't mean that this isn't worth a watch. It's really made for the die hard fans though. I don't know if anyone who wasn't really into this film would be interested enough to watch the whole thing.... it's pretty dry. There are a few clips from the original film and a little bit of new footage and behind the scenes photos to keep your interest peaked. I found it kind of neat to hear the background story from the actors themselves. It also put a personality behind the characters and a reason why they played the characters they way they did. Some of them were more likable than others. (see: Edwin Neal 'The Hitchhiker')

The purpose of this documentary, is to allow 4 of the leading actors in it to tell the behind the scenes story of the making of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. It features Edwin Neal 'The Hitchhiker', John Dugan 'Grandpa', Jim Siedow 'Old Man/Drayton Sawyer' and Gunnar Hansen 'Leatherface'. They each have a unique persepctive on what happened and the entire film making process. While it would have been nice to include Tobe Hooper, the director of the film, and Marilyn Burns 'Sally Hardesty'.... it ended up still being pretty comprehensive without them.I'm not the biggest fan in the world of the TCM franchise, however.... I own all but the third one and have seen them several times. I can see it's place in the horror film lexicon and enjoy them for what they are. This film is considered a cult classic and has some fans who are beyond fanatical about this. It has since spawned a remake and a prequel and tons and tons of merchandise. It's a very difficult film to watch and one that any horror fan should see. Once you've seen it, then check out this documentary. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. It's low budget and lack of excitement is a huge setback for this documentary. For something that's covering a fan favorite horror film and documenting everything that went on, there just isn't much.... joy? (is that the right word?) I don't know, I just wanted a little more from this.

If you haven't seen the original film, I recommend: 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974), 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' and 'Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3'

(I couldn't find a trailer for this, so I put this link to the entire documentary. It's also available OnDemand from Netflix, if you prefer.)

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