Posts Tagged ‘Leatherface’

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Four: Enter Saw-man

Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix, New Jersey August 26th, 2003

Milton loved the library. It made prison seem not so bad. Walking through the aisles of bookshelves, the texts and their pictures transported the inmate to other realities, alternate worlds where things turned out a lot different. Maybe in another life he would be a star, an icon of the silver screen, a leading man even. His face would be handsome, instead of scarred and mangled like a damn monster. Or maybe he’d be something else, like a restaurant owner. Yeah, that’s it, a restaurant. He and his dad would be award winning chili cooks with a restaurant in Texas. 

One book caught Milton’s eye, Islands at the Edge of Time: A Journey Through the Barrier Islands. Flipping through the travel memoir, he thought about how he’d never been to these places, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the coastlines of Mississippi and Alabama. Reading the inside cover, the author Gunnar Hansen was an Icelandic American, just like Milton’s dad. Mr. Hansen was also a poet and writer.

“Didn’t know you inbreds could read!” Milton was brought back to reality by both Fred’s insult and deep throaty laugh. Milton didn’t like Fred. Fred was a bad man, and his face was ugly like his too, but for a different reason. Fred got burned real bad on the outside. Milton knew he could smash Fred anytime he wanted, he was a puny little man, but behind him were Michael and Jason. They were big like he was, and he didn’t like them either. Jason’s face was deformed, even uglier than his own. The thing is, though he would never admit it to anyone, he was jealous of Jason. Jason killed more people than he did. Milton wasn’t good at numbers, but if he did his math right, and he checked it a bunch of times, Jason had three more kills than he did. Milton prided himself on his work, and knowing that freak hillbilly bastard had more bodies stacked than he did was too much to bear.

Michael didn’t have as many kills, but he still didn’t like him. Michael stalked and killed some girls in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, not too far from here if he remembered right. They called it the babysitter murders, that wasn’t nice. Milton wasn’t nice either, but he never did anything like that.

“Heard you’ve been giving my warriors a hard time!” One thing Milton’s dad taught him from the time he was young, was that you gotta protect your home. The bloc had been Milton’s home for a long time now, and just like Dad protected his home in Iceland back in the big war, Milton looked out for the bloc. Recently, Fred and his gang had been bothering some of his neighbors, and that wasn’t very nice.

Fred picked up a book and dropped it on the ground. “Shouldn’t do that to books.” Milton thought to himself. That wasn’t nice. Dad taught him not to treat books like that. 

“I’m trying to conduct business and you’re cutting in!” Milton said nothing as Fred protested. “What’s the matter, you too dumb to speak now!” Fred’s scarred hands then picked up a small magazine. Milton knew that issue. He’d spent a lot of time on it. “Look at this, editor of the prison poetry journal!” Freddy tore the pages in half. “You gotta be fuckin kidding me. The big bad chainsaw killer. Some say you’re the Saw-man from that old horror movie, well I say your nothin but a big joke!” 

Allowing Fred to think he was scared, Milton backed up against the wall and glanced out the pane glass on the library door. The guard wasn’t there. No one else was in the library either, Fred’s influence was growing in the big house. The little man pulled out a shank and said “You think you were a nightmare on the outside? I’m gonna show you what nightmares are made of!”

Milton knew what Fred was going to do before he did. As Freddy’s arm lunged at him Milton managed to catch his wrist, and with his other hand he grabbed Fred by the neck and lifted him up in the air, throwing his little body into Jason’s. Their heads collided and Jason got knocked off his feet. 

During the action Fred dropped the shank intended for Milton, who swiftly knelt down to reach for it as Michael approached. Gripping the homemade blade Milton repeatedly jabbed it into Michael’s stomach. He also thrust his head in an upwards motion smashing the top of his skull into Michael’s jaw knocking him backwards.  

Fred then jumped on Milton’s back shouting “Jesus, if you want a job done right!” Milton could have thrown him off easily, but, still with the shank in hand, he stabbed Fred’s gut. Milton felt a rush as for the first time in years someone else’s blood made contact with his skin. There were three of them here. What an irony it would be if Jason could in fact help Milton break his own record. Just the thought of it was exhilarating, but this brief moment of ecstasy was shortened by Fred shrieking in his ear. The would-be assailant slid off his back, but Milton kept a strong grip of the shank in his hand. 

His tight grip released and the shank fell to the floor once Jason landed a staggering punch. Milton landed on one knee. Knowing better than to go toe to toe with the younger opponent, a kick to the balls was in order. Jason fell to his knees and Milton stepped back over Michael’s body. Still laying on the ground, Michael suddenly sat straight up and turned his head, glaring at Milton with those dead black eyes. Despite a life filled with the mad and macabre, Michael sitting up like that after taking stabs to the stomach legitimately startled Milton. Hearing the sound of rusting paper, he realized what happened. Michael stuffed a phone book under his prison uniform, he might have been the smartest of the three. 

If Milton still had the shank in his hand, he might not have been able to resist his newly sprung urges. Before Michael could rise to his feet Milton palmed his head and smashed it back into the floor a few times. He thrust his arm as hard as he could, and part of him knew Michael’s hair would slip out of Milton’s sweaty hands from the force of his thrusts, allowing Milton to catch his breath and take a step away before he finished Michael for good. As bad as he wanted to kill again, he knew lethal force would have been more trouble than it was worth, not with what he had to look forward to.

“Get him you idiot!” Fred groaned, still laying on the floor. Jason now rose back to his feet and looked like he was about to charge. Milton dashed behind a bookshelf and pushed it over, pinning Jason underneath the wood and heavy texts.

“No, no!!!” Fred’s head shook in frustration as his arms were now wrapped around Milton’s leg. Milton reached his hands out, the shank was just within reach, he could still finish them for good. Maybe if he stabbed himself afterwards he could concoct some story that they all got jumped. Maybe he could figure out some way to break the record without getting caught. 

The wooden case creaked as Jason began stirring beneath the fallen bookshelf. He was a tough bastard. As Freddy still desperately clung to his leg, Milton could smell the blood in the air. As Milton reached out, he finally got it in his hands, and with one swing struck Fred in the head, whose grasp around Milton’s leg was now dead.

Looking down, Milton read the title, ‘American Gothic,’ by Robert Bloch. He liked that author. Weird coincidence this was the hardcover book he grabbed and struck Fred in the head with. Immediately, Milton stormed out of the library. That rush was so intense, being so close to death, his heart pounded through his chest, and he knew if he hadn’t left the room expeditiously he might not have been able to resist the temptation. Flipping through the pages of one of his favorite modern authors diverted his mind from how he could have killed the three of them, how he could have beat Jason’s record. As bad as he wanted it, he knew it would have been too risky. Besides, he knew Michael was too smart to snitch on him, Jason was too stupid, and Fred, he could never admit one guy beat him and his two hitmen, not if he wanted to maintain his reputation. 

Milton knew he was safe. He also knew that, not too long from now, after all these years, he was finally getting released. He would finally have his freedom. He would finally get to see Dad, and the rest of the family.

Family? Can you imagine what sort of family would produce a character like Milton? Find out in two days in No Gein II, Chapter Five-Concealed Transgressions!

Leatherface is a prequel to the 1974 classic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and focuses on the origin story of the franchise’s chainsaw wielding lead character. For whatever reason, Leatherface was given only a limited theatrical release and was then sent straight to Video On Demand services.

The majority of this film takes place in 1965, the premise being that years prior local law enforcement took the Sawyer children into protective custody. Now, nearing adulthood, they have spent several years in an insane asylum. One night there is a riot, and four inmates escape along with a kidnapped nurse.

Surprisingly this entry takes the feel of a horror road trip movie, akin to The Devil’s Rejects or Natural Born Killers, with some scenes reminding me of Hannibal and the more recent Revenant. The majority of this prequel focuses on the inmates being on the run from the police, one of which is shown to be pretty crazy in his own right. I suppose this is an attempt to make Leatherface more sympathetic.

There’s also the issue of which of these inmates turns out to be Leatherface, which adds a hint of mystery to it. However, maybe because of this, the cannibalistic nature of the Sawyer family is downplayed until the end, and once Leatherface’s identity is revealed, it was unclear to me what ever made him think to make his first skin mask.

Clarice, one of the escapees, was to me the most intriguing character of the film. Given she was a supporting character, I suppose that counts as a weakness. The scene taking place in a diner was the highlight of the film. If you pay attention to character names, you’ll catch few nods to the first second, and previous chainsaw films. Until the end there is limited onscreen violence, but if you recall the same was the case for the original. It does have a modern polished look to it, and it could have used more of the grit of the first movie.

Leatherface is not a great movie, but it is not terrible either. It is better its previous entry Texas Chainsaw 3D from a few years ago. If you’re a fan of the series I would recommend it.

I’ve never reviewed a movie on here that I haven’t seen in a theater, but I wanted to review this as I’m a fan of the Texas Chainsaw series. It came out the first weekend of 2013 and I was in Korea at the time where horror movies always seem to come late. To my knowledge it never came to Korea, the fact that it bombed probably didn’t help.

Texas Chainsaw is unique, in it’s not a remake, but a direct sequel to the original movie, ignoring the other sequels and the remake and it’s prequel. So it’s kind of a reboot of the sequels. To my knowledge that’s never been done before.

It opens with a brief recap of the first movie. We get highlights that have been digitally restored and looks incredibly sharp. Picking up immediately where the original left off, the local Sheriff goes to the house and wants to bring Leatherface in. We see the family, including Grandpa. Other family members show up, (including one played by original Leatherface Gunner Hansen) and after a tense moment it appears they agree to send Leatherface out. However the local towns people show up, and acting as vigilantes they burn the house down. The look of the film in this sequence matches the re-mastered look of the original highlights that were just shown.

After the fire one of the men from the town finds a woman from the Sawyer family holding her baby. The man kills the woman and takes the baby. The rest of the film picks up with that baby, now and adult woman named Heather, learning of her birth right. This isn’t a plot twist, it’s established right up front. Apparently she had a grandmother that recently died that married into an oil family and has this big mansion. Upon first viewing I didn’t catch how she got all this money.

Texas Chainsaw starts out great and has a good premise following up on the theme of family. Unfortunately it’s not scary at all. Leatherface, who obviously survived somehow, has a very underwhelming reveal, and while starting off strong it lost me when Heather and her friends do something incredibly stupid regarding the house. 

The commentaries and features are interesting, as it’s revealed that the actual original chainsaw appears on film. The Sawyer house from the first movie was meticulously re-created, only to be burned to the ground. That opening scene that I loved was actually directed by original Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper. There’s three different audio commentaries, during which some of the other chainsaw films are subtly knocked. However most of those sequels I feel are better than this.

One of the commentaries has cast members from the original, including Gunner Hansen and Marilyn Burns, who played the surviving character from the first movie (who’s character isn’t mentioned in this, I was curious about what happened to her) and makes a cameo in a flashback scene as Heather’s grandmother. Most of that commentary is spent talking about the original film. This may be the only case where the DVD features are more interesting that the feature.

One issue is there’s a big time gap the film makers purposely ignore. The original explicitly states that it takes place in 1973. This new movie definitely takes place today, and Heather is a 20 something. On the commentaries they say they basically ignored this, and put some 80’s era cars in the Tobe Hooper directed opening scene to make up some time difference. But even the 1980’s is 30 years ago now. This would have been a good movie to make in the 90s (only scarier) instead of the even worse Texas Chainsaw New Generation. 

I really wanted to like this and I really wanted this to succeed. Before it was released Lionsgate stated that something like 6 sequels were planned. I was curious where they would take it, but it probably won’t happen now.