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Texas Chainsaw Hero Image.jpg

Dear Texas Chainsaw 3D Target Audience: It Gets Better

By Dustin Rowles | Film | January 4, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | January 4, 2013 |

Dear Texas Chainsaw 3D Target Audience —

Let me guess, you’re a dude somewhere between 16 and 22 years old, and if you didn’t sneak into this movie, you used to sneak into movie just like this. You spend a lot of time watching horror movies because it’s a great escape. It’s not necessarily the violence you cling to, but the nerdier aspects of it: How the effects are produced, the people behind those horror movies, the mythology of the characters, and a lot of the books they’re based on. It beats having to talk to the meatheads and rednecks that surround you, am I right?

You’ll probably see Texas Chainsaw 3D with your two best friends (some would say, only friends), right? One of them is probably a chunky virgin, and the other probably has long hair and occasionally has a girlfriend. You? You’re probably a band geek, or something approximating it, and you and you’re friends probably spend a lot of time, hanging out, shooting the shit about horror flicks or comics, and not getting laid. You’re good kids; you’re smarter than most of those around you; you engage in petty vandalism from time to time, and you probably spend too much time on the Internet.

It gets better.

That pudgy friend of yours? He’ll probably get even more invested in horror movies over the years, maybe cut himself a few times in college, and smoke a little pot, but he’ll eventually find someone. He’ll grow up to be a school teacher or something, and maybe have a kid or two, and one day, you’re going to wonder about future generations because they’re being taught by a guy who used to spend most of his time watching and obsessing over slasher pics. Hell, he still has a massive collection of horror movie toys, and spends a lot of his time with his wife at horror-movie Cons. He never really grew up, but he likes it that way.

That other guy? The one with longer hair? He’ll actually apply a lot of what he learned obsessing over make-up effects in horror movies to his future career as a dentist. He kind of hates his job, but he does well, and he still spends most Friday nights forcing shitty horror movies onto his wife, who’d probably be rather watching anything else. He doesn’t realize it because he has some insecurity issues and complains too much, but he’s living the good life, too.

You? You’re going to be all right, too. You’ll eventually transfer that obsession with horror movie minutia to something slightly more beneficial, the debates over movies may work to your benefit in law school, and you’ll eventually end up doing something you love, even if it doesn’t pay that well. But you’ll be happy, and eager to introduce your own kids to the horror classics someday. Assholes will probably accuse of you of being a hater because you’re often too nostalgic over the way horror movies used to be. Simpler. Bloodier. Less nihilistic. Fewer CGI effects, and there was no such thing as a f*cking PG-13 horror film. GOD.

But it gets better.

For now, Texas Chainsaw 3D is exactly what you need: A shitty horror movie where skinny bitches get cut up, the frat boys end up in in pieces, and the rednecks wind up in the meat grinders. It’s not a great — or even good — movie, but there’s some new kills, a cool goth chick in the center of it all, and some new mythology to geek out with your friends over.

Specifically, the prologue is set in the 1970s, right after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After ole Leatherface waves his chainsaw at the Last Girl, who gets away in a pick-up truck, the townsmen close in on the Sawyer farmhouse and burn it to the ground. All the Sawyers are burned alive except one woman, who escapes with her child. The baby is abducted by one of the redneck townsfolk. He kills the mom, and — along with his wife — raises the child as his own. Twenty some odd years later, the Sawyer matriarch passes, and ends up leaving her mansion — where all the Sawyers are also buried — to that child, Heather (Alexandra Daddario).

Heather goes on a road trip with her friends to collect her inheritance, that old Sawyer mansion, but soon discovers that good ole Leatherface — Jed Sawyer, a 6’5 menace with the brain of an eight year old who wears other people’s faces over his own — is living in a basement. One of the dumb friends lets him out, and Leatherface — chainsaw in hand — goes on another killing spree. But there’s a fun little twist in the end, one that is somewhat predictable but satisfying all the same, and it’ll leave you and your friends with plenty to chew on and discuss while you’re avoiding the real people around you.

That is to say, Texas Chainsaw 3D is not a good movie, but you never expected it to be, did you? But you’re happy enough; it gets the job done, kills a couple of hours, makes you squirm a couple of times, and gives you something to talk about at IHOP afterwards. Not a bad night, not a bad night at all.

It does get better, but my advice to you is to appreciate how good it is now.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.