I ended up watching this because a friend recommended it after I surprisingly enjoyed Color Out Of Space (2019). The 2010’s brought us a huge uptick in seriously quality Lovecraftian horror, many of which made it on to my ‘All Time Top Horror‘ list.
This movie is pretty bad, but for what it is, it’s actually quite good. And I don’t mean ‘so bad it’s good,’ I mean actually good. And I’m not grading on a curve here. Don’t misunderstand me, there is so much about this movie that is jut flat out bad that it should fit into the category of good-bad movies. In fact, I struggle to place it anywhere else. It’s a bit of a paradox, a movie being both good and bad while not technically being good-bad.
Back in my review of Mandy, (2018) I complained that I didn’t get the ultimate Nick Cage experience I was promised. I was told it would be full force, category 5, Nicolas Cage. I was expecting Cage to deliver the ham of godly proportions. The reason this was so important to me, is that it was litmus test for this movie, Color Out of Space (2019).
It’s weird that I ended up watching this movie right after the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (Elm Str). They have a lot of odd similarities. I think the person who wrote this movie, might have been trying to come up with a new adaption on the Elm Str. concept, and just phoned it in. I mean, a child murderer, with supernatural powers, uses them within a very strict mythos, to murder the children of the people who killed him.
There was nothing really wrong with this remake. Actually, it was pretty damn good. Sure, there was tons of unnecessary CGI, yeah it wasn’t Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger, YES the original A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984 (Elm Street) was better, but this was good, damn good.
If it wasn’t for the internet, this would’ve become just another cult classic… I guess that sorta means it still is a cult classic, but this movie could have faded into obscurity if it was released only a couple years earlier in the late 90s. Meaning, they kinda lucked out riding the crest of the internet age. Right at the start of it all, a time when you could still go viral but right before going viral had lost all meaning.
This just wasn’t as much fun as the original. Now, I’m not saying the original was good, I actually thought it was kind of boring considering the concept they had to work with. The difference between the original and the remake can be spelled out by tone and pacing. So far as tone goes, the original mixed a level of absurdity with the violence. Yeah, there were rampaging lunatics, but some of them were fun rampaging lunatics. It gave you the idea that the virus might cause you to be violent but in random and even wacky ways. We’re not talking comedy levels here, just enough to note the difference.
I’m required by Horror Critic Law to like this movie…
It’s like a right of god damn passage for a horror critic to review this movie, and since the remake, I knew at some point I’d have to bite the bullet and get it over with. I’d seen it a long damn time ago and remembered it fondly. Though, I never did understand how Suspiria became a critics choice for seriously every fucking critic in the horror industry. Don’t get me wrong, its good. Damn good. And for 1977, WAY the fuck ahead of it’s time.
Where do I even begin? What an absolutely stunning movie! Everything from the dance choreography to the setting, to the story. There was only a solitary moment that was out of place and I’m really pulling hairs to be critical of even that!
Yeah, this was a pretty fun fan film. The biggest things I like about this one is that it goes off the tangent universe of the second Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM), but it still tries to keep the feel of the first. The difference between TCM and TCM2 is that TCM tried, in all of its efforts, to be a serious horror movie, while the second was more of the typical 80s-90s ‘So bad it’s good’ slapstick. However, TMC2, while hardly serious horror, added a layer of almost alien weirdness to the Sawyer family. In the first movie, they were nothing more than backwards, inbred knuckle-draggers. In the second one, there was almost this paradoxical ethos, a ritual of a sorts. The first movie was just a simple attempt to exploit cultured society’s fear of hillbilly yokels, while the second tried to expand on the concept and just went balls out weird.
This fan film marries those two concepts. That is, expanding on the tangent universe of TCM2 as it doesn’t have to be weird if it’s properly tied back to the first. You could almost see this fan film being a bridge between the first and the second. A sort of stepping stone to explain how a straight forward slasher became a story about a strange family’s murderous rituals. The second is only balls out weird, because there’s no progression to explain how that Sawyer family got from TCM to TCM2.
I also really appreciate the adaptation of Bill Moseley’s famous character “DOG WILL HUNT!” Chop-Top Sawyer. I also have to say their choice for Bubba ‘Leatherface’ Sawyer was also a pretty good pick. While he doesn’t have the iconic Leatherface pig grunt quite right, I not sure anyone could as I believe the original was synthesized. It’s just a hard nut to crack.
But the feel was dead on and for a fan film, that’s all that matters. This isn’t about bringing something new to the table, this is about taking TCM canon and giving it your all, with what little you have. And for what little this indie producer had, they did a great job.
Please give that video above a little click. Any fans of the TCM franchise will appreciate this and hardcore Horror Heads should give these people the respect they deserve.
Are there really spoilers in a TCM short that’s only 35 minutes long? Travelers stop to buy gas. Admiral Akbar “Its a Trap” meme. Cue Leatherface. There’s only two victims, and only one or neither can survive.
And, of course, since we’re following TCM canon, we know it’s likely going to be the lead actress who survives to the end. And of course it’s because Leatherface has a thing for her and tries to maker it a play date.
I fucking love the head nod to the torture scene from Reservoir Dogs. Brilliant use of another movie’s graphic violence on top a franchise known for it’s graphic violence. They just went hand in hand beautifully.
And of course there’s got to be the famous defacing scene followed by ‘Pretty Leatherface’ and dinner with the Sawyers. But I gotta give them this. Their sense of setting, atmosphere, and practical FX are fucking spot on here. Indies tend to really ignore the power of simple camera filters and lighting. And being able to dress up a set on a budget but make it feel like the decrepit Sawyer House is not an easy feat and, surprisingly, really easy to fuck up. Their attention to detail deserves credit. While this is very clearly not the Sawyer House, you could easily believe Leatherface and Chop-Top are chilling in a flop pad they took over together as brothers.
One thing they should’ve used more of was the body cam. The body cam added a nice effect to the inevitable chase scene, but for some reason, they only used it once, and only for a couple seconds, then scrapped it for the rest of the filming. It could have been equipment malfunction or something, but still, I wish they had more of it.
Not going to spoil the twist at the ending, but you’ll likely get a tickle out of it. I know I did.
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