There are an awful lot of things that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation gets wrong as a film, but the one that really bugs me the most is that Leatherface looks like Old Greg. But it’s the fact that this bugs me that really bugs me.
Being an utter Philistine, my favorite book of all-time Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because it’s the one with the funniest jokes. Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita may be a modern classic with an innovative style and controversial subject matter (all facts verified by Wikipedia), but I don’t have the attention span for a dead Russian author (or so I’ve arbitrarily decided). So Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remains my favorite book of all time. When Disney announced their adaptation of the novel, I was VERY excited. It was as close as I’ve ever gotten to the kind of mass hysterics that sweeps fanboys of all sorts, from my co-worker who printed out the Abrams Star Trek one-sheets and posted them up in the Staples breakroom to my best friend who just the other night was showing me the trailer for the new(!?!?) Megaman game with a big ‘ole grin on his face.
I’ve nothing against this kind of excitement, really. It’s not like it’s anything new. When Sherlock Holmes was killed off, I’m sure tons of fanboys across the world cried out “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle raped my childhood!”. It’s just something that I’ve never gotten swept up in. I never got swept up in professional sports either. So when Hitchhiker’s Guide was finally released and it turned out to be rather shitty, I wasn’t devestated. Disappointed, but not devestated. But the fact that they changed Ford Prefect’ race, that they made Zaphod’s second head UNDER his first head as opposed to on his shoulder, that they added that subplot with John Malkovich, etc. did nothing to add or subtract from my disappointment. I was disappointed that I wasted 8 dollars on a bad film and I was disappointed that such a good cast was wasted on such a bad film, but I wouldn’t say that director Garth Jennings* raped my childhood. More like he eyed my childhood climbing out of the kiddie pool in a manner that made it uncomfortable.
So why does it bother me so much that Leatherface’s mask is so awful in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, a film I don’t really have any emotional investment in? Maybe it’s just giving me flashbacks from all the times I’ve had that goddamned Mighty Boosh episode forwarded to me. How come no one forwards truly hysterical videos?
BTW, if you’re a horror fan, TCM: TNG is worth seeing for Matthew McConaughey’s over-the-top head of the family performance. It’s a lot of fun and the kind of role that actually works well with his good looks and physique. Being a sexual predator hasn’t been this sexy since…well, Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused.
*Who went on to make a rather good film with Son of Rambow. After Son of Rambow and watching a bunch of his music videos (including Blur’s “Coffee and TV”, what what!), he kind of comes across as a less assured Michel Gondry, which isn’t a bad thing, really.