He’s one of the most villainous boogeymen in cinematic history and hasn’t been seen on the big screen since 2006, but come January 4, 2013 the chainsaw-wielding cannibal maniac known as Leatherface will be back with a new terror-filled film in Texas Chainsaw 3D. But how is it that his return has been a silent endeavour on the part of the film’s distributor Lionsgate and Twisted Films (Saw)? And why now, in what is perhaps the worst time of the year to release a horror film?
Texas Chainsaw 3D is obviously Leatherface’s first foray into the cinematic gimmick, but followers may not realize that the story itself is actually a direct sequel to the original 1974 classic film directed by Tobe Hooper and not a new remake or a continuation of the mythology laid down by 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or its prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (which was produced by Michael Bay’s company Platinum Dunes).
Instead, this film finds the Sawyer family wiped out by the townspeople after their grisly atrocities were revealed to the world when young Sally escaped captivity in the original film. Decades later a young woman arrives in town to collect an inheritance from her late-grandmother, an empty mansion that unknowingly harbours a survivor of the twisted cannibal clan. Needless to see, carnage resurges and Leatherface returns.
Fans of the original film will be tickled to know that classic star Gunnar Hansen has an appearance in the movie along with Marilyn Burns (who played Sally), along with newcomers Alexandra Daddario and Dan Yeager as Leatherface. John Lussenhop (Takers) handles the directing duties behind the camera.
Putting this film out in January is usually a move reserved for titles that studios are hesitant to put out a peak times, because the material is below average…which doesn’t bode well for this one, especially since little has been seen about the movie promotionally. On the other hand, horror movies are considerably cheap to produce (Texas Chainsaw 3D’s budget lands around $8 million) and can turn a profit quickly.
Lionsgate has held on to this film perhaps too long after its production and failed to roll it out due to delays during 2012’s Halloween period when it was scheduled for October 5th, 2012, so even with the added incentives of film continuity and 3D effects, interest is very low to give Texas Chainsaw 3D any relevant notice.
Although it’s amusing to see Leatherface come first out of the gate for 2013’s line-up of films, the awkward release date may not be doing the horror movie legend any favours. Still, there is a strong chance the film will do well enough to keep the money-making series chugging along. The project was initially conceived as a new film trilogy, so we’ll see where the demand lands.
Texas Chainsaw 3D may not burst many bubbles in box-office history, but its first weekend of release would have to be pretty parched in order for the film not to make back its money in production. Expect a $5-10 million opening, anything higher would be considered over-the-moon success and lower would be a franchise killer.
The sequel also has a dubious task of following not only the original classic, but a pretty decent 2003 remake as well in the terrifying category. Any way you cut it, Texas Chainsaw 3D has a pretty tough uphill battle.
Texas Chainsaw 3D is playing at Cineplex Odeon First Markham Place Cinemas for local Markham residents and is rated 18A for coarse language, gory scenes and graphic violence. Tobe Hooper was recently quoted on the film, saying “Incredible! A perfectly terrifying follow-up to the original”. This weekend, audiences will find out for sure.