Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) – By Brian Morton

Isn’t it fun to look at the past work of major stars? You know what I mean, like the movie, Fire On The Amazon that has Sandra Bullock doing a nude scene. Or Sharon Stone in those crappy Alan Quartermaine movies with Richard Chamberlain? Need I say more? I didn’t think so, but you know me, I will anyway.

Now, I’m not saying that I’ve never done anything to be ashamed of. For instance, I won’t mention that touring company of ‘Bats’ a rodent version of ‘Cats’ that I was briefly involved in, or the follow up to ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, ‘Phantom 2: Electric Boogaloo’ that I wrote and directed or, the fact that my days are largely spent sitting alone in the dark watching truly bad movies, so you see I don’t have a problem admitting to doing dumb and embarrassing things, it only gets funny when you try to deny and hide the things that you’ve done.

If you’ve committed a crime or killed your spouse, that may be something to hide, but if you’ve just starred in a really crappy movie, that’s completely different, and that’s what I want to talk about this time. The movie is 1994’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and the stars are Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger who both tried, unsuccessfully, to keep this movie from seeing the light of day. Why would they want to do that, you ask? Well, one viewing and you’ll know why! This really isn’t the Oscar caliber movie that either of these stars want us to watch them in. This is basically the original TCM redone, only very poorly. And Leatherface is a cross-dresser! A Cross-Dresser!! Who on the planet is gonna be afraid of some giant mongoloid in a dress? Alright, so it’s a giant mongolois in a dress with a chainsaw, but still! He’s wearing a sundress for God’s sake.

Matt plays the family’s leader, a weirdo in a leg brace who’s basically a bizarre combination of the original’s chef and the hitchhiker. And Renee plays the main victim. Now, why didn’t they want this to be seen? Well, I’m not sure, but maybe it’s the fact that this sat on the shelf until well after they had both established themselves as ‘real’ actors, made them both think that this would hurt their careers. Now, I’m not one to judge….no, wait, I guess I am…but neither of their careers have contained such stellar works to make this that much of a stand out stinker! The story is pretty simple, kids stranded in rural Texas come across a family that, at first, seems to want to help them, but then, suddenly, decide to eat them. Only, here, the canabalistic part of the movie never really pans out. Oh sure, they torture and kill people, but you never get the idea, like in the original, that we’re using victims for supper. This time, it’s more about Matthew mugging for the camera and acting insane…which frankly, is very close to type-casting…and Renee screaming and running, which is about as much of an acting stretch as Renee is capable of!

This isn’t a stellar entry into the series, but it’s worth watching just to see these two ‘A’ list actors in the very early stages of their careers. Now, I can understand, in today’s Hollywood that ‘respectable’ actors want to forget their b movie roots, but come on! We all have skeletons in the closet, it’s just that most of our skeletons aren’t on film. But, if they are on film, just admit to them, laugh them off and move on, it’s just not that big a deal. Besides, if you laugh along with the rest of the world, the world will be less inclined to laugh at you. The more you fight it, the more we’re all gonna enjoy rubbing it in. Besides, it’s neither Matthew nor Renee that need to be embarrassed here, it’s Robert Jacks who plays the cross-dressing Leatherface! Robert, you should be very glad that you wore that mask through the whole movie, because, let’s be honest here. I’m a fan of the original and the remake, but I think Gunnar Hansen would slap you for wearing that dress!

So, if you’re looking for a horror movie that will have you torn between scratching your head in confusion and rolling in laughter, then Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is for you. If you like your horror a little more…uh…horrible? Then, stick with the original or even the remake! So, until next time, when I’ll try actually reviewing a movie while I’m weilding a chainsaw and wearing a sun-dress, remember that the best movies are bad movies!