• Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots


    Studio: Scream Factory

    Release Date: October 7th, 1994 (theatrical) / December 11th, 2018 (blu-ray)

    Run Time: 87 mins (theatrical) / 94 mins (director's cut)

    Region Code: A (locked)

    Picture: 1080p (1.78:1 aspect ratio) (theatrical) / 1080p w/ 480i inserts (1.78:1 aspect ratio) (director's cut)

    Sound: English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Slipcover: Yes

    Digital Copy: No

    Starring: Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Stevens, John Dugan, Robert Jacks, and Tonie Perensky

    Written by Kim Henkel

    Directed by Kim Henkel

    Rating: R (demented mayhem and torture, and for strong language) (theatrical) / Not Rated (director's cut)

    Theartrical Version

    Director's Cut

    THE FILM

    A group of prom-going teens take a fatal detour into the Texas woods and get into an accidental car crash. Stranded with no place to go, they seek help in Darla, a seemingly innocent insurance agent whose office is located nearby. After Darla calls for help, they set out back to the scene of the crash, and are found and terrorized by Leatherface, his crazy brother, Vilmer, and are taken to an old farmhouse where they meet the rest of the cannibalistic clan.

    The twenty years (or twenty-two if you go by release dates) since the release of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, there have been three sequels. The first sequel, directed by Tobe Hooper, brought comedy to the series that split many fans who were looking for the same dread and intensity that the first film brought.

    The third film, which was named after series villain Leatherface, tried the bring the series back to its roots and did so fairly well. I actually think that part 3 is better than part 2, but that isn’t a very popular opinion nowadays. Still, these two sequels offered something each to both sides of the fandom.

    Now we have the fourth film in the series, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (or The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the included Director’s Cut), which is the worst film in the series (yes, it is worse than the most recent film, also called Leatherface because originality is for the birds apparently. I happen to like this film, but I know why most hate it and I can see that, but for more on that you can check out my review for that film.) This film, like the two previous films in the series, is meant to be a direct sequel to the first film. That means the there are three different timelines in a series that has only four films up to this point. Just to confuse things even more, the 3D sequel that came out in 2013, titled Texas Chainsaw 3D, is another direct sequel to the first film. This means that every sequel skips out on keeping the continuity of the previous film and just wants to be a direct sequel to the original.


    I can appreciate what Kim Henkel (writer and director of this film as well as co-writer of the original) is trying to do here. He wants the film to look and feel like the original, but the film just fails at most things. First, the characters are mostly annoying and we really want them to die quickly. I don’t know what Henkel made these characters so grating. Many slasher films released during the 80’s would feature characters that were more likable. This is something that most slasher films nowadays do not do. I do wish that Henkel had spent a bit more time making these characters likable. Why do filmmakers think that we want to spend time with assholes and douchebags? Sure, we want them to die, but when a character we like dies, that death stays with us more than the quick relief we get when an asshole character dies.

    With Leatherface being the star of the series you would think that one of his creators would be able to get him right, and you would be right. Kind of. The Leatherface here is really good when he is wearing his regular mask. He is creepy and crazy and what we remember him to be from the original. The same can be said when he is wearing his female mask. He just screams and cries, something I don’t remember him doing this very much in previous films. This time with that mask, during the climax of the film, is really annoying and wish the actor had tried something different.

    Speaking of performances, Matthew McConaughey is the absolute best part of the film and the one thing that anyone who has seen the film talks about. He is, for lack of a better word, brilliant. He is so over the top that he actually steals the film from everyone else. His character, Vilmer, has a robotic leg that he controls with the various tv remote controls found throughout the house. This is a bonkers idea that you wouldn’t think would work, but McConaughey makes it work. It is a bit sad that he is the best thing about the film, but it is what it is.

    While it seems like I may have liked the film, I can assure you that I did not. This is the weakest entry in the entire series with nothing really going for it outside of McConaughey and some of the Leatherface stuff. There is no gore, scares, or even a creepy vibe. The film is just a flat note for a majority of the run time. I wish that the film was better because I like this series. Leatherface deserves better than what we have here.


    THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND

    Presented in a slightly opened up aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation features two different versions of the film. The first is the film’s theatrical cut, presented in full 1080p. This transfer is pretty good. There is a thin layer of grain that leads to some decent detail. Colors are nice, especially in the daytime scenes towards the end of the film. Earth tones look good and blacks are fairly deep.

    Director's Cut Standard Definition #1

    Director's Cut Standard Definition #2

    The second version of the film is the Director’s Cut (with the title card “Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre"). This transfer features the same HD scenes from the theatrical version along with standard definition scenes where an HD version doesn’t exist. Of course, the HD scenes look good, but the SD shots do not. There is a lot of crushing in the blacks and the overall picture is smeary and ugly.

    The sound comes in the form of a DTS-HD MA stereo track. Everything sounds nice with nothing getting lost in the shuffle.

    English subtitles are available as well.

    THE PACKAGING


    This is a Collector’s Edition and that means that we get a nice slipcover with some striking artwork from artist Joel Robinson. This is actually one of the better covers that Scream Factory has commissioned as of late.


    The commissioned artwork also features on the blu-ray case as well with reversible artwork featuring the film’s original theatrical poster.


    The disc artwork is the same commissioned artwork and is REGION A (locked).

    THE FEATURES


    The Buzz is Back (11m 42s, HD) This is an interview with director of photography Levie Isaacks who tells some great stories of working on the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre film as well as some stories from the set of the fourth film.


    Marked for Death (16m 1s, HD) Actor Tyler Shea Cone is up next and he talks about how he get the role, his acting technique, and what it really is like to shoot in the summer in Texas.


    If Looks Could Kill (19m 3s, HD) For the last of the interviews we see special effects creater J.M. Logan and production designer Deborah Pastor talking about working on the film, the film community that exists in Austin, Texas, and the time that Pastor brought on of the original chairs from the first film to the set and why she will never do something like that again.

    Trailer (1m 38s, HD)

    Commentary with director Kim Henkel (Director’s Cut Only) (found in the setup menu)


    OVERALL

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is a bad film. It doesn’t really get anything right from the first film with the characters being insufferable. There are a few things to like about the film, but they aren’t enough to carry this dog of a film. The blu-ray is pretty nice though, so if you are a fan of the series, I can recommend this release. If you are curious about the series itself then watch some of the other films before jumping into this one.




    MORE SCREENSHOTS

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