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The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2006 Drunken Halloween Bash
Horror Movie # 12:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Halloween is a weird holiday. It's the only one where we celebrate spirits, reanimated corpses, and death (if you don't count Christmas). It's the one day out of the year where freaks can look normal and normal people go out of their way to look like freaks. And, best of all, it's a great excuse to pull out your stash of horror DVDs -- ranging from laughable low-budget garbage to quality low-budget classics -- and party like those dancing corpses in the Thriller video. Since many people consider a Halloween Party with the Scream trilogy and some Old Milwaukee to be a "smashing success," I figured I would put my unhealthy obsession with all things horror to good use and let the world in on the cinematic secrets to giving the best damn Halloween party ever (even if it takes getting your drunken revelers off the couch and into the local multiplex!)

"Alright, that's it, y'all! I'd just assume wear
a diaper than use one of these outhouses
again! Have you guys smelled this place?"

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Review written by: Alex Sandell

The Story

We've seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, its sequels and its remakes ... but where did it all begin?  Some would say in 1974, when the original was released.  And they would be correct.  But that didn't stop Michael Bay from producing an origin story for Leatherface and his wacky inbred family.  You see, the movie industry isn't a non-profit and where else could they go?  A "Final Chapter"?  We know how well that did for the Friday the 13th franchise.  And The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  Somewhere in the Middle just didn't sound good.  Plus, love 'em or hate 'em, those Star Wars' prequels did pretty good at the box-office.

How Many Beers Should Be Consumed Before Watching?

Since this one is just getting into theaters now, you're going to need one person who's consumed nothing intoxicating (outside of the buzz brought about by some heated sex in the laundry hamper).  That would be your designated driver.  The rest of the partiers may want a buzz, but those with a weak stomach should watch out -- there are some intense moments in this film that will make that beer come up faster than it went down (esp. if it's Old Milwaukee).  And if there's one thing those minimum wage employees at the theater don't like, it's cleaning up somebody else's barf.  We learned that from all the "This film may cause Motion Sickness.  If you have a tendency toward Motion Sickness, please see something else.  If you still choose to see this film, you will be responsible for your own vomit." warning signs outside of The Blair Witch Project, when theater-workers discovered many people blew chunks after watching a shaky handheld camera for 90 minutes.

Gore Score

Choosing between a score of "Light Bruising," "Recently Deceased," "Badly Decomposed" and "Puke-Inducing," The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is "Badly Decomposed."  As with the original '74 film, most of what's shown -- as far as blood and guts -- is off screen, but there is still quite a bit of stuff left for the viewer to cringe over.  The movie is painful to watch at times and the sadism makes up for any gore that may be considered missing.  Tobe Hooper (director of the original TCM) has at least 2 Producer nods in the credits.  I'd like to think that it was his influence on the film that took it away from the out and out gore, but I'm guessing his name was just there so he could cash in on a hefty paycheck while opting out of a lawsuit against New Line Cinema for profiting off of his baby (and the only good baby he really shit out, if you ask me).   

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Horror movies can be "Easy on the Cheese," "Regular Cheese," "Extra Cheesy" or "Instant Cheese Based Coronary."  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is "Easy on the Cheese."  Outside of its stupid title (come on -- a prequel to a remake entitled The Beginning?) and a few lame lines spit out with Hayden Christensen like delivery, the movie is too intense to bring out much cheese.  If you ordered a pizza with the amount of cheese this movie contains as your only topping, you'd essentially be buying a gigantic round piece of bread.

Drug Use 

With "Let Off With a Warning," "Pay a Small Fine," "Put on Probation" and "Go Directly to Jail" to choose from, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning gets "Let Off With a Warning."  I think you might see some alcohol once.  And I'm not even sure of that.  I only watched it once, and some dudes behind me kept talking on their cell phones in a language I didn't understand.  And it was still distracting! 

Sex and the Psycho

Horror flicks and sex go together like romantic comedies and crap.  A terror movie can be rated "Nun," "Curious Schoolboy," "Chick After 8 Beers" or "Paris Hilton."  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is no more than a "Curious Schoolboy."  Someone talks about scaring someone else's titties off.  Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey) cups his hand around a lady's breast and makes one of those trademark-like R. Lee Ermey comments.  My sister-in-law said she jumped so much she'd probably have a miscarriage, but that isn't part of the movie and isn't that sexual ... unless you're a perv.   

When Should it Crash the Halloween Party?

Early.  It should actually be a pre-party movie.  That way you can get home after watching it and drink the horrific memories away.  If someone pukes on the floor at your house, you can just leave it for the maid to clean up.  If you don't have a maid, let the dog lap it for his Halloween supper.  You don't have a dog, either?  Get a few beers into a lightweight drinker and dare them to "lick it up."  Tell him/her it's what KISS was singing about.  Double-dare them, if they haven't heard of KISS.    

Will You Hate Yourself in the Morning?

Waking up from a night of partying can be downright depressing.  Waking up with a cheap horror movie in your DVD player can feel like "Sex With a Hotty," "Sex With Someone in Your League," "Sex With Your Sister" or "Sex With a Sheep."  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is like having "Sex With Someone in Your League."  It verges on "Sex With a Hotty," but this formula is starting to get a little stale.  It's not really the fault of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, either.  It's that there's been a glut of these sadistic torture terror films, lately.  And all of them have been inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

With Saw, Saw II, Wolf Creek, Wrong Turn, The Devil's Rejects, Hostel, and the upcoming Saw III, it's essentially becoming "Torture Movie of the Week" down at the box-office.  And the similarities between these movies are becoming as eerily familiar as those between Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp.  I wish The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Beginning offered something new to its rabid fanbase. 

Despite the "been there, done that" feel of the film, TCM: The Beginning is one of the best of the bunch, but it could have explored so much more (such as Leatherface's childhood -- which is only hinted at).  Then again, if you like this sort of stuff, you won't be complaining.  Unless you're a whiney ass bitch -- but that's your problem, not the movie's. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Beginning is nastier than the 2003 remake and is easily the most brutal Massacre since the 1974 original.  It doesn't leave you filled with feelings of hope and happy thoughts.  It's a mean movie.  Unpleasant as hell and relentless as an ex-girlfriend.  An ex-girlfriend on the rag and holding a chainsaw.  Cruel to the point of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

And that may be the problem I had with the film.  Call me a pansy, but reality has cut into my enjoyment of what was once fun fictional torture.

I couldn't help but think of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 throughout the film.  Somehow these kind of movies aren't as fun anymore, when you know this sort of junk is really happening and the U.S. Government is somehow okay with it.  Not just okay with it, but giving it the "thumbs up."

Political issues aside, TCM: The Beginning does just what it set out to do and that is to unsettle the audience, make them jump a few times and disturb the hell out of them.  It's only real downfall is that this "origin" story has been told in nearly all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films.  Do we need to see it?  The film needed to go further into the background story of Leatherface and the family to truly offer something new.

My other pet-peeve is that the movie's climax seemed tacked on and a bit redundant.  I found myself wondering if this was a remake of the remake (and, despite what the wannabe hardcore will think, I thought the 2003 remake was a better movie).  But these are small complaints regarding a film that sincerely respects the horror genre and its fans and refuses to compromise.

While it doesn't get itself up to the level of gut-churning torment found in the 1974 version, it comes close -- and that's a hell of a lot closer than a lot of junior horror fans will be able to handle.  They may want to wait it out for The Grudge 2, or some other ridiculous piece of piffle created with 12 year olds in mind. 

As for the rest of us?  Those of us over the age of 15?  This is the Halloween horror movie of 2006!  Even those misguided enough to be disappointed in the remake should find themselves happy with The Beginning.  So get your chainsaws buzzin' -- Leatherface is back!

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Be back for The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2006 Drunken Halloween Bash Movie # 11

Fellow horror hound?  Have any comments on this film?  Recommendations for the list?  Email Alex!

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