The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot premiered 13 years ago today, creating a Hollywood craze with rebooting many other horror movie franchises.
Horror movies have always been known for their endless sequels. No matter how dead a horror villain might seem, they always come back in the next installment. It doesn’t matter whether they had to go to outer space or invade the real world. Studios were constantly finding ways to place them into new stories.
But in 2003, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre became the one to break the mold. Rather than sending Leatherface to Rome or making some other contrived sequel, a straight up remake of the first film was created. Under Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production studio, the reboot is officially the first of many franchises to be restarted.
The story in 2003’s TCM is similar to the original, yet quite different. Both feature a group of five teens winding up stranded at a remote home occupied by Leatherface and family. But Leatherface himself is the only carried-over character from the first film. His cannibalistic relatives and the teenagers are completely different when compared to the original flick.
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One of its advantages is the inclusion of Sheriff Hoyt, played by R. Lee Ermey. He adds a lot as a primary villain in the film, and is arguably more horrifying than Leatherface. He’s much more deliberate in his cruelty and takes great joy in torturing the teens.
But I think most horror fans will agree that the film as a whole doesn’t beat the original. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tobe Hooper’s version is basically a perfect horror movie that is never likely to be topped. I knew going into 2003’s remake it wasn’t going to surpass the classic.
But I also knew that was completely okay, as long as it was still entertaining. And in my humble opinion, it definitely is. I ended up watching it on the big screen twice, later buying an awesome Collector’s Edition home video of the film.
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Although it would suffer through some bad reviews from critics, the remake is very successful. It grosses over $100 million on a budget of less than $10 million. Following the success of TCM, Platinum Dunes would reboot other big franchises including Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Other studios would follow suit and the next thing you know, everything gets rebooted. Now, straight sequels in horror have become a rarity.
I was impressed with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot when it premiered. Although I certainly had some qualms, but I consider it better than the other sequels in the series. The prequel was something I was pleasantly surprised with as well. So this all had me open to seeing more horror favorites be restarted. I guess I didn’t know yet just how bad some remakes really can be.
As time went on, I learned the whole reboot fad wasn’t a good thing at all. Not once has any other horror remake been as entertaining as that of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But despite the snowball effect it would have on creating a cavalcade of remakes, I have a nostalgic love for the film. So let’s take a minute to appreciate 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the only great example of a solid horror reboot.