‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ movie timeline fully explained

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Photo via Columbia Pictures

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

The previous film started to make the waters of this timeline much murkier, sure. But the fourth film in the series certainly takes all of the continuity established, whatever was left anyway, and totally tosses it out the window. Not a sequel at all, this is another reboot in the TCM series, and the second so far in only four films.

Oddly, this film is written and directed by Kim Henkel, who co-wrote the original with Tobe Hooper. You wouldn’t know that from watching the film, as the look and feel are completely different. But while it’s a loose remake of the original film, the opening narration is still incredibly confusing. It refers to two “related” incidents in the years after the first massacre, giving the impression that this film is a sequel to some fans — but that’s not possible.

The text at the beginning says that after the 1973 chainsaw massacre, none of the family members were ever apprehended (retconning the narration of TCM 3). It also doesn’t mention Stretch killing off the Sawyer family at the end of TCM 2, and surviving. I guess like the previous film, you could say it’s an “alternate sequel” to the original. But it still requires changing the elements of the original film, right down to the little things — such as having this family be called the “Slaughters” instead of the “Sawyers”.

In any case, this film’s story is set in 1995. In this odd flick, a group of high-schoolers fresh out of the prom wind up at Leatherface’s family home. Obviously, it’s not long before most of them wind up murdered on the property. The ending reveals that there’s a much bigger picture as Leatherface and the Slaughters are actually a part of the Illuminati (?).

The film is generally regarded by most as a terrible movie, even by its stars Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. At the time, it seemed to certainly spell the end of the franchise, as hardly anyone wanted to see a follow-up to this film.