Directed & Written by Kim Henkel
Cinematography by Levie Isaacks
Music by Wayne Bell & Robert Jacks
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Jacks, Tonie Perensky, Joe Stevens, Lisa Marie Newmyer, Tyler Cone & John Harrison

1994/93 mins/Color/2.0 Doldy Surround
1.33:1/English/US/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Lions Gate DVD

Still buzzing after all these years.

Four annoying teenagers have promptly left the most important event of the poor existence, prom night. There's the beyond dumb but delicious Heather (Lisa Marie Newmyer who's still hot today), her retarded jerk boyfriend Barry (Tyler Cone), the shy Jenny (Renée Zellweger... yeah that Renée Zellweger) and her goofy looking friend Sean (John Harrison). Like most brainless Southern teens, they head off to the forest (read = dumb move). Soon enough another car smashes theirs and they decide to split to find some help (another dumb move). Forrom there thing will only get worse for them... but you know what? They deserve it!

After getting help from the voluptuous town hottie, Dania, they find a creepy looking house deep in the forest. Guess which familly lives there? Sean finds his doom at the haands of a crazy truck driver (Matthew McConaughey... yeah that Matthew McConaughey). Now its time for Leatherface and his gang to take care of business.

I remember back in the early 90s when I first read about this supposed sequel to Tobe Hooper's classic. Then nothing... fast foward to 1997 when I saw the poster at the local video club. Gone was the original RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE title, now it was TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE THE NEXT GENERATION. What had happened for it to be delayed for so long?

The $600,000 movie directed by the co-writer of the original movie, Kim Henkel, was to be released theatricaly by Columbia Pictures... it played in some festivals but never got a theatrical run. Then it was shelved. Unknowns at the time, Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey had become major stars in Hollywood and they didn't want the movie to be out. With the worldwide success of SCREAM, Lions Gate decided it was time to unleashed this movie to the masses in a video release... and it did poorly.

Back in 1997 when I rented this movie I found myself hating it with a passion. I felt betrayed by Henkel. How could he made such a crappy movie? My two biggest fustration were that this was essentially a remake of the original and that the Leatherface character is almost nowhere to be found. In 2002 I bought it on DVD but never watched it until now. Well for reasons that I can't understand that messy, fustrating and totally ridiculous movie is starting to grow on me. Sure the teenagers are annoying but aren't they all like that in these movies? There's enough mayhem, stupidity, weirdness and shouting to make this a very enjoyable movie. And after enduring the atrocity that was the 2003 remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I can say that unlike that remake the TCM THE NEW GENERATION is a welcome addition to the serie.

Sure Leatherface doesn't kill anyone with a chainsaw in this one but in the previous movies he kills only one person with his fav tool so its no big deal. And while turning him into a full time travestite wasn't necessarily a great idea, its a return to the original Ed Gein persona that the other sequels lacked.

Still the strangest thing about the movie is the whole organisation. Some have claimed that they are aliens while other believe that they are part of a conspiracy to examine horror inflicted upon innocent people.

John Dugan, Paul A. Partain and Marilyn Burns, who stars in the 1974 original have cameos in this remake. Dugan plays the cop at the hospital at the end of the film while Burns appears as patient on gurney (in credits as "Anonymous"). The characters of Vilmer and W.E. were intended to be the Hitchhiker and Cook characters from the original film. Jim Siedow was approached to reprise his Cook character, but was unable to.

Lions Gate's edition of the movie is an extremly poor one. I dont know if it was shot that way but here it is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image looks way too grainy and I'm sure it wasnt intended that way. We get an English 2.0 Doldy Surround track isn't spectacular but sounds good. This ain't theatrical showroom material... but so ain't the movie.

Unfortunately the only extras we get is a rahter shot biography on Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey. This is a real shame as it would have been interesting to learn what writer/director Kim Henkel has to say about it... espcailly about that strange organisation. The movie is separated in 12 chapters, features nicely designed animated menus with music, comes in a keep case without a booklet or inlay card.






This Film Features:

Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©