This past weekend, 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' ended up defying initial box-office expectations and slaughtering the competition. Whether you liked the movie or not, it’s nice to kick off the new year with a horror title in the number one slot, no? And so, given Chainsaw’s success, it’s no surprise that a sequel has already been announced. "'Cause let’s face it, baby… these days… ya gotta have a sequel!"
As mentioned in our news post from earlier today, Millennium is moving forward with 'Texas Chainsaw 4', a suspect title that at least right now doesn’t make much sense considering in the new sequel timeline, this should be Part 3? But alas, part of the plan when bringing the Chainsaw property over to Lionsgate was to mirror the now dormant 'Saw' series with at least 6 (!) new movies, tentatively one per year.
Since I just spent a good chunk of my Christmas break revisiting every single film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, I started contemplating what I’d personally like to see in the upcoming sequel (or sequels) as a fan. Here are the top 5 things I’d like to see in the next Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
The Sawyer Family – In picking up from the original, the most radical departure from previous sequels is that they pretty much massacred the entire Sawyer clan, minus Leatherface during the opening fire fight. And now they’ve set Leatherface in present day with only one living relative that we know of. While I understand the need to keep Leatherface on his own for the story of 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' and while the iconic character is interesting enough on his own, he’s not nearly as much fun to watch without his wacky family surrounding him. The new film made me miss The Hitchhiker or Chop-Top or Tex. So although I don’t know exactly what new members of the Sawyer family they can possibly incorporate, I’d like to see Leatherface surrounded by some new crazy characters. What if him and Heather (Alexandra Daddario) start a new family up? Or better yet, in Tobe Hooper's 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2', he established that the Hitchhiker’s twin brother Chop-Top was fighting in the Vietnam War during the events of the original. There’s always room to bring Chop-Top back into the new continuity. Hell, bring Bill Moseley back as that character!
Cannibalism! While there was a dinner sequence in Platinum Dunes prequel 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning', the cannibalism angle was noticeably absent from their remake as well as the new film. Sure, it was somewhat implied by the "weird meat" that Leatherface kept around or the hanging of that Smashmouth guy on a hook. But the average audience member wouldn’t have picked up on that unless they were already well versed in the Chainsaw universe. And look – the cannibalism thing in the original is one of the most terrifying aspects of that movie. It’s shocking. It’s taboo. And hell, it’s still shocking and taboo, even for modern films as it’s still a subject most modern horror films have veered away from exploring. Anti-hero or not, Leatherface is a god damned cannibal because he doesn’t know any better. That’s how he was raised by Drayton. And so the idea of a crazed maniac not only killing you, but eating you afterwards still gives me nightmares. Bring on the chili contests!
More Masks – One of the most grotesque things about the Leatherface character is his eclectic masks made from the faces of his victims. In the original movie, Leatherface wears a total of 3 different masks, something that actor Gunnar Hansen (who portrayed him in the first movie and cameo-ed in the latest one) attributed to reflecting Leatherface’s state of mind, for example him wearing the lady face when Drayton comes home to appear domesticated. For Chainsaw 2 & 3, he pretty much stuck to just one mask. 4, he had a few. The remake he wore a couple as well and in the prequel, there were also two. The point being, remember that one teaser poster of all the masks lined up? I thought that was a pretty bad-ass image. In the final movie, he pretty much only wore one mask, not counting the opening sequence which takes place right after the first movie. I vaguely recall him sewing a new mask, but if he did swap ‘em, his 2 masks throughout the movie looked identical. There’s even a scene in 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' where the cop sees dresses and make-up in Leatherface’s lair. Let’s see more sides of Leatherface’s personality as reflected in the masks he wears and let his freak flag fly high!
Formidable Foes – I'm still not comfortable with the idea of Leatherface being portrayed as an anti-hero. At the end of the day, he’s still a murdering machine that eats people, so he can’t be a "good guy", but held up against the Sheriff of the most recent movie, I can’t tell who’s more the despicable character. Point being, my favorite showdowns in the other films have always been strong willed bad-asses who go up against Leatherface either by choice or for survival. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, it was Dennis Hopper as Lefty, duking it out with Leatherface in the finale with two chainsaws. In Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, we had the character of Benny (Ken Foree) going up against Leatherface several times and putting up one hell of a fight. There are victims now from the latest film, so it’d be interesting to bring in perhaps a family member of one of Leatherface’s victim’s now seeking revenge, ala the Lefty character or just someone that has a reason to hunt Leatherface.
More Public Carnage – When Leatherface ran into that carnival after Heather, my first thought was "holy crap! This is the first time we’ve ever seen Leatherface out in a public setting! This is going to be nuts!" And instead, while cool, it ended up being a missed opportunity. You unleash someone like Leatherface into a carnival (which is a nice nod to Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse, by the way) and have him not do anything is kind of a bummer. With that set-up, I was expecting something along the lines of when Freddy Krueger crashes that high school party in A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Pure carnage. But alas, it didn’t pan out that way. For the next film, let’s add to the legend! Let’s see Leatherface out in public! Imagine him running into that haunted house at the carnival? Or if he started a massacre out in public, kids today would’ve recorded it on their cell phones and immediately uploaded it to the internet. The legend of the Leatherface character would be all over the news with this one reported sighting. Hell, I’m sure bounty hunters might want to stroll into Texas for the sport of it and those could be potential formidable foes.
At this point, with a somewhat clean slate, there are so many promising directions they can take the franchise. Hopefully they go as bat-shit crazy with it as I hope they do. With a title like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (and I wish they'd bring back the "massacre") your audience expects something crazy. Here's a chance to bring it in the sequel!