Moviegoers have shown an insatiable lust for blood in recent years so it's no surprise that those slasher flicks just keep on coming. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning reveals the origins of one of cinema's most dreaded psychopaths, Leatherface. However, director Jonathan Liebesman substituted scares for more gore and the result was "little more than an insult" to fans of the franchise.
In keeping with so many other horror flicks before it, this film arrives on DVD boasting an uncut version of the film alleged 'too shocking for cinemas'. It's difficult to imagine that Liebesman restrained himself at all with the original release and, in fact, the additions amount to just a few more lingering close-ups of mangled, bloody organs etc. It's called gilding the lily, or more appropriately, a lot of chopped liver. In a commentary to accompany both versions, Liebesman explains that re-shoots were done to get more up-close-and-personal with the victims as they're being slaughtered. "At first we were a little tentative," he says, "but at the end of the day we were doing everything - we went all out."
Seven deleted and extended scenes also threaten to bring up your lunch, but for slightly different reasons. The section includes extended dialogue at the motel pool between Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Eric (Matthew Bomer), which in an optional commentary, producer Brad Fuller admits is "borderline schmaltz". Three alternative endings correct any leanings toward rosy-hued romance but instead are as limp as Leatherface's wotsit. One version even sees him ditch his trademark chainsaw for a little old knife. Calling Dr Freud!
Dissect & Dismember
A behind-the-scenes documentary is sliced up into six hype-heavy featurettes. "We're pushing the envelope in terms of insanity, "enthuses Liebesman and, with a slightly sinister edge, adds, "I like blood." The cast line up to sing his praises (perhaps because they fear for their lives?) and executive producer Michael Bay talks about nurturing the project from its embryonic stages. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this documentary is the backstage look at makeup and effects, unveiling prosthetic dummies that come complete with underlying muscle tissue and an exploding fibreglass cow filled with gory gunk. It's like a Mexican piñata, but instead of dispensing sweets it scars your kids for life...
If, like Liebesman, you like blood, then this DVD surely delivers. However, for genuine horror buffs, even this 'Uncut' edition of Texas Chainsaw just won't cut it.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning DVD is released on Monday 19th February 2007.