Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Kim Henkel|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Lisa Marie Newmyer
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I am in shock. I have just watched the biggest abomination I have yet seen committed to celluloid. Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a genre-defining film, made on a shoestring budget and shot on 16mm film. Since its release in 1974 it has become recognised as a cult - and now virtually mainstream - classic of the horror genre. It formed the very nucleus of the slasher genre and was often cited as the scariest film ever created.
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the 2003 re-interpretation of this flick, and was mightily impressed with it. My review of the two disc edition can be found here. This in my view improved on the original film thanks to a bigger budget, better cinematography, better acting and a more robust plot.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is without question one of the very, very worst films I have ever had the misfortune to view. It shows just how wrong a filmmaker can get it - if they try hard enough. Incredibly, this tripe was directed by Kim Henkel, the co-author of the original. It is a matter of debate whether this film is intended to be an updating of the original story, or a sequel to it. The similarities between this version and the original are too strong for it to be anything other than a remake in my view. There is no logic to it being a sequel. There is also debate about whether it is intended to be a horror flick or a dark comedy/horror flick. Either way it fails in every respect, and it simply beggars belief to watch someone so b******ise their own work in such a ridiculous way. What on Earth could have possessed her to create this monstrosity?
OK, well I think we all know the basic premise by now, so I'll do a quick rundown of the plot line (such as it is). A group of teenage prom-goers head off home in their car, only to be forced down a dirt track by a diversion. This results in them crashing into another teenager heading in the opposite direction. So we are left with an unconscious boy and four teens who cannot extricate their car from the wreckage. Leaving Sean (John Harrison) behind to look after the injured teen, the thick jock Barry (Tyler Cone), his airhead girlfriend Heather (Lisa Newmyer) and ugly duckling Jenny (Renee Zellweger) head off on foot to seek assistance.
The threesome stumble across the trailer of what may be a big-breasted real-estate agent named Darla (Tonie Perensky) who calls a tow-truck for them. Said tow-truck arrives at Sean's location and the driver, Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey), proceeds to viciously and deliberately snap the neck of the injured teen. Needless to say, Sean is a little upset and decides to run away. Meanwhile the three teens head back to the car, only to find it, Sean and the injured teen all gone when they arrive. Setting off on foot once again, they stumble across a dilapidated house in the woods...with some rather unpleasant residents, including one called Leatherface (Robert Jacks).
"Well?", I hear you say. "What's wrong with that? It sounds like a reasonable set-up for some chainsaw action doesn't it?" You could be right, but that is where the similarities to the original movie - and indeed any movie end! Let me explain why this film is so utterly, totally, irredeemably awful. Perhaps a bullet-point list would be the most efficient way to highlight some of the atrocities:
This movie is highly recommended for any number of people. Fans of the original (with a very high pain threshold) should rent this film, just to see how awful the original might have been without the input of Tobe Hooper. Anyone who felt the 2003 remake was a poor effort should immediately seek out this abomination - and then tell me that the new version is not a horror masterpiece in comparison. Anyone who loves to see big stars at their absolute worst should treasure the opportunity to see Zellweger and McConaughey in this laughable mess. Actually, let's be fair here...the only performance in the entire film which has some kind of credibility is that of McConaughey. He plays the psychopathic Vilmer with a creepy verve - at times he manages to be genuinely scary in his viciousness.
This is utter, total drivel of the very worst kind. The fact that it took three years before it was released (as Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the USA) speaks volumes about the quality of work on offer here. Zellweger went on to make Jerry Maguire after this, and McConaughey managed to make A Time to Kill. The fact that they managed retain a career in film after taking part in this car-wreck of a film is a credit to their respective agents' hard work and negotiation skills.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation almost makes it into the "so-bad-it's good" category...but not quite. There is too much pain and suffering here - and I'm not talking about on the screen! Let me sum it up with a quote from the Rothman (James Gale) character: "This...all of this...it's been an abomination. You really must accept my sincere apologies. It was supposed to be a spiritual experience. I can't tell you how disappointed I am".
The video quality of this transfer is, as befits the film, poor.
The video is presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.85:1 which is the original theatrical aspect ratio. It is extremely grainy throughout, with a disturbing lack of sharpness as a result. The focus often appears to be off too, so even well-lit scenes have a depressing softness about them.
A film such as this, where almost all of the action takes place at night, absolutely demands the correct balance of inky blacks and well structured shadow detail. This has neither. The black levels are deep but are badly affected by the grain and low level noise, which frequently makes the blackness look like a little mosaic. Shadow detail is very limited with very little visible through the murky palette and grainy blackness.
The colour palette is a strange choice. Almost the entire film looks like it has been sepia toned, resulting in very muddy colours and a heavy red/orange caste over the indoor scenes. There is nothing vibrant on offer here and I cannot recall seeing a single decent primary colour until the last ten minutes of the film, and even then they are stricken with copious grain and low level noise. Skin tones are awful due to the grain and the colour caste.
The transfer to DVD has resulted in no significant compression artefacts. There is some significant edge enhancement present which can become annoying at times. Aliasing was insignificant on my (progressive scan) system. Telecine wobble is heavily evident in the title sequence but not during the movie itself.
Film artefacts are present as minor scratches (with a big wiggly one at 7:25) and flecks, but they are not too distracting as they can be hard to spot through the grain!
The English subtitles are reasonably well timed but tend to summarise quite a lot of the dialogue.
This disc is in a single layered DVD 5 format so there is no layer change to detect.
The overall audio transfer is adequate.
The sole audio track is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoded at 192 kbps.
I noticed no major problems with audio defects such as sound dropouts. Dialogue is generally clear enough and audio sync never caused me any worry, although McConaughey's accent occasionally made it hard to catch his every word.
The main score is credited to Robert Jacks (Leatherface in this movie) and Wayne Bell (who also contributed to the original 1974 flick). The score is unremarkable, save for the really creepy scraping metal effects which play such a major role in the 2003 version of the movie. There are various incidental pieces of music, apparently performed in the main by local Texas bands.
The overall soundstage for the film is totally frontal. The main speakers give a reasonable stereo spread, with some cross-soundstage pans evident (for example motorcycle and cars driving across the screen). Unremarkable in most regards, this does its basic job but no more. The chainsaw sounds fine.
If you have the ability to make use of Pro Logic II, then the soundstage can be expanded quite well. The surrounds will receive a fair degree of ambient sound - and of course support the musical score. There is nothing in the way of directional or significant localised effects however. The subwoofer has no LFE to carry, but depending on your bass management set-up, it may see some minor use in supporting the music and some of the sound effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a couple of very lightweight extras on this DVD.
The main menu is presented non 16x9 enhanced at 1.33:1 and features a silent and static picture of the transvestite Leatherface. It allows the limited options of playing the movie, selecting the audio language, activating the subtitles, choosing one of twenty-eight chapter stops or viewing the following extras:
A better trailer than the film deserves, presented at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps, and running for 1:38.
Brief, silent text-based screens for Henkel, Zellweger, McConaughey, Jacks and Perensky (sic).
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
There are of course minor language and subtitle differences in the Region 1 release, but other than those, the only differences appear to be as follows.
The Region 1 release misses out on:
The Region 4 release misses out on:
Avoid both versions, unless you genuinely want a great example of truly awful film making.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is a truly terrible film. The plot, script, direction, special effects and acting are all dire. Reasons to view this film include the embarrassing presence of fledgling stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, and the opportunity to have a demonstration disc for how not to make movies. It is truly horrifying - and not for the reasons intended by the director.
The video quality is very poor.
The audio transfer is adequate but unremarkable.
Extras are pitiful.
|DVD||Momitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|