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Texas Chainsaw 3D (Blu-ray / DVD)

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Texas Chainsaw 3D (Blu-ray / DVD)Starring Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde

Directed by John Luessenhop

Distributed by Lionsgate


Jesus H. Christ. I don’t even know where to begin exactly. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, much like the Halloween franchise, is unique in the fact that several different plot-lines take place in their own bizarre universe with different characters, different families, etc. Over the years the Saw has seen remakes, prequels, sequels, and every other treatment you could conceivably give a property. With Texas Chainsaw the filmmakers decided that this entry would be a direct sequel to the original 1974 Tobe Hooper classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This was a ballsy and honestly welcome move. There was just one hitch… this would prove to be only the first of many problems that the film suffers from. Let me explain…

Texas Chainsaw begins the day after the events which found young Sally Hardesty jumping out of a window in hell. We see the police show up at the Sawyer residence (which has been lovingly recreated in this movie in startling detail), but eventually the long arm of the law falls limp as a group of angry Texans arrive with nothing but vigilante justice on their minds. During the fracas one member of the Sawyer clan flees for her life, baby in arms, only to be found at death’s door by a member of the mob, who ends up taking her baby to raise as his own.

Flash forward to the present. By my count 39 years have passed since the incident in Texas, and we catch up with the abducted child, who is now named Heather (Daddario). Here’s the thing… she’s about 23. Was she in stasis for 16 years or something? This chick should be pushing 40, but no. She’s twenty-friggin’-three. No matter how you slice it, this does NOT add up. Numbers don’t lie. Normally I’d consider this “just one of those things” if not for the fact that the entire sales campaign for the film since it was first mentioned was built around this being a “direct sequel to the original.” So how do the filmmakers combat logic? Every time the date of the deadly original incident is revealed, the year is always conveniently missing… whether it be grass covering it on a tombstone or whatever Austin Powers-style game of Hide the Salami they can concoct. Thus, we start things off with the entire movie being based around a gaping plot hole the size of Texas itself.

Anyway, back to the plot such as it is. Heather is now working in the meat department of her local supermarket and soon gets a registered letter stating that her real grandmother, whom she knew nothing about, had passed away and left her a sprawling Texas estate complete with built-in graveyard and flesh-wearing psychopath. Well, technically she doesn’t know about those later bits until she gets there. In any event she and her friends pack up to go check out Heather’s new digs. From there we’re hit with rapid-fire moments of stupidity that will leave you battered and bruised. Instead of harping on each one, which would make this the most epic-sized review for this movie ever, I’m just gonna list some of them. Spoilers follow so if you don’t want to read them, just skip it.


Texas Chainsaw Stupidity Checklist

  • Pick up a hitchhiker. Invest trust in said hitchhiker whom you don’t know. Leave hitchhiker alone in house for no reason at all while you get party supplies.
  • Never read letter given to you by realtor explaining that your mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin lives in your basement even though you were explicitly told to.
  • Never question why your lover just emerged half-naked from a barn with your half-naked best friend. Seriously, don’t even give them a slightly dirty look. Screw character development!
  • Release said mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin for the first time in public during a carnival and blow every bit of potential carnage that could come as a result.
  • Stare in awe as mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin waits for a Ferris wheel to make a full revolution while barely anyone acknowledges his existence or helps the screaming victim who is hanging from said Ferris wheel.
  • Sit bewildered as a young police officer doesn’t even attempt to chase after the mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin who is now unarmed because he flung his chainsaw at said officer. Note said mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin should now be pushing about 70 years old and cannot run fast because he has a limp from an injury he received in 1974. Direct sequel, remember?
  • The entire iPhone sequence, which is not only ridiculous but completely erases any chance of saying, “Well, maybe this movie takes place in the Nineties” so the already faulty math could add up.
  • Try to make the audience root for said mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin who dismembered and ate countless innocent human beings because he wasn’t given due process.
  • Decide to forget that said mentally disturbed flesh-wearing cousin killed all of your friends and just go back to your blood-splattered new home which is the scene of a horrid massacre and call it a day.


    I could go on and on and on. None of it makes any sense. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking for a movie called Texas Chainsaw 3D to be rich with details, but can’t even just the basic plot make sense? Want to be even further infuriated? Good! I’ve got just what you need. You can watch an UNRATED cut of Texas Chainsaw by buying it from iTunes. It’s NOT included in this Blu-ray / DVD package. Nope. Not at all. You do get a digital copy of the rated version though. Yay. Having seen the unrated version, which clocks in at 92 minutes (incidentally, the same exact runtime as the theatrical cut), I can tell you that the differences are minimal. We’re talking a few frames cut from a couple of the movie’s kill scenes, especially the final meat grinder kill. Yep. No biggie here. I’m sure Lionsgate will release an unrated Blu-ray in the future, and just like good little sheep someone will buy it.

    I would like to give a special shout-out to Dan Yeager, who played Leatherface in this go-round. It’s very apparent that he cared about what he was doing and that he was honored to play the role. Good on you, dude. You’re truly one of this flick’s saving graces.

    Still, even given all of its absolute stupidity I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the flick on some level. In fact it’s incoherent silliness and brutal kills kept me entertained throughout on the most superficial level possible. The Blu-ray looks stunning with razor-sharp detail, wondrously deep black levels, and booming surround sound mix. Say what you want about the movie, but it looks and sounds phenomenal. Also phenomenal are its bonus features. They’re way better than the film itself deserved, and that just adds to the tragedy.

    We get three commentaries – one with John Luessenhop and Leatherface Dan Yeager, which is about as dry a 97-year-old woman’s vagina, another with with producer Carl Mazzocone and filmmaker Tobe Hooper which is a must for Chainsaw buffs and historians, and a special “Chainsaw Alumni” audio commentary with stars Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, and John Dugan. If you’re going to listen to just one, trust me and go with the alumni one. It’s fast, funny, and full of witty anecdotes and stories. From there we get seven featurettes (detailed below) which look at both the franchise and this film from every possible angle and end up being a much better watch than the movie itself. These run anywhere from about six minutes to nearly nearly fifteen and do nothing but make you wish that the movie was better. It’s like all the components were there, but no one had any idea how to put them all together. After spending time with these supplemental slivers of goodness, you cannot help but appreciate what the people who brought Texas Chainsaw to the screen tried to attempt. Too bad said features also underscore how badly they failed. From there we have six on-set shot behind-the-scenes videos which run about five minutes each, an alternate opening that was far superior than the hackjob MTV-style quick edit fest we got in the film itself, and the trailer. Seriously, this thing is packed to the gills with goodness. Except for the film, which kind of sucks in an almost okay way.

    In the end, despite all the good intentions and heart that went into it, Texas Chainsaw plays more like a glorified fan film than it does an actual entry into the franchise. Who’s to blame for this? I doubt that anyone involved really knows themselves. Of course the flick ended up making bank at the box office so there will be a sequel, which is rumored to be called Texas Chainsaw 4, but Texas Chainsaw 4 was actually called Texas Chainsaw: The Next Generation, and since this is technically the second film in the series based on the original franchise, wouldn’t that make the next movie Texas Chainsaw 3, which was actually Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and not Texas Chainsaw 4? There goes that friggin’ screwy math thing again. Sigh.

    Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director John Luessenhop and Leatherface Dan Yeager
  • Special “Chainsaw Alumni” audio commentary with stars Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns and John Dugan
  • Audio commentary with producer Carl Mazzocone and filmmaker Tobe Hooper
  • “Texas Chainsaw Legacy” featurette – A look back at the history and 40-year legacy of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series with filmmaker Tobe Hooper
  • “Resurrecting the Saw” featurette – A look at the development of Texas Chainsaw with director John Luessenhop, producer Carl Mazzocone, and writers Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kirsten Elms, and Stephen Susco
  • “The Old Homestead” featurette – A detailed look at the re-creation of the shooting location from the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre with production designer William A. Elliott and cast members (and Chainsaw series alumni) Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, and John Dugan
  • “Casting Terror” featurette – Interviews with the cast including Alexandra Daddario, Trey Songz, Tania Reynolds, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Scott Eastwood, Sean Sipos, and others
  • “Leatherface 2013” featurette – An interview with Leatherface actor Dan Yeager on his interpretation of this legendary role, along with a look at the creation of Leatherface’s costume, mask, and signature chainsaw
  • “Lights, Camera, Mayhem” featurette – A look at the film’s 3D photography with director of photography Anastas Michos along with a look at the creation of several sequences from the film
  • “It’s in the Meat” featurette – An detailed look at the film’s grisly special make-up effects with make-up effects supervisor Robert Kurtzman and make-up artists Alex Diaz and Mike McCarty
  • Alternate opening
  • On-Set Short Subjects: Five-Minute Massacres
    – Burning Down the House
    – Trapped in the Van
    – Carnival Time
    – Leatherface in Action
    – Hot Times in Louisiana
    – Bloody Good Times

    Film:

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    5 out of 5

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    Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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    Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

    Directed by Charles Martin Smith


    I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

    Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

    Now let’s get to it.

    First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

    Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

    I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

    Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

    It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

    And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

    Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

    This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

    And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

    Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

    In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

    That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

    Rockstar lighting for days.

    Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

    Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

    More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

    Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

    Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

    All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

    Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

    • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
    3.5

    Summary

    Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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    User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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    User Rating 4.08 (13 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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    User Rating 4 (17 votes)
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