"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 1/26/90
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
I've got to calm down here. I don't know if I'll be able to do this review or not. I'm trying to get ahold of myself.
Maybe I can go on now.
"Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III" has a few . . . how should I put this? . . . a few problems:
1) The movie doesn't make a lick of sense.
2) A guy gets chainsawed through the skull and then comes back at the end of the movie, with only slight injuries. They don't even do this in Friday the 13th movies. (Normally I wouldn't mention "Friday the 13th" and "Saw" in the same breath, but I'm afraid they've brought it down to that level.)
3) The movie's over so fast that everbody that was watching it started honking their horns when the credits rolled. None of us could believe it. "That's it?" I've had X-rays that used more film than this movie.
4) THEY MADE IT IN CALIFORNIA!
5) It LOOKS like they made it in California. They've got HILLS in the background.
6) Leatherface's new cannibal family includes his Mama and a little girl cannibal with a fetus doll--promising developments--but they don't ever DO anything.
7) You never see Leatherface actually doing any carving.
8) They make a big deal about how this whiny yuppie guy is gonna be trussed up and carved alive by the little girl, but instead they just go on to the next scene, as though the cannibal family FORGOT to have dinner that day.
9) Kate Hodge, the new actress trying to replace the greatest screamer in film history, Marilyn Burns, runs over an armadillo in the road and STOPS TO SEE IF IT'S OKAY. Obviously, these people have NEVER been to Texas.
Now. I know what the producer and the director and everybody is gonna say. They're gonna say that it USED to be a good movie, but then the Motion Picture Censor Board got on their case and gave it an X rating, and they had to take a chainsaw to the movie, and what came out was different. And it's true, the Jack Valenti Boys hammered away at this baby, evidently demanding stuff be taken out that they ALLOWED in the first movie in 1974.
I don't exactly understand what's happening here, but I know that, during the past two years, these bozos in El Lay have decided to crack down on horror movies. They want movies about NICE cannibals. Cannibals that carve up tourists in LOVING ways. This is the same kinky group that decided "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" should get an X rating for "disturbing moral tone."
But what I'm getting at is that the owners of this movie had a choice. They could say "We don't give a flying frijole what the MPAA Censor Board says, and so we're putting out the movie without any rating on it." Or they could weenie out, cut it into a million pieces, and release it with an R.
They weenied out on us.
They suckered us for five bucks.
They profaned the name of the most revered horror movie in film history.
And what makes it worse is that the director, Jeff Burr, evidently knew what he was doing. There are a few scenes in this flick that are as goldang scary as anything I've ever seen.
The Communists just got him.
They might have to put me in intensive care for awhile. I don't know if I can bear to think of this thing floating around out there, turning the chainsaw we all know and love into a steak knife.
Nine dead bodies.
One motor vehicle chase.
Putrefied human heads.
Bone-drill to the leg.
One human fireball.
Dead-lizard window decorations.
Giant filigreed chainsaw.
Gratuitous Playboy mutilation.
Double-blooded ax Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Viggo Mortensen, as Tex the handsome, well-mannered cannibal, for saying "There's roadkill all over Texas--natural order of things";
Tom Everett, as the weirdo sex-fiend cannibal, for throwing body parts into a swamp and saying "Is it soup yet?";
Ken Foree, as Benny the war-games survivalist, for saying "Yeah, militant lumberjacks--I see em all the time";
Kate Hodge, for getting her hands nailed to a chair and summoning up the screams to prove it;
Joe Unger, as Tinker the modern cannibal, for saying "Technology is our friend" and "I'll be in hell for breakfast";
R.A. Mihailoff, as Leatherface, for sharing his Sony Walkman with his victims;
and David J. Schow, for a script so great Jack Valenti couldn't stand it, featuring exchanges like this one:
"Why don't you leave us alone!"
"We were hungry."
"Ever heard of pizza?"
Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.