Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (originally known as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4) is a 1994 independent Americanslasher film written and directed by Kim Henkel, and starring Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, both before they became mainstreamstars. The film is a loose remake of and quasi-sequel to the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), which Henkel had co-written with Tobe Hooper. It has only loose connections to the previous two sequel films, which are mentioned in the film's opening prologue as "two minor, yet apparently related incidents" which happened after the events of the original film.
The plot centers on a group of teenagers who find themselves in a secluded area of forest on their prom night, only to cross paths with a family of murderers, among them the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. The movie was filmed in Pflugerville, Texas in 1994 on a budget of $600,000, and was released at several film festivals under the title The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was then shelved for three years, and was re-cut and released under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in late summer 1997, after its two lead actors had both become major Hollywood stars.
- 2 Release history
- 3 Alternate versions
- 4 Reception
- 5 Soundtrack
- 6 References
- 7 External links
August 18, 1973. News of a bizarre, chainsaw-wielding family - reports which were to ignite the world's imagination - began to filter out of central Texas. Regrettably, not one of the family members was ever apprehended, and for more than ten years nothing further was heard. Then, over the next several years, at least two minor, yet apparently related incidents were reported. Then again nothing. For five long years, silence...
The film begins with four teenagers at their Senior Prom: Jenny, Heather, Barry, and Sean. Heather begins to look for her boyfriend, Barry, who is making out with another girl in the darkness. Heather discovers them and attempts to drive away in Barry's car, alongside Jenny and Sean, who are in the backseat. Barry eventually gains access into the car, where Heather scolds him angrily. Heather does not pay attention to the road and ends up wrecking with another driver, who passes out in the ensuing confusion.
The four teens decide that Sean should look after the unconscious driver, while Jenny, Heather, and Barry go look for help. While Sean looks after the driver, Heather, Barry and Jenny discover a real estate office occupied by Darla, a trashy insurance agent, who calls up her tow trucker boyfriend, Vilmer, to help out at the scene of the wreck. Meanwhile, Heather and Barry leave with Jenny, who loses them.
Vilmer eventually arrives at the scene of the crash, where he snaps the unconscious driver's neck and chases Sean in his pickup, eventually running him over. Meanwhile, Heather and Barry come across the Slaughter clan's Farmhouse, where Barry looks for a way inside to use the bathroom while Heather waits on the porch. Barry is discovered by Walter who is Vilmer's brother. Barry tells him he needs to use it, and Walter allows him to.
While Heather waits on the porch, Leatherface makes his appearance, playing with her hair and then chasing her. After Leatherface catches her, he stuffs her inside a meat locker, and screams wildly. While Barry is using the restroom, he discovers human remains in the bathroom, and Leatherface turns up and kills him by hitting him over the head with a sledge hammer, similar to Kirk's fate from the original film. After killing Barry, Leatherface removes Heather from the meat
locker, hanging her on a meathook in midair.
Jenny arrives back at the wreckage, only to find her boyfriend and the driver absent. She meets Vilmer, who shows her the bodies of Sean and the Driver. Vilmer then chases her in his truck, only for her to escape into the woods. Vilmer isn't worried though, as he knows that Leatherface will show up.
As planned, Leatherface turns up, chasing Jenny through the woods, and back to the Sawyer house, where Jenny locks the door, but Leatherface begins to break it down. Jenny discovers the remains of a Texas Ranger. She takes the gun, attempts to shoot at Leatherface, but discovers that it has no bullets. Leatherface chases Jenny back up the staircase, where she jumps out a window, and onto the roof.
Leatherface is still persistent and gives chase, pursuing Jenny to the otherside of the roof. Jenny tries to use a telephone cable to escape, but Leatherface cuts the cable and Jenny crashes through the roof of the Sawyers' greenhouse, face first. After getting back up, Leatherface gives chase once more, where Jenny retreats back into the forest. Jenny escapes to Darla's office and begs for help.
Walter shows up and it turns out that Darla and Walter are in cohoots. Walter beats Jenny with an electric cattle prod, stuffs her in a gunny sack and into Darla's trunk. W.E. leaves Darla to go pick up some pizzas she ordered earlier with Jenny in the trunk of her car. After getting the pizzas, she returns home with Jenny.
The Slaughters terrorize Jenny, who escapes into Darla's car, but is subdued by Vilmer, who jumps on the hood of the car. Jenny wrecks and is drug back inside the house where she is treated by Darla, who gets her ready for "Dinner Time". Jenny falls unconscious, but awakens in the early morning hours at a dinner table with a cross dressed Leatherface, the family's apparent Grandpa, and a family of stuffed corpses.
Jenny screams in terror and soon the family is joined by an Rothman, who tells the Sawyers that they aren't doing their "jobs" correctly and then licks Jenny's face, who writhes in disgust. While Vilmer is talking with Rothman, Jenny tries to escape, but the windows are all boarded up and she is taken back inside the dining room by Vilmer, while Leatherface revves his chainsaw so as to behead Jenny.
As Vilmer holds Jenny down, and Leatherface tries to decapitate her, she gains access to Vilmer's remote to his cybernetic leg and uses it to make him fall down a lot as an advantage to escape, which she succeeds in doing so. Jenny escapes to the main road where she is helped by an elderly couple, but the couple's RV is soon turned over by Vilmer and Leatherface.
Jenny climbs out of the wreckage, barely harmed, and Leatherface and Vilmer pursue her on foot. An apparent "Order of the Illuminati" airplane operated by one of Rothman's colleagues, swoops over head and the blade kills Vilmer. Jenny watches as Vilmer dies while Leatherface screams in horror and frustration.
A black car soon turns up, and Jenny takes refuge from the family inside, only to discover Rothman inside. Jenny prepares to jump out of the car, but Rothman tells Jenny that her experience was supposed to be spiritual, but that it went awry and Vilmer had to be stopped. Rothman takes Jenny to a hospital where she sees Sally Hardesty being wheeled down a corridor.
Meanwhile, Leatherface swings his chainsaw in frustration, where the screen cuts to black and the credits roll on.
- Renée Zellweger as Jenny
- Matthew McConaughey as Vilmer Slaughter
- Robert Jacks as Leatherface Slaughter
- Tonie Perensky as Darla Slaughter
- Joe Stevens as Walter Slaughter
- Lisa Marie Newmyer as Heather
- Tyler Shea Cone as Barry
- John Harrison as Sean
- John Dugan as Cop at Hospital
- Paul A. Partain as Hospital Orderly
- Marilyn Burns as Patient on Gurney
- Debra Marshall as Cop in Bud's Pizza
The film had a very rough and complicated release history, including re-editing and re-issue into cinemas (thus the film has different versions and alternate titles). The process occasioned disputes between the filmmakers and distributors atColumbia Pictures.
After a lengthy post-production—wrapped up in 1994—the film screened at the South by Southwest Film and Media Conference in 1995. Prior to this, during the film's post-production stage, Columbia Pictures reportedly signed to distribute the film theatrically (along with its home-video release) in October 1995, and agreed to spend no less than $500,000 on prints and advertising. The company subsequently had the film re-edited numerous times, and changed the title from its original production-title, The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. According to producer Robert Kuhn, Columbia Pictures pushed the film back to await the release of starRenée Zellweger's new film, Jerry Maguire (1996), which the filmmakers had no problem with. Matthew McConaughey's agent then purportedly put "pressure" on Columbia Pictures to not release the film theatrically, which caused complications between Henkel and the company. The film-makers had also considered releasing through Cinepix Film Properties back in 1993.
Matthew McConaughey terrorizesRenée Zellweger in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation'
In a 1997 interview with The Austin Chronicle, Robert Kuhn stated that:
|“||Well, we definitely feel that Columbia/TriStar has not done what they agreed to do in terms of trying to market this film in the best possible fashion. They have not tried to exploit this film to monetarily benefit us as they should have. They've just low-keyed it. They don't want to be guilty of exploiting Matthew because of their relationship with CAA, which is the strongest single force in Hollywood these days. You get on the wrong side of them, you're in trouble. So I understand their problem, but at the same time, they should have either given the film back to us or they should have done the best release they could have done. And they haven't done that.||”|
Eventually, the film reached the big screen in a limited release in under 20 U.S. cities under a collaboration of Columbia Pictures and Cinepix Film Properties on August 29, 1997, in an edited version, and under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. The subsequent home-video releases also occurred through Columbia Pictures. The film was released by Sony Pictures on VHS in September 1998, and did not receive a DVD release until July 13, 1999. The original Columbia/Tristar DVD release has since been reissued with alternative cover art.
Columbia Pictures originally released the film as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a small number of cinemas in 1994, as well as showing it at the South by South-west Film and Media Conference in 1995. This version was later pulled from theatres, and the film was re-released in 1997 under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. The original, unedited cut of the film features a few differences, including:
- a subplot that involves Jenny's stepfather abusing her in the opening scene
- more dialogue between Heather and Barry in the car
- a longer conversation between Jenny and Darla in the bath-room
The original cut also featured different musical effects, a handful of different transitional shots, as well as a few scenes tinted different colors.
The most widely available cut of the film, titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, does not contain this footage. The Canadian DVD release of the film through Lions Gate Entertainment remains the only known home-video release as of 2009 that includes all of the cut footage from the original version of the movie. The version titled The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre runs for 95 minutes, while the version titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation runs for only 86 minutes; a nine-minute difference.
The versions of the film available differ from country to country, but Herald Videogram released the original Return cut onLaserdisc in Japan.
In the previous film, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Benny asks Tex why they're bothering them. Tex tells him it's because they are hungry. Benny recommends that Leatherface's family have pizza instead of humans. In this film, Leatherface's family is not cannibals and are having pizza for dinner instead.
In general, critical opinion by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and by movie fans considered this the worst of the Chainsaw Massacre films. The Internet film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has ranked the film 17% "rotten", with merely five positive reviews out of a collected thirty. John Anderson of the Los Angeles Times referred to the film as "[a] giddy mix of gruesome horror and campy humor", while most others dismissed the film with negative reviews.Der Einziger Weg Cover.
The film's sound-track featured many local Texan bands, and never got a full CD release. However, star Robert Jacks, a friend of Blondie's Debbie Harry, produced a song with Harry titled (in incorrect German) Der Einziger Weg(English: The Only Way; the correct German title would be "Der einzige Weg")—a single written for and featured in the film. The song was released by Eco-Disaster Music in 1997 as a single on Compact Disc, featuring Debbie Harry on the cover with a portrait of Jacks as Leatherface, featured in his three costumes, on the wall behind her.