Friday, October 11, 2013

31 Days of Horror 4: Originals vs. Remakes DAY 11

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) vs. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
This movie was inspired by the mass murderer Ed Gein of the 1950s and is the granddaddy of all splatter films.
It opens up with five unsuspecting teenagers who are driving a van through the rural parts of Texas. They soon pick up a crazy hitchhiker and then they find themselves at an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Soon the seemingly abandoned house becomes the stage for some gruesome things.
Soon the teenagers start disappearing one by one and the star of the movie, Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) must muster up all of her strength and escape from the psychotic family who want to put her on the dinner table (yeah they eat their victims). It becomes more and more difficult for her as she meets her match in the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen).
After this movie we would see the formula it used to present day slasher/splatter films. That formula being all the victims suffer horrible deaths and the one lone female becoming the heroine of the story.
What makes this film great is its suspense, which is created by its documentary-style camera work and a surprisingly engaging script.
For me, the film still holds up. The scene with the meat hook still disturbs me today. Yet, besides the script, scares and camera work, the other thing that made this work so well was the crew willing to take risks. Because of those risks we have a horror movie classic.
If there ever was an unnecessary remake, this would be it.
What the original had gotten right, the remake just gets wrong.
In the movie, like the original, we find ourselves with a group of young people. There is Erin (Jessica Biel), Morgan (Jonathan Tucker), Kemper (Eric Balfour), and Andy (Mike Vogel). They’re driving through Texas on a road trip when they pick up a hitchhiker, Pepper (Erica Leerhsen), who is on her way to Mexico to get some drugs.
They all soon pass through a small town in Travis County, and see a girl (Lauren German)  full of blood and visibly disturbed walking on the side of the road. They stop to help her and soon find themselves going against a family of murdering cannibals.
They did try to do something slightly different with this one but what they failed to realize is gore isn’t what made the first one scary.
It brings nothing to the table, is virtually free of any real scares and it’s just boring.
So, which is better?
Of course, this is going to the original. The 1974 version just had it all, and the 2003 version tried to copy that but doesn’t understand what scary is.
Original Wins

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