Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

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2.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 1/10

So-bad-it-is-good

Loses the scares and the horror of the original

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Next Generation

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  October 7, 1994

MPAA Rating:  R

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A chainsaw can-opener!

Prom night is a special time, but when Heather (Lisa Marie Newmyer), Barry (Tyler Shea Cone), Sean (John Harrison), and Jenny (Renée Zellweger) leave the prom and get in a hit-and-run accident, they decide they better lay low for the night.  Unfortunately, driven off the street, the teens find themselves fighting for their lives.  Trapped in a small town led by a tow-truck driver named Vilmer Slaughter (Matthew McConaughey) and run by crazed cannibals including the chainsaw wielding Leatherface (Robert Jacks), Jenny discovers surviving her prom night might not happen.

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This surprisingly isn’t career suicide….

Directed by Kim Henkel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Next Generation had a strange beginning.  Originally released as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1994, the movie was retooled for release in 1995 at South by Southwest Film Conference.  The movie then fell into obscurity but then became a minor cult hit (with more reediting) with the sudden popularity of both Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey.

I can remember when this movie was a new movie and not much was known about the stars.  Suddenly, Renée Zellweger became big news with Jerry Maguire and Matthew McConaughey found success in various late ‘90s movies.  Now the movie is fun to watch to see how both Oscar winners have grown from their earliest roles.

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Don’t worry…I promise we’ll win Oscars someday…

The plot for the movie is meant to be a sequel to the original film (ignoring both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and Leatherface:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), but the movie almost feels like a remake at points.  Both films contain scenes with characters being hit by a hammer, hung on a hook, the female lead jumping through a window, and a horrific dinner table scene.  If the movie had spent more time making a new movie, it might not have been that bad…though the whole “higher power” covenant aspect of the story is really odd.

You can see a lot of Matthew McConaughey in his role as the sadistic Vilmer.  He still has some of the same expressions and acting nuances to this day.  The role is over-the-top and overacted, but he does keep a little screen presence.  Renée Zellweger doesn’t show any promise in the role.  She feels like generic horror fodder and delivers her lines with a flat, lifeless stock actor precision.  The movie also features cameos by original Texas Chain Saw Massacre stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, and John Dugan in the final hospital scene.

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People always talk about McConaughey and Zellweger in this film and fail to mention Wynonna Judd’s turn as Leatherface…go Wynonna!!!

The visuals for the movie also are weak.  The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre really was able to build horror and despair.  Here there is an attempt to be more graphic with the horror but it looks cheap.  Leatherface in his drag is no longer scary but more of a joke (and hey, he looks like Wynonna Judd!)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Next Generation is more of an oddity than anything else.  The movie isn’t scary, it isn’t edgy, and it isn’t good.  Stick to the original and skip this movie.  I’m sure if Oscar winners Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey would, they would bury this clunker.  The Texas Chainsaw franchise died with this movie but eventually was resurrected in 2003 with a remake.

Related Links:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Leatherface:  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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