Though it did fairly well at the box office, Texas Chainsaw 3D was a pretty shoddy, laughable movie and I doubt that many horror fans were chomping at the bit for a follow-up. Well, a prequel was apparently made several months ago, but for reasons only known to them [come on, it’s gotta be better than its immediate predeccessor] Lionsgate won’t release it.
Anyway, last weekend Bloody Disgusting started a Twitter campaign to encourage the studio to unleash Leatherface, and the site spoke with writer Seth Sherwood who shed some light on the film. Some Minor Spoilers To Follow.
“When I was writing Leatherface, I tried really hard to make it feel like part of the franchise on the whole – which is actually not easy when you consider continuity was pretty loose between the original trilogy and two remakes that followed it. Chainsaw films aren’t exactly a perfectly shared universe, but at the same time, they are all undeniably Chainsaw at their heart. To tap into that I tried to pay subtle homage to all the films in some way; I wanted to tap into some of the key ideas and tropes so that it would feel familiar, but at the same time, go in a different direction”.
“Tying to the original was the easiest – in terms of continuity I needed to dovetail my story in that general direction. My take on Leatherface was inspired directly by how Tobe and Gunnar described his mindset (or lack thereof). The Sawyer Farm is a key location. These connections were more literal”.
From Chainsaw 2 I borrowed a few things. Obviously, the character names. Drayton, Nubbins, the Sawyer surname – were all discovered in the sequel. Mainly though, the idea of a corrupt, mentally unstable Texas Ranger on a vendetta against the Sawyers gave birth to Hartman, the real villain of my story. Like Lefty, he’s out for revenge against the Sawyers over something they did to his family. The character Clarice started as a pretty clear Chop Top homage, though along the way we decided to develop her into being more original. That said, when you see her, you can see a little of that DNA in there”.
The original Leatherface, Chainsaw 3, took the idea of the backwoods isolation of the original and exploded it tenfold. I always think of the locations of this film – the scrub brush filled badlands and remote roadside outposts as feeling like another world— a dark fairy tale land in some way. To be reminded, no, we’re just lost in Texas, is awesome. I filled my story with similar locations to hopefully capture a similar vibe”.
“While I didn’t find any thematic inspiration from Chainsaw 3D, this is from the same team, so we decided early on that we needed some ties. Those come mainly from using names to establish a little continuity. The corrupt Mayor is the son of Stephen Dorff’s character. The cameo by Marilyn Burns as Sawyer matriarch Verna is the character played now by Lili Taylor”.
“Leatherface is very much about identity. Gunnar Hansen said that Leatherface was devoid of identity beyond doing what his family told him, or what his mask might define. Instead of starting Jed Sawyer as a gibbering simpleton, I was more interested in taking somebody that could almost pass as normal and then explore how they could be reduced to nothing. Leatherface doesn’t know who he is, he doesn’t remember his family – but the saw becomes integral to restoring that because the saw IS family!”
From what he says this sounds like a solid film that may please many fans of the franchise, but I’m personally not too keen on all this ‘delving into background’ malarky: – it may work for characters like Norman Bates, but not so muchLeatherface, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees etc. For me, it takes away much of the mystique and fear. Still, let’s hope Lionsgate let us decide for ourselves before we’ve all given up caring.
In this prequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a young nurse is kidnapped by a group of violent teens who escape from a mental hospital and take her on a road trip from hell. Pursued by an equally deranged lawman Stephen DorfF out for revenge, one of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy his mind, molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.
Leatherface is directed by Alexander Bustillo, written by Seth Sherwood, and stars Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Nicole Edwards and Julian Kostov.