hell for leather

The ori­gins of a hor­ror leg­end in Leather­face

SFX - - Red Alert -

“The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre is ob­vi­ously the most in­cred­i­ble movie of all time,” says French film­maker Alexan­dre Bustillo, while his di­rect­ing part­ner Julien Maury nods in agree­ment. “You can’t touch it. I think it’s to­tally un­nec­es­sary to do se­quels, or pre­quels. But this movie lives by it­self. It’s a mys­tery: what’s this fuck­ing guy?”

He’s talk­ing about Leather­face, the eighth film in the Chain­saw saga but a sort of stand­alone in that it ig­nores most of the myth mak­ing that’s gone be­fore and, set in 1955, of­fers one pos­si­ble chap­ter in the masked killer’s for­ma­tive years. “It’s not re­ally an ori­gin story,” claims Maury. “It’s part of the youth of Leather­face. We’re leav­ing room for fans to imag­ine how this young guy be­came the beast we all know from the orig­i­nal.”

A du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion, per­haps, but when it’s be­ing made by the guys who helped launch the New French Ex­trem­ity cy­cle with In­side, we’ll go with it. One thing is with­out ar­gu­ment: Leather­face, boast­ing style and shud­ders, takes the series in a new di­rec­tion as a group of in­mates es­cape a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal and hit the road on a kill spree, pur­sued by Stephen Dorff’s ma­ni­a­cal sher­iff.

“Each of the se­quels is about kids get­ting lost on the Sawyers’ land, and be­ing killed,” says Maury. “This is a dif­fer­ent struc­ture – to fol­low a bunch of psy­chopaths [one of whom is young Leather­face, but we’re not sure which] and try to have the au­di­ence re­late to them.”

Chuck in a malev­o­lent ma­tri­arch played by Lili Tay­lor (the bar­be­cue-lovin’ Chain­saw clan has hith­erto been a sausage party) and it’s al­most not a Chain­saw movie at all: “We just tried to make a cool hor­ror movie for the kids we were when we dis­cov­ered The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre,” grins Bustillo. Job done.

Leather­face is out on DVD from 8 Jan­uary.

Leather­face du­ti­fully took out his rub­bish for col­lec­tion.

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