hell for leather
The origins of a horror legend in Leatherface
“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.