1974: film critic Roger Ebert stumbles out of a screening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, disgusted but impressed. “No motivation, no background, no speculation on causes is evident anywhere in the film,” he scribbles. “It’s simply an exercise in terror.” 2006: producer Michael Bay delivers Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, a pointless prequel that fills in every gap and motivation with banality. Matching the dirty realism of the 2003 remake, this ’Nam-era prequel sees Jordana Brewster (The Fast And The Furious) and hippie mates meet the power tools. Torture scenes are noisily sadistic, but Leatherface is saddled with an origin story (abattoir birth, hare lip, bullied at school) that’s plain insulting. Upstaged by R Lee Ermey’s wisecracking Korean War vet, the iconic chainsaw king doesn’t get a Beginning but an end. Leatherface (Tommy to his mates) may never scare again.
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