The Saw Is Family: Making 'Leatherface' (2003)

Video  |   |  Documentary, Horror, Short
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A group of teenagers get into a car crash in the Texas woods on prom night, and then wander into an old farmhouse that is home to Leatherface and his insane family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

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Prequel about teenage Leatherface who escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Stars: Lili Taylor, Stephen Dorff, Nicole Andrews


Credited cast:
Jeff Burr ...
Robert Engelman ...
Himself / Benny (archive footage)
Herself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (as Gregory Nicotero)


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References The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) See more »

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Not necessarily better than the movie, but the movie sucks without it.
6 December 2004 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

At the time of this writing, there are two other people who have reviewed The Saw is Family on the IMDb, and both claim that it's better than the movie itself. Initially I agreed with them because I was stupendously unimpressed with the movie. But since this documentary is focused mainly on allowing the cast and crew of Texas Chainsaw III to explain their reasons for why the movie turned out to be such a mess, I think that as a supplement it makes the film itself a lot better.

I like that the documentary starts by going into rich detail about Ed Gein, the 1950s serial killer on whom the character of Leatherface was originally based. This guy cut the skins off of people and wore them on his body, providing the inspiration for Leatherface and Jame Gumb from Silence of the Lambs, and he was also obsessed with his dead mother, presumably inspiring the grandparents in the Texas Chainsaw films, as well as Norman Bates from Psycho.

Very little attention is paid to the origin of these stories, not that someone as sick and twisted as Ed Gein deserves to be famous, but I liked that this documentary went into his story and told about where the story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre originated.

On a technical level, I was impressed with the editing, which is very fast paced but doesn't go too fast to follow. Also, it cuts together the interviews in a curious way, by splicing in a quick clip from the film when it switches from one interviewee to another, thereby avoiding the jarring feel that you get when editing multiple interview clips together, as was seen in the documentary Looking Back at The Hills Have Eyes, and which I've done myself.

I always find it interesting to learn about the things that go on in the making of movies, and it seems that there are especially strange or interesting things that happen during the production of horror movies. In this case, we get an interesting behind the scenes look at the making of Texas Chainsaw III from the cast and crew themselves, and we also get an explanation for why a lot of the disappointing things that were in the movie ended up there, which I think allows you to look past a lot of that and see that it's really not as bad as you thought it was when you watched it.

The Hills Have Eyes was an immensely well-made movie that did not get a very good reception because it is so unpleasant and the depth of the depravity displayed in it is often difficult to overlook. In the case of Texas Chainsaw III, however, you get a horror movie made with average directorial talent (but, I have to say, above average acting, especially for a horror movie like this one), but that took on a feel of ineptitude because of things that went wrong during the post-production phase. But it seems that both movies benefit from a short documentary in which the cast and crew explain themselves.

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