The 52 Worst Films of the 2000s

Movies You Aught Not Watch: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”
Rated R

For some characters, development is regressive. Take Leatherface, skin-masked butcher of legend.

In 2006’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” the behemoth is introduced as a baby rescued from the trash after a slaughterhouse-floor birth — the operative idea being that devaluating Leatherface’s life breeds Leatherface’s devaluation of life, and he’s perpetually misinterpreted.

This is supposed to be the Texas chainsaw massacre, not the Texas chainsaw misunderstanding.

Nothing castrates a bogeyman like cheap-Freud explanations of bad childhood. “Beginning” vivisects and discards folk-legend frights of the original or even 2003’s remake (to which this is a prequel), and Leatherface possesses no greater power than a hulking professional-wrestling heel.

Then there’s the Vietnam metaphor: Four free spirits road-tripping in 1969 invade unfamiliar territory, forcing cannibal bumpkins to stand their ground.

That idea’s treated with all the subtlety “Beginning” gives roadkill scenes — a steer torn in two by a Jeep. (Before he’s strung up, one lamb’s about to dodge the draft, combat angst ruining his hotel-room hummer.)

The visuals are like rust stains that won’t go away. Jordana Brewster squirms around like an oil-covered pelican in hip-hugging bell-bottoms toward a teary reunion with her bisected beau. R. Lee Ermey descends to self-parody’s darkest bowels 20 years after “Full Metal Jacket” (although he interestingly transcends profanity’s traditional gender lines when calling Brewster “asshole”).

Irredeemably stupid and artlessly brutal, “Beginning” wasn’t simply the nadir of needless Zeroes prequel revisions and rewinds. It elbowed out tough competition for franchise-worst and represented the bottoming-out of American-made horror.

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7 Responses to “Movies You Aught Not Watch: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”

  1. […] A prequel to the 2003 remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but NOT the sequel the the original horror classic…aw screw it. I could expand on what Yapper Nick Rogers said about this film, but I think he says all that needs t… […]

  2. Hedy says:

    That was one the worst movies I have ever seen. It was way to graphic for my taste.

  3. j.c.k. says:

    i actually liked this movie. great thriller.

  4. Nick Rogers says:

    Jason: I found the 2003 remake at least marginally respectful to the redneck horrors of the original. I simply felt well enough should have been left alone beyond that. And despite my comments, I’ll always love R. Lee Ermey for Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Lewis: I certainly had no delusions that I was going to get great cinema out of this, but I just felt like overexplanation of iconic killers in Zeroes reboots (Rob Zombie’s "Halloween" was another one) sucked the fun out of these. And, as I said to Jason, R. Lee Ermey has pretty much earned a lifetime pass for any bad movies based upon "Full Metal Jacket." Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. Lewis says:

    Although this movie was some what predictable in its plot and concept, that should be expected. Anyone who saw the orginal Texas Chainsaw Massacre should already know coming into this movie that its going to be a bloody chop and slash flick outlined with cheesy dialogue. Hwoever, i was very impressed with the suggested background of Leatherface and his family ties. Far too many times we watch a movie where no depth or explanation of a charcters orgins are explained…there was a subtle attempt in this flick which gave Leatherface some depth to me. Furthermore, if this movie were filmed today i believe Ermey would be up for a Spike T.V> Horror award for the portrayal of his charcter in this film. The chilling display of emotional disconnect along with his dark sense of humor makes this charcter very enjoyable to watch even if it is very similar to his roles from the past. "If it aint broke don’t fix it". I do not place this movie in my "classic" list but it definately a good watch aroung the Halloween season..

  6. Jason says:

    After the comic misfire of TCM2 and the horrid Leatherface and New Beginning films, I thought the 2003 remake, although flawed, at least took the material seriously. I found this next entry the bleakest and most brutal film since the original. I\’m gonna have to respectfully disagree with you, Nick. The deconstruction of Leatherface added a layer of complexity that was always missing from the later entries in the franchise. I would argue it wasn\’t necessary in the first film but if you\’re going to expand the franchise (not saying it is right or wrong in this context), you have to dig a bit deeper. Seeing the transformation of Uncle Charlie into Sheriff Hoyt is downright unsettling.

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