Controversial Slasher Movie Getting Kicked off Netflix
The arguably most out-there Texas Chainsaw Massacre is about to drag its mutilated corpse off Netflix this week. Do you dare miss out?
The first Texas Chain Saw Massacre movie caused a national uproar when it was released in 1974. And believe it or not, this wasn’t just because it misspelled the word “chainsaw.” Released in the faintly more innocent time of “before the internet,” the movie tricked audiences and authority figures alike. Both took the film’s claim that it was “based on a true story” at face value, and found its grimy images of women hung from meat hooks and men bisected by power tools off-putting. In terms of an older generation clutching their pearls at the trends and tastes of younger audiences, there is little more offensive in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre canon.
Yet if you ask Chainsaw fans which movie crossed the line, you might be surprised to learn that the most common answer is the 2013 installment that was released into theaters as Texas Chainsaw 3D (although it is now more commonly referred to as simply Texas Chainsaw). There is little at first glance of value in this forgotten franchise sequel, however its ending is so bad that it exceeds all standards of good taste or good storytelling… allowing it to become something else entirely.
Doing the whole “legacy sequel” thing before it was cool, Texas Chainsaw is technically the first in a long line of Chainsaw movies that ignored all the sequels and reboots before it and instead acted as a direct sequel to the original film. It is in this framing that we are introduced to Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario before she was famous), a young and incredibly photogenic butcher’s assistant who works at a dead end grocery store. If that job isn’t a clue to her true heritage, the rest of the movie spells it out pretty well.
As it turns out, Heather is adopted. As a baby she was taken in by a husband and wife named Miller, but she actually is a Sawyer. Which is to say she is a child of the cannibalistic family from the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre! Crazier still, it appears most of the Sawyers were wiped out in an act of vigilante justice, but the most wealthy among them—a woman named Verna—was not burned with the others. Rather she married rich and in her will bequeathed her family estate to Heather. But there is a price to that Southern opulence… and his name is Leatherface.
Kept in the basement of Verna’s house, the aging serial killer is just looking for an excuse to rev up the old chainsaw. He soon finds one when he uses it on Heather’s friends. But when local vigilante sheriffs attempt to do the “lynching” thing on Heather, she and Leatherface team up, and Daddario has the misfortune of delivering the now infamous line below.
Seeing a crooked cop beat up Leatherface after recently learning that a) he is her long lost cousin, and b) that he doesn’t want to hurt her, Heather tosses the chainsaw across the floor to Leatherface and crows, “Do your thing, cuz!” And with that ol’ Leatherface does his thing well, first by cutting the corrupt copper’s legs out from under him and then slowly feeding him to a nearby meat grinder.
It is perhaps the stupidest moment in a franchise rife with stupidity. Yes, technically this is an inversion of slasher movie tropes with the “final girl” turning out to be a relative of the masked killer, and even teaming up with him. The final shot of the film, where Heather seems to agree to become Leatherface’s caretaker in grandma’s house, even confirms that for the rest of his life they’re going to be fam.
But the fact the movie made this hard turn, and suggesting that simply due to her birth Heather is destined to be okay with the whole cannibalistic serial killer shtick after he literally butchered her boyfriend, remains a large collar-bone sized pill to swallow. Nine years ago it killed this pseudo-TCM reboot dead in its tracks. But today it has mild camp value for those bold enough to hit play. If you want to watch this monstrosity on Netflix though, you better act fast since it leaves the streaming service at the end of this month.