The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

1997 Suspense/Thriller | Comedy | Horror

In this third sequel to slasher classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, four Texas teens are abducted by a family of psychos on their way home from the senior prom. Bloodshed, torture, and intrigue ensue. Barry (Tyler Cone) and Sean (John Harrison) meet their fates quickly, but semi-bimbo Heather (Lisa Newmyer) lasts long enough to be tortured and burned before having her head cracked open like a walnut by a mechanical leg. Meanwhile, sweet, befuddled Jenny (Renee Zellweger) actively resists her captors by stealing cars, breaking through windows, and jumping off roofs. Although Leatherface (Robert Jacks), the human skin-wearing transvestite based on real-life serial killer Ed Gein, is back on board, the cannibal cast this time out also includes several new characters, from bionic villain Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey) to trashy realtor Darla (Tonie Perensky) and literature-quoting flunky W.E. (Joe Stevens). The plot also adds an X-Files-esque conspiracy to the basic Chainsaw concept in the form of deformed businessman Rothman (James Gale), who descends on the family of killers to critique their torture techniques. Written and directed by original Massacre scribe Kim Henkel, the film appeared at 1995 festivals in a 104-minute cut under the title The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; after actors Zellweger and McConaughey became Hollywood stars, the film was re-titled, re-cut, and given a limited theatrical release in August of 1997. The nine minutes of deleted footage included scenes of Jenny's troubled home life. Both versions included brief cameos from Marilyn Burns, Paul Partain, and John Dugan -- all of whom appeared in Tobe Hooper's original film. Prodigious litigation preceded the film's re-release, although both the McConaughey and Zellweger camps denied attempting to block its release. The film's soundtrack includes a who's who of local Texas bands.~ Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide