**IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D YET, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY HOLD OFF ON READING THIS POST UNTIL YOU DO. SO GO SEE IT, AND THEN COME ON BACK AND READ THIS!**
So Texas Chainsaw 3D is probably going to end up being the most polarizing horror film of 2013; ya either totally love it or ya totally hate it, and unfortunately most seem to belong in the latter category. While there are certain flaws inherent in the film, which I can't help but agree with the haters on, there is one aspect of the movie that I feel has been quite unfairly criticized, that being what most are referring to as the 'humanization' and or 'pussification' of Leatherface, which takes place in the latter portions of the film.
Again, spoilers will continue throughout this post, so ya probably shouldn't read this until you've seen the movie. Ye have been warned!
So towards the end of Texas Chainsaw 3D, the film takes a ballsy turn, by almost making you feel bad for Leatherface, and pitting final girl Heather and he on the same side, joined together by the desire to get revenge on the man who orchestrated the massacre of the Sawyer family back in the '70s. We knew throughout the whole movie that Heather(face) was a Sawyer, but it wasn't until the final act of the film that both she and Leatherface realized this fact, at which point Leatherface stops trying to kill his cousin, and she starts helping him. The saw is family, after all.
The film ends with Heather realizing she now owns Leatherface, who was part of her grandmother's will, and the two of them share somewhat of a tender moment, before Heather locks Leatherface back up in his basement cave. Contrary to any of the Chainsaw films past, we're left feeling as if Leatherface was the hero of the film, so to speak, merely a man seeking revenge for the murder of his family.
Naturally, given it's such a ballsy place to go with the story, it was this ending to the film which has proven to be the most polarizing thing about the movie, with many hardcore Chainsaw fans simply unable to look past the fact that Leatherface was depicted not as a murderous monster, but rather as a human being. Am I surprised that the majority of fans seem to feel that way? Not at all. But for me personally, it was that latter portion of the film that really made me fall in love with it, and like I said in my review, I feel like the direction they went with the character was 100% true to the way he was depicted in the original, which is what I loved so much about it.
Hate to break it to ya folks, but it was Tobe Hooper who humanized Leatherface. And he was always kind of a pussy.
Now I'm not going to ever claim that Leatherface is a good person, nor do I think that was the way the makers of Chainsaw 3D intended us to feel about him. I mean come on. Dude cuts people up with a chainsaw and wears their faces ... there's no denying that he's a sick fuck who should never under any circumstances be allowed out of the house. He's not the hero and he's not the good guy. He's a dangerous animal, plain and simple
But here's the thing about Leatherface. The way I have always seen the character, at least according to the fiction of the original film, is that he's basically a big dumb animal, who quite frankly has no idea what he's doing. If he were raised by a good family, he would've probably ended up being the harmless kid who rides the short bus, that everyone either makes fun of or feels bad for. But since he was raised by the Saywer clan, that big dumb animal was turned into a weapon, his brute strength taken advantage of for the benefit and protection of the family. Quite simply, the way I see Leatherface is that he is essentially the Sawyer clan's chainsaw, a vicious power tool that does their bidding, and who is no more responsible for his actions than a gun is responsible for shooting up a school. That's what I find so scary about Leatherface; he's a powerful and dangerous machine, programmed by the most evil of people. Behind that mask lies a scared and mentally challenged little boy, who will do anything to protect his own.
There's a great scene in the original Chainsaw, right after Jerry gets hammered in the head, where Leatherface begins to freak out about what he's doing, and is quite clearly scared that more people are going to enter his home. In all likelihood, he's been kept locked away in that house for his whole life, and when he sees people he doesn't recognize, he has no idea what to do, and so he freaks out. And does what he's been trained to do. He brutally slaughters the teens like animals, as he's been instructed to do, the same way a lion would slaughter an invader stepping foot inside his family's den. He has no idea what he's really doing, he's merely protecting his family, which is really the only thing he knows how to do. Is he gonna go outside of the house and start killing people? No, the Leatherface in the original Chainsaw wouldn't. But if you step inside his house, thereby threatening his family, then it's onto the meat hook you go. And that's Leatherface in a nutshell.
Now another thing that people have been hating on the movie for, which ties into all this, is the carnival scene, which many fans seem to feel was a waste of a potentially awesome scene. Leatherface chases Heather into a jam packed town carnival, and proceeds to kill absolutely nobody at the carnival, which bummed a whole lot of people out, who were expecting that scene to be one of the most fun of the entire movie. While that would've been an awesome scene, it also would've totally gone against everything that Leatherface represents, according to the way he was depicted in the original and this, the first true direct sequel. If he had started hacking up innocent people at the carnival, the whole idea of Leatherface protecting his family would've gone out the window and he would've just become another generic slasher villain. Leatherface doesn't kill random people. He only kills when he feels his family is being threatened, so for him to just go around slashing up random people would've been perhaps cool to see, but totally counterproductive in the grand scheme of things. Now THAT, would've been stupid.
So what am I getting at here? Is Leatherface excused and unaccountable for the sick shit he does, simply because he doesn't know what he's really doing? Is he a good guy because he's protecting his family? No, of course not. If mental illness excused people from their sick and twisted actions, then nobody would be held accountable for the majority of shit that goes on in the real world. My simple point is that the fictional character of Leatherface was originally depicted by Tobe Hooper/Gunnar Hansen the very same way he was depicted in Texas Chainsaw 3D, so I'm a bit confused as to why so many people seem to pissed off about the 'humanization' of the character, when that's the way he's always been. Though it picks up decades after the events of the original, it was that faithfulness to the character that I really loved about the movie, and which made it truly feel like a direct continuation to the original, and to that character's story.
Now, if we're going to hate on the film for the way Heather suddenly sided with this hulking brute who spent the whole night trying to kill her, that's a whole nother issue for a whole nother day. Ya gotta kinda suspend some disbelief on that one (fine by me, this being a horror movie and all). But when it comes to Leatherface, I thought a brilliant job was done keeping the character faithful to his original incarnation, and I greatly admire the ballsiness of expanding on that idea of Leatherface not exactly being a purely evil monster, which was really only hinted at in the original. The Chainsaw movies have always deep down been about family, so I for one loved to see that idea taken to a whole nother level with this one.
Not saying you have to like the movie, and again, I totally get why not everyone would. It's really not for everyone. My simple point with this rant here tonight is that it's kinda unfair to hate on the movie for the one aspect of it that is most faithful to the Chainsaw movie we have all known and loved for so many years. If anything, that's the one thing all of us Chainsaw fans should be embracing about it.
But that's just my two cents. Sound off with your opinions on the matter below!