There’s a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie on the way, titled Leatherface. This is the second film in the franchise to bear that moniker. And despite the confusing title, I’m actually pretty excited for it and can’t help but notice that not many other people seem to be. Of course, a lot of people don’t even seem to know that this film is coming out. There’s been a noticeable lack of promotion on the part of the studio. Yet there’s not a lot about this one to suggest that it’s bad.
In fact, the directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julian Maury impressed almost everyone that caught their debut film Inside. They’ve been attached to numerous franchises since bursting onto the horror scene, including Halloween and Hellraiser, but it never quite seemed to work out. Fans were always left disappointed when those two left a project of that size. Now they’re directing a Texas Chainsaw Massacre feature and by all accounts they’re doing it their way. That already makes this an insane and likely incredibly gruesome entry that elevates it above most recent features in this franchise.
In addition to that, the movie is a prequel to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which means it is set in the original continuity and given how loosely defined that is, whatever changes that are made probably won’t be too big of a deal.
The film is also described as being a “brutal road movie” and that means that it will not only stand on its own as its own type of feature, it could also invert the structure of the original. There, it was the innocent victims who were cruising across the state of Texas. Here, it would be the killers. If done right, that could prove to be a smart move.
Shot in Eastern Europe, Leatherface completed shooting months ago and is apparently still going through the post-production process. It’s got a solid cast including Stephen Dorff and Lili Taylor. There should be promotion, even if it doesn’t have a release date, yet. We should have more than a single poster and one shot of the film by now, especially considering that the only still isn’t even of Leatherface himself!
Normally, I’m excited when a film doesn’t reveal too much, but I can’t help but feel like there’s more to the story here. This flick is complete and there’s no announcement of a release date, theatrical or otherwise. The fact that we don’t even know how we’ll be getting it is fairly typical with the current state of the industry, but that doesn’t do much to ease our minds.
So what’s the hold up? There could be a lot of reasons for it. It seems to be a trend as of late to determine what you want a movie to be after it’s already been shot. Now that Leatherface is in post, it could be changing completely. Perhaps that’s why the postproduction process is taking so long. It could also be a simpler reason, too. They might just not think that Leatherface has enough of a built-in audience to warrant a release at this very moment.
More people know the Texas Chainsaw Massacre title than know the character of Leatherface. As strange as it sounds to horror fans, there will be people that will see the title and know that it’s referring to something they’ve heard of, but they’re not sure what. That’s not as big an issue as the fact that Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t a selling title the way that it used to be. Newer franchises are almost guaranteed to make more money. Saw is already over ten years old and I’m absolutely certain that the a Saw reboot would make more money at the box office than the next reboot of Friday the 13th, Halloween, or Texas Chainsaw.
Leatherface may have cost only a couple of million to make, if not less, so people might be baffled as to why it’s being held off. But that budget doesn’t take marketing into account. Marketing, even for a movie of this size, could easily be twice to three times the original cost. With those numbers, it wouldn’t be a surprise of they decided to hold off the release of the film for a bit.
Sure, it could be argued that Texas Chainsaw 3D made money even if it wasn’t well received by critics, but the studio could—and would—easily argue that it was the 3D that made the money, and not so much the movie itself. They will always have an excuse not to do something. It will always happen and Leatherface might be just another example of this. Maybe it’s just bad. But there are a thousand other reasons we might not be seeing this one for quite a while.