It’s finally August, which means the countdown to Frightfest 2017 is on. In the weeks leading up to the festival, Joey Keogh will be taking a look at some of the most anticipated movies on this year’s jam-packed schedule. This week, it’s Leatherface.
For many of us, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 shocker The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a gateway into horror movies. Whether you watched it secretly in a friend’s bedroom, on a rusty old VHS tape, in the company of your father (who really should have known better) or introduced by Mark Kermode on Channel 4 at 3AM (for readers in the UK), experiencing this most unique and horrifying of movies was a formative experience.
There are few characters scarier than master of ceremonies Leatherface who, at the end of the seminal film, is shown whipping his weapon of choice around in a fit of rage at bloodied Final Girl Sally Hardesty getting away. The intervening years saw this terrifying creation softened, even neutered, in sequels and reboots of varying quality. Last we heard, Alexandra Daddario was referring to Leatherface as “cuz”–hardly the best moniker for a villain.
This year sees the release of Leatherface, a prequel of sorts that looks to tell the titular killer’s backstory, from Inside directors directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. When the movie was originally announced, fans were understandably skeptical. But then a gnarly trailer dropped, depicting a world we knew all too well, accompanied by some pretty gruesome artwork, and suddenly our curiosity was piqued.
There’s no telling whether this story even has any juice left, of course, and prequels don’t necessarily make Horror Icons scarier (see: Rob Zombie’s ambitiously flawed Halloween reboot). But, for those who were left disgusted by Texas Chainsaw 3D‘s odd tone (I thought it had its moments, particularly when that one lad was dragged down the stairs by the man himself, hitting his head on each step), Leatherface seems to be on the right track. The cinematography looks sun-baked and gritty, the tone jet-black and the focus, by all accounts, is on keeping the myth of the big guy intact (as opposed to having him dance or wear drag).
The official synopsis for Leatherface is as follows:
In Texas, years before the events of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, in the early days of the infamous Sawyer family, the youngest child is sentenced to a mental hospital after a suspicious incident leaves the sheriffs’ daughter dead. Ten years later, he kidnaps a young nurse and escapes with 3 other inmates. Pursued by authorities including the deranged sheriff out to avenge his daughter’s death, the young Sawyer teen goes on a violent road trip from hell, molding him into the monster known now as Leatherface
Similarly to Cult Of Chucky, Leatherface will hit DirecTV exclusively on September 21, 2017. It will then make a limited theatrical bow and VOD debut on October 20, 2017 (which is more than the killer doll is being afforded, sadly). This means lucky Frightfest attendees will be seeing it almost a month earlier than everyone else. There are no reviews for this one either, so we don’t know what the general consensus is at the time of writing. But, suffice to say, this is a 2017 must-see for horror fans and a major coup for Frightfest.
A new trailer just dropped for the flick, and it’s plenty scary, but the super-nasty, original red band teaser is still giving me pause. Check it out for yourself below, and sound off in the comments about whether you think Leatherface is scarier with a backstory, or left mysterious like his unhinged redneck brethren. Stay tuned to the site for more in the weeks leading up to Frightfest 2017.
Leatherface plays Frightfest 2017 at 9PM on Friday, 25th August 2017 in the Main Screen. The full festival line-up of films is available on their official site, where all ticketing information can also be found. Wicked Horror will once again be there, to bring you all the must-read reviews and exclusive interviews from this year’s festival. So stay tuned.