Freddy, Jason and Leatherface: The New Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman

Freddy, Jason and Leatherface- The New Dracula Frankenstein and Wolfman_you-won-cannes

Whether you love or hate the Saw franchise, there is no arguing that Jigsaw has rightfully earned his place next to the top horror icons such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers. Now Carl Mazzocone, who was in charge of Jigsaw’s home Twisted Pictures for four years, has set out to put Leatherface back at the top, where he belongs.

Mazzocone used the success of all six Saw films to convince Lionsgate to take another crack at Leatherface, who has been one of the most abused horror icons over the years. The rights holders to the Texas Chainsaw legacy agreed to a six picture deal with Mazzocone, and it looks like it was a smart move. Mazzoocone’s Texas Chainsaw 3D beat Django Unchained and Les Miserables to become the first number one movie at the box office in 2013. Chainsaw 3D raked in an unexpected $21.7 million its opening weekend, putting it right behind Platinum Dune’s 2003 TCM remake ($28.1 million) and ahead of the 2006 prequel, The Beginning ($18.1 million). This means Leatherface is back for a potential five more sequels, and you can bet Freddy and Jason are considering coming out of retirement too.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most rebooted and failed horror franchises in the history of horror films. Starting with Tobe Hooper’s original sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, essentially a parody of the original, the franchise went downhill quicker than Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or any other long running horror franchise. Even the low budget softcore direct-to-video Witchcraft franchise (which had 13 sequels) managed to hold it together better and longer than TCM did.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre III was New Line’s attempt to turn Leatherface into the next slasher icon at the start of the 90s. The studio put Leatherface’s name before the title, and went with a more traditional slasher-like tone to the film. But the sequels to Hooper’s original masterpiece failed at recreating its success, and TCM seemed deceased with a Do Not Resuscitate order after Kim Henkel gave it one more bizarre shot with Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in 1994..

It’s almost fitting that the original TCM franchise ended with the title Next Generation as the other horror franchises continued after their ‘final’ films. Freddy found new life after Freddy’s Dead with Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason, and Jason kept on trucking with seven sequels after his ‘Final Chapter’. TCM is like the redheaded stepchild of the horror world. It seems like Leatherface couldn’t do anything right, and had to sit watching from the sidelines as even Pinhead and Chucky found longer and better success.

TCM’s legacy was even more tarnished when it helped usher in the Platinum Dune remake craze. Who could have guessed that the franchise that helped pave the way for so many horror classics would also give birth to so many horror abortions? Michael Bay and friends tortured horror fans for years with its polished turds (or ‘reimaginings’) until thankfully moving on to rape other people’s childhoods by shitting on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

This is why I’m thankful for Mazzocone. Freddy, Jason, Myers, and even Pinhead and Chucky are not going away anytime soon. All horror fans can hope for is that Mazzocone has started a new era, a post-Platinum Dunes era of horror films. Dunes obviously never eats where they shit, only making one prequel and no sequels to their six horror films. These days Hollywood does not make movies, they make planned trilogies before hitting the reset button. Mazzocone’s business plan of signing actors (survivors) to multiple movies, and planning out six films instead of one is much more in line with the current Hollywood film model. Horror films are known for their sequels, and Leatherface’s current box office success hopefully paved the way for heavy hitters such as Jason and Freddy to climb back into the spotlight.

There have already been talks of a Don Mancini helmed Child’s Play reboot, and rumors of Hellraiser finally escaping direct to DVD hell have also been floating around. That doesn’t leave many more horror franchises to rape, so it’s safe to assume Hollywood is already prepping its cock to stick into Freddy and Jason again. And considering their total lack of imagination, hopefully they are finished with ‘reimagining’ things and will return to good old fashioned sequels. Who says they can’t pick up where Freddy vs. Jason left off, or actually make that Friday the 13th XIII: Jason vs. Jarvis in 3D movie we’ve been hearing rumblings about? The current generation of teens don’t care if a movie is a sequel, remake or reboot; they will pay to text during any movie.

Entertainment Weekly  #1241 January 11, 2013
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