Finally. Out of all the Horror franchises, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, SCREAM, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, etc, franchises that have all seen both greater and lesser efforts, TEXAS CHAINSAW has fared the worst of them all. Out of three straight sequels to the 1974 classic, a lackluster remake, a prequel to the remake, a ret-con sequel, and now a prequel to the original film, one of those films–ONE–is actually worth watching. The original TCM is a masterpiece, arguably the greatest Horror film ever made. Certainly one of them. Every Chainsaw movie that came after was pure garbage. And calling them “garbage” is being generous. They all sucked. Every movie since the first one. They ALL sucked.

Until now.

LEATHERFACE has top-notch acting–even more impressive when you learn that the entire cast, excepting Stephen Dorf and Lili Taylor, is British. And unlike every other TCM film since the originator, it actually has a plot. And characterization. Granted, it does make a clumsy effort at being a mystery, but it isn’t much of one, as there are only two possibilities as to which troubled youth grows up to become Leatherface, and one of those is so obvious that you know it COULDN’T be him. (It isn’t.) Otherwise, though, there is much to love about this film. I have to admit that I preferred the alternate opening scene and the alternate ending (both of which are available on the DVD) to the ones the directors went with; I believe the film would have been better had they used those alternate scenes. Even so, LEATHERFACE works. Which, given the history of TCM films that have come before it, is practically shocking.

As far as I’m concerned, there are now TWO films in the TCM canon. Only two. The others never happened. Or shouldn’t have. Of them all, only LEATHERFACE is worthy of inclusion, worthy of bearing the mantle of TCM. If only we could make all the other ones disappear and just keep those two films. Alas, what’s done is done. It’s just nice for Leatherface to have a movie at last that pays proper respect to his iconic status.