Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
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Ranked #2,834
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A couple encounters a perverted gas station attendant who threatens them with a shotgun. They take a deserted path in Texas to seek help, but only meet up with a cannibalistic clan interested in helping themselves to fresh meat. --IMDb
Kate Hodge
Kate Hodge
Ken Foree
Ken Foree
R.A. Mihailoff
R.A. Mihailoff
William Butler
William Butler
Viggo Mortensen
Viggo Mortensen
Review by Chad
Added: June 08, 2005
In the third entry of the series, we have a movie that is very loosely connected to the original and the sequel. Leatherface is still here (now played by R.A. Mihailoff), and the events from the original movie are skimmed over in an opening narrative, but otherwise, this is a completely new movie with a completely different family. The movie starts out with Michelle (Kate Hodge) and Ryan (William Butler), two bickering yuppies who are en route from California to Florida and who just so happen to be traveling through Texas. They stop at a gas station, where they meet up with Alfredo (Tom Everett) and a hitchhiker named Tex (Viggo Mortensen). The meeting soon turns ugly when Michelle rejects Alfredo's advances, and with the help of Tex, the yuppie couple manage to make it out of there and avoid winding up on the wrong side of Alfredo's shotgun. This will be the least of their worries, however, as a truck nearly runs them off the road a short distance away from the gas station. The couple is fine, but the tire on the car has been blown out. While Ryan attempts to change the tire, the couple hear someone approaching on foot. Another life-threatening confrontation is had, and the couple quickly get back on the road... when they are involved in an automobile accident with survivalist Benny (Ken Foree). The three team up in order to survive this madness, and soon meet the entire psychotic family - a demented little girl (Jennifer Banko), Mama (Miriam Byrd-Nethery), Tinker (Joe Unger), a few surprise guests, and of course, Leatherface himself. The "Who will survive, and what will be left of them?" tag-line from the original definitely fits in with this entry as well.

The movie itself works out nicely enough, and I certainly enjoyed it more than the previous sequel. However, I did have a problem with the storyline that is presented. That problem would be the lack of explanations filling us in on how this family ties in with the previous movies, how Leatherface got hooked up with them, how Leatherface survived the chainsaw through the stomach, and several other points similar to those. I really don't expect a detailed report on all of this, but at least a casual mention would have been nice... hell, I was satisfied with the way that the Friday The 13th movies connected to each other simply by, for example, ending one with Jason underwater and starting the next with him rising from the lake. Again, there doesn't have to be some elaborate explanation or detailed back-story, but the writers should have at least acknowledged the fact that this was a sequel and that there were two movies preceding this one.

Other than that, the movie was surprisingly good. Continuity problems aside, the storyline plays out quite nicely, and returns to the straight-out horror approach from the original. It's certainly not as good as the original, but it does turn out to be a pleasant eighty-and-change minutes. The Leatherface character is back in full form, and the "love-sick pansy" from part two is nowhere to be found; he's just as vicious as ever, and this time, he doesn't even take shit from his own family members. Nice touch there, in my opinion. Another selling point of the movie was the excellent special effects. There's some very nasty scenes involved here (assuming you watch the unrated version), and the highly-realistic blood flows freely in each scene.

The acting abilities were a bit lopsided here. William Butler (Ryan) is horrible in his role, Kate Hodge is pretty bad as well up until the point where she snaps, and Ken Foree is beyond great as always. It was almost a bit funny watching Kate and Ken have a conversation in one particular scene; Kate gives a pretty mediocre performance in the scene, while Ken just completely dominates it with his excellent performance. I've heard of stealing the show before, but here, Ken steals it, pawns it, makes a few billion bucks from the sale, and buys himself a nice beach-front house down in Malibu. Yes, the scene is that lopsided, and most of the rest are nearly as bad considering that Kate and Ken wind up being the main characters. I do have to give Kate credit though, as she does turn the performance abilities up a bit during the final quarter of the movie... but up until that point, she's pretty horrid.

This one is definitely worth a viewing for fans of Leatherface or horror in general. It's not as good as the original (although, not much is), but it's leagues better than the other two sequels and the remake. If you do decide to pick this one up, be sure to get the semi-recent special edition; it features an alternate ending that is infinitely better than the theatrical ending. 8/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 09/25/2007, 07:52 PM
This one blew Part 2 away. I didn't know what to expect, but I really enjoyed this one. Thank God too, because Part 2 would have been a terrible way to end the series. I really think that, like the Nighmare on Elm Street series, they ignore the lame sequel and instead pick up more or less where the original left off. 8/10
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/26/2007, 01:35 PM
I know that Kane Hodder didn't play Leatherface, but when watching the behind-the-scenes stuff, I swear to God I saw him in there.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 09/26/2007, 02:24 PM
I don't remember what flick it was, so I'm assuming it's this one. At one point, Kane Hodder did indeed do the stunt work for Leatherface. Also, in Jason Goes to Hell he was the one with the Freddy sweater that grabbed the mask. 3 down, 1 to go; he's really interested in doing some work as Michael Myers right now.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 10/24/2007, 11:40 PM
He was also one of the security guards at the beginning. Don't try and give me little tidbits, I know them all.
Crispy #5: Crispy - added 10/25/2007, 12:13 AM
You didn't know he was stunting for Leatherface. So there goes your argument right out the window. The point I was making is that he's done Leatherface, Freddy and of course Jason.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added 10/25/2007, 12:33 AM
I knew he was stunting for Leatherface. That was a month ago, champ. And that's hardly playing Freddy.
Crispy #7: Crispy - added 10/25/2007, 12:57 AM
Don't play your time travel game if I can't play too. And as for the Freddy thing, that's his logic not mine. So you can take it up with him.

Speaking of time travel, why aren't the Back to the Future flicks on here?
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