Stars: 2 of 5.
Running Time: 85 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Ken Foree (DAWN OF THE DEAD, FROM BEYOND, THE WANDERERS), Miriam Byrd-Nethery (Clu Gulager's wife and star of SUMMER HEAT, DEADLY GAME, FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM), Viggo Mortensen (APPALOOSA, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, CRIMSON TIDE), Tom Everett (AIR FORCE ONE, DIE HARD 2, EERIE INDIANA), Duane Whitaker (Maynard in PULP FICTION, THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, HOBGOBLINS).
Tag-lines: "There's Roadkill All Over Texas." AND "The most controversial horror film ever is finally here." Ummm, not quite.
Best one-liner(s): "I like liver."
I'd like to preface this by saying that I respect director Jeff Burr (FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, STEPFATHER II) as a person, and as a friend and promoter of the Gulager family, but LEATHERFACE: TCM III is an unadulterated mess- particularly in the wake of Hooper's initial TEXAS CHAINSAW masterpiece and his own uniquely-crafted Gran Guignol follow-up. Blandness and mediocrity rule the day here. They didn't even film it in Texas. It plays out like a vague remake of Part I, but eagerly subverts everything that made Part I work. Just because you smudge dirt on the face of a TJ Maxx model doesn't mean they can suddenly play "Texas Hillbilly Cannibal."
The Sawyer family home is not dingy, terrifying, or filled with big filthy chickens in tiny cages– instead, it looks like it could be featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Kinda looks like it could be in a gated community. Perhaps in a cul-de-sac?
Most of the cast is embarrassed and uncomfortable using words like "y'all," "ain't," and "darkie." Viggo Mortensen and Miriam Byrd-Nethery (R.I.P.) rise above the muck to deliver nuanced performances, but that doesn't change the fact that 'terrifying country bumpkin' Viggo has frosted blonde highlights and carefully blowdried hair.
I think I forgot to mention that Viggo's in partial drag sometimes, too. But instead of being scary, it's kind of whimsical, like SOME LIKE IT HOT or VICTOR/VICTORIA.
I guess Leatherface does some mean stylin' on the side. Speaking of Leatherface, it's almost like they had no concept of the character: here, he's basically just Frankenstein with a chainsaw. Oh, and he drives a car, listens to heavy metal, and plays with a child's computer.
It would have been better to just go the completely ridiculous route, like LEATHERFACE TAKES MANHATTAN or LEATHERFACE IN SPACE, rather than just limply rehash the original with groan-mustering elements. At least Ken Foree (Peter in DAWN OF THE DEAD, FROM BEYOND) is likable as a survivalist hero.
Ken Foree is a likable guy.
Overall, though, I can only give this two stars, and it earns both of them from the solid performances of some select actors.
Miriam Byrd-Nethery is a real trouper. You don't get to be Clu Gulager's wife by half-assing things.
My advice is to just pretend that Part II was the final installment of the series, and leave it at that.