Despite the gruesome subject material, director John Luessenhop’s reverence for the 1974 horror classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is readily apparent as he discusses his directorial choices for “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” Perhaps more than learning about the franchise itself, Luessenhop’s turn as director for the seventh entry in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchise offered him a unique opportunity to explore a genre he loves.
“I had a great time going into the horror genre and playing with it,” Luessenhop said. “I learned a lot about other horror films, and learned to appreciate other directors.”
The film stars Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”) as Heather Miller, a young girl who has inherited a Victorian mansion from her late grandmother. When Heather and her friends take a road trip to visit the mansion, they learn that the house is occupied by serial killer Jed Sawyer, more commonly known as Leatherface.
“I hadn’t seen the [original] movie prior to being cast, but afterwards I did watch it,” Daddario said. “It’s interesting to see how much of an impact it has made even though the original came out more than 30 years ago.”
Throughout the last three decades, several sequels and remakes have strayed from the storyline created by Tobe Hooper’s original horror film. “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” rather than serving as a remake, is a direct sequel to Hooper’s introduction of Leatherface.
Luessenhop explained that the inspiration for this outing in the franchise resulted from his thoughts on Thanksgiving.
“When we go home for Thanksgiving, we have to deal with our dysfunctional family, but at the end of the day we learn to accept that we cannot change them,” Luessenhop said.
This idea of family — and coming to terms with who you are — is the film’s central theme.
Yet the 3D film also works in countless scares, highlighted by a particularly frightening scene where Heather hides in an empty casket to hide from Leatherface.
“We didn’t rely too much on 3D for this scene, because we wanted it to appear more natural and remain faithful to the horror,” Luessenhop said.
Daddario further explained how she thought the scene successfully brought focus to the horrifying situation.
“It’s really more about the suspense and the idea of hiding in a coffin as a killer is pushing his chainsaw through,” Daddario explained. “There’s no escape, and that’s what scares the audience the most.”
“Texas Chainsaw 3D” attempts to answer the questions it raises, but it also leaves room for a potential sequel, which Luessenhop could potentially helm.
“I would like to write [the sequel] and come up with a cool storyline before making a commitment,” Luessenhop said.
Daddario also said she would be willing to return for a sequel and expressed the possibility of coming back as a killer rather than a victim.
“I’m sure [playing a killer] will be a bit more challenging, but I guess we’ll see what happens in the future,” Daddario said.
Junior Gonzales is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.