Fan love has transformed the bogeymen of yesteryear into nice, melancholic old gentlemen. Who to do the dirty work for them? Trendy ones of course!
We have known for at least Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, Tobe Hooper) that Leatherface can be quite a funny guy when he doesn’t really care. In 2022, we discover that the ex-hippie butcher’s virtuoso has become a lonesome cowboy contemporary, a good fellow attached to traditional values, saving in extremis his small Texan town from an express gentrification and avenging his mother, expropriated by young capitalists who love latte macchiato. Are we resurrecting John Wayne? This new episode of the saga, in the form of a “retcon” (these suites erase all the others), does not even try to hide it: the bad guys here are those who will spend the rest of the film being dismembered.
Directed by the unknown David Blue Garcia and produced by the new little star of the genre, Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead, Don’t breathe), Massacre at the face chainsaw 2022 works on a very particular mood of horror: the gore release. No great figure of evil, no trouble, no transgression, it’s the complete opposite of the original film and a good opportunity to witness (very) savage executions by an icon of the genre. It’s a sketchy little treat filled with filthy vignettes, pure exploitation cinema packed into 90 minutes.
Not as bland as don’t breathe 2 (where the blind psychopath of the first part suddenly becomes a nice Nova grandpa) in his reversal of moral values, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 encourages us all the same to take sides with Leatherface, and his heroes in the flu. It’s about four youngsters driving a Tesla, who decide to take over a semi-abandoned town in the middle of nowhere. The idea: set up restaurants, art galleries and comic book stores there, hoping that other city dwellers, seduced by the low rents, will quickly join them. The satirical charge, symbolized by a colossus with a chainsaw, is therefore not the light kind (but often hilarious, you will not soon forget the disco-bus scene), but it is part of a real trend of the recent horror where the hipster seems to replace the yuppie 80s (that of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 precisely) in the role of the ideal sausage meat.
Recently the retcon (again!) of candy man elaborated (with a lot of fun) the same killing game between an old school bogeyman and art gallery regulars. On Apple TV+, the Servant by M. Night Shyamalan is having fun in his corner, gently scaring the crap out of a background of natural wine, and Nanny, horror drama recently awarded at Sundance, seems to want to do battle with the left-latte of the beautiful American districts. At the moment, we don’t yet know very well whether this trend is terribly reactive (down with the progressives!) or gently liberating (no to tofu!). Still, the era seems to have chosen its favorite victim. The gentrifeuse massacre can continue.
By Romain Thoral