It's an odd thing that Tobe Hooper is considered to be a horror icon; no doubt he was the father of one of the greatest horror films of all time, 1974's Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but after that, what? Anyone? Sure, he had a brief win with the Spielberg-penned Poltergeist, and then went on to do... The Mangler? Certainly the finest killer-washing-machine movie ever made. What about Crocodile? Masterpiece!! That thing mans a spot in the imdb bottom 100 for good reason. Hell, if you want to check out the latest flick by horror master Tobe Hooper, should you head out to the cinema? Not a chance - you'll find it on the bottom shelf of your video store, with all the other direct-to-video crap. (Oooh, right next to I'll Never Forget What You Did Last Summer! Gold!!)
Yes, Tobe Hooper isn't actually a good filmmaker. In fact, there's plenty of evidence to support the theory that he's quite insane. For one, he originally intended his film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to have a PG rating. Yes. The film in which people are hit in the head with sledgehammers and then cut into pieces for human consumption with a chainsaw was going to be PG. Uhh... What about that mind boggling sequel in which the murder of two boys is caught on radio (???) and thus Leatherface and his Vietnam-vet bro head over to the radio station to butcher everyone to make sure no one will find out about it? (???) Is Tobe Hooper on the meth?
None of this really has anything to do with my review today, the second Leatherface from McFarlane Toys' award-winning Movie Maniacs series. Based not on the 1974 grindhouse original, but rather the 2003 remake, this figure is a McStatue fitting into a nice mini-diorama type base, representing one of many memorable scenes from the superbly nasty remake (on that note, please no one go see the new prequel - it's a heap of crap).
Leatherface stands approx 6" tall,
hunched over holding his mighty saw in both hands. The sculpt is nice, with excellent detail all over, including all the ruffles in the clothes and the tears in his human-face-mask, even getting little details, like the rings on his fingers, down pat. This is, sadly, brought down by an average paint job, tolerable except around the face, which lacks proper detailing and ends up looking quite plain. An abundance of red splatter on the chainsaw is also a drawback, killing realism and making the look less effective.
Articulation is almost zilcho - Leatherface moves at the neck, elbows and wrists. (There may also be a shoulder joint too, but I wasn't willing to risk breakage to find out.) That's not so bad, though, since he only really has one pose - weilding that chainsaw through the doorway. Which brings us to our accessories - his chainsaw, and the nifty mini-diorama base. Snap the plastic arch together and slide in the cardboard backdrops, and you have a nice little doorway for Leatherface to hunch-and-leer from. The back of the cardboard backdrops are just crappy cardboard brown, though, which is sad - viewing it from any angle but the front lessens the nifty effect.
Overall, this Leatherface fig isn't the greatest one we've seen thus far, and doesn't even feel like a step up from the Movie Maniacs original. Those body parts are still classic! Fortunately, any negatives thrown at this and the other TCM2003 figures from the line can be quickly forgotten about thanks to the extremely low prices; these figures were so unpopular that they were on the discount rack barely days after they went public. For just pennies, Leatherface and his wacky family are a bargain.
Now, someone should really buy me the NECA prequel box set with that disgusting corpse. Yes, having read this, you should go buy it for me. I'll send you my address, as long as you pay shipping. I'm a simple man, with simple pleasures - if you find yourself unable to acquire packing foam, I find that scrunching up $20 bills and using them as packaging material works quite well. You owe it to yourself to do this.
What's your favorite PG movie with the word "Massacre" in the title? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.