The timeline of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is a convoluted and messy one. Where exactly does Netflix’s 2022 legacy sequel fit in?
Here’s how Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022 fits into Leatherface’s extremely confusing timeline, given the endless array of remakes and reboots witnessed by the franchise. The point of origin, of course, is Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which weaved a tale of violence, cannibalism, and visions straight out of nightmares. This particular film unsettled audiences to a considerable extent, thanks to the raw, gritty, slaughterhouse feel that the film grants, along with the blood-curdling depiction of one of horror’s most iconic masked killers: Leatherface.
Hooper returned with the comedic, divisive The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 after 12 whole years, which picked up right after the original and ended with the death of Leatherface. This storyline meant the death of a potential franchise, which is why New Line Cinema produced the next entry, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, which disregarded Hooper’s previous entry altogether. Then came the Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger-starred Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which marks the end of the original timeline, but the reboot and remake timelines that follow botch Leatherface’s trajectory to a considerable extent.
However, before jumping into the complex, massacred reboot/remake timelines, here’s a look at where exactly Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre fits in terms of chronology. The new installment is a do-over and a direct continuation of Hooper’s 1974 original, positioning it into the legacy sequel category. This follows the footsteps of David Gordon Green’s Halloween films, which also ignore the countless previous entries and pick up where the original left off. As this has been attempted quite a few times with regards to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboots/remakes, the ambit for expanding Leatherface as a character in a fresh manner narrows considerably, introducing the risk of repeating formulaic clichés.
Whether Netflix’s “requel” will be able to do justice in terms of continuing the original story remains to be seen, but as per the released trailer, Leatherface’s return is expected to be recontextualized through a modern lens. In order to arrest audience attention, or to make viewers remotely care about its fresh characters, the new installment needs to do something radically different while preserving the sanctity of the original. While this is not an easy feat to pull off, one can only hope that the sheer terror induced by the figure of Leatherface makes a return in meaningful ways, hence reinvigorating the franchise.
As this installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre completely disregards the other films, talking about them is indeed in vain. This means that films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and 2017’s Leatherface, which attempt to flesh out elaborate backstories about Leatherface’s origin hold no weight in terms of understanding the latest legacy sequel. However, the original final girl Sally Hardesty is definitely returning to the franchise, presumably to finish what Leatherface started all those years ago.
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