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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (also known as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), is a 1994 American horror film written and directed by Kim Henkel, starred Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey years before either of them became recognized as mainstream stars. It is the fourth installment in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre series.
The film has very loose connection with the series' previous installments, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), but rather quasi-remakes the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). The makers of the film intended it as the "real sequel" to the 1974 movie. They also intended to do a remake (or "reimagining") of the original, but ended up billing the result as a sequel to the third film.
The film premiered at the South by Southwest film conference in 1995 under the title The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and ended up having a rocky release-history, as it became the centre of controversy between its filmmakers and distributor Columbia Pictures; this resulted in the film being shelved for several years. Eventually, the film received a limited release in August 1997, re-cut from the original material, and under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
In this installment, we hear that since 1991 (when the third Texas Chainsaw Massacre took place), the massacres have stopped and for five years Texas has remained silent. This installment takes place in 1996 and starts off with a group of teens at their prom. This includes Jenny (Renee Zellweger), who lives with her mother and her abusive step-father, her friends and all of their dates.
When one of Jenny's friends, Heather, notices her boyfriend Barry is missing, she finds him cheating on her with another girl. Extremely angry Heather starts driving away in Barry's car, while Jenny, and her boyfriend Sean, still the backseat with and Barry running after them. Heather finally stops and lets Barry in so she could confront him about the cheating. Driving angrily, Jenny gets collides with another car ion a remote wooded road. The other driver passes out after saying he's not hurt.
Heather, Barry and Jenny decide to look for help while Sean stays at the scene of the crash. The trio finds an insurance office and ask Darla, the agent working there, for help. She calls up her boyfriend Vilmer Sawyer (Matthew McConaughey) to get in his pickup truck and head out to the scene the crash. Vilmar examines the passed out teen with Seans help, but suddenly breaks the kid's neck and chases Sean down with his pickup.
Meanwhile, Heather and Barry head off, leaving Jenny alone. They find a house that ends up belonging to the cannibal family. They're confronted by Leatherface and his brother W.E. Sawyer. W.E. threatens Barry with a shotgun while Heather is put up on a meathook by Leatherface. Barry asks W.E. to put the gun down just so that he can use the bathroom. W.E. gives him permission and Barry goes inside to use the bathroom. He discovers a skeleton in the bathtub as well as the remains of previous victims in the room. He is suddenly hit over the head with a sledgehammer by Leatherface.
Jenny, now on her own, is attacked by Vilmer in his pickup. He loses her, but knows she'll run into Leatherface. Jenny ends up running into and from Leatherface and decides to take shelter in the house. When she runs upstairs to escape from Leatherface, who is cutting the front door down to get in, she finds a stuffed Texas Ranger. Jenny grabs his gun and fires it at Leatherface, scaring him. She jumps out onto the roof but he follows her. Jenny falls off as Leatherface chases her.
Leatherface jumps down after her and she is chased into the woods. Jenny runs back to the insurance office only to have Darla subdue her. Darla eventually takes her back to the cannibal house and tells Jenny the reason why the family kills people!
For the last few thousand years this "family" of extraterrestrials has been on Earth just to be able to kill. They are in business with governments all over the world as a secret agency who kills people across the globe.
Jenny then gets knocked out by Vilmer as she tries to escape. She wakes up at the dinner table sitting among the corpses of the whole cannibal family shown in first three movies. Darla tells her that she can't help, since she was subdued by Vilmar and had an explosive device in her head that will go off if she does anything to help her.
She also tells Jenny about a bureaucrat named Rothman who is a powerful politician and businessman. He shows up at the house soon afterward, as he occasionally checks up on this and other families around the world.
Rothman is furious when he sees Jenny is still alive. He tortures Vilmar using a remote control that activates a device in his head, giving Jenny a chance to escape. After Vilmer regains consciousness, he and Leatherface chase after her.
Vilmer had really messed up by letting Jenny go, so Rothman rescues Jenny and hires an assassin to kill Vilmer. Jenny gets angrier as Rothman tells her that he help get her to a nearby hospital and that this was a "spiritual experience". He also claims he will shut down the cannibals killing business world-wide.
Once at a hospital, she consults with a cop who tells her that the police will investigate her claims. He also says that they'll figure it all out eventually, since it obviously isn't over. The movie ends with scenes of Leatherface swinging his chainsaw around, angry at the death of Vilmer.
- Renée Zellweger as Jenny
- Matthew McConaughey as Vilmer Sawyer
- Robert Jacks as Leatherface
- Tonie Perensky as Darla
- Joe Stevens as W.E. Sawyer
- Lisa Marie Newmyer as Heather
- Tyler Shea Cone as Barry
- John Harrison as Sean
- James Gale as Rothman
Columbia Pictures originally released the film as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a small number of cinemas in 1994, as well as showing it at the South by South-west Film and Media Conference in 1995. This version was later pulled from theatres, and the film was rereleased in 1997 under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. The original, unedited cut of the film features a few differences, including:
- A Subplot that involves Jenny's stepfather abusing her in the opening scene
- More dialogue between Heather and Barry in the car
- A Longer conversation between Jenny and Darla in the Bath-Room
The original cut also featured different musical effects, a handful of different transitional shots, as well as a few scenes tinted different colors.
The most widely-available cut of the film, titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, does not contain this footage. The Canadian DVD release of the film through Lions Gate home entertainment remains the only known home-video release as of 2009[update] that includes all of the cut footage from the original version of the movie. The version titled The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre runs for 95 minutes, while the version titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation runs for only 86 minutes; a nine-minute difference.
The versions of the film available differ from country to country, but Herald Videogram released the original Return cut on laserdisc in Japan.
In the previous film, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Benny asks Tex why they're bothering them. Tex tells him it's because they are hungry. Benny recommends that Leatherface's family have pizza instead of humans. In this film, Leatherface's family is not cannibals and are having pizza for dinner instead. Hollow Killer Massacre