“Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Masacre III” is not exactly thought-provoking cinema. So, clocking in at a decidely brief eighty-one minutes is definitely one of this film’s virtues. But even when he’s he mired in silver screen mediocrity, you have to admire Leatherface. Here’s a cinematic psycho who’s been fascinating audiences longer than Jason or Freddy and doing it the old-fashioned way: with a chainsaw from the hardware store. This guy works for his kills. He’s no supernatural being. Just a day-laborer, if you will, in the unstable world of celluloid gore. A thankless gig? Well, the poor bastard’s still living in a shack in Texas, ain’t he?
“Leatherface” was made without original director Tobe Hooper or Gunnar Hansen (the first and best Leatherface), but the producers had a “franchise” here, damn it (McLeatherface Burgers?).
Things get underway in the standard way: Wimpy Ryan (William Butler) and the tomboyish Michelle (Kate Hodge) are driving down a lonely Texas highway, on their way to Florida, when they pull into a remote gas station and meet up with a crusty drifter named Tex (Viggo Mortensen) and a deranged service attendant. The young couple flee when the cracker gas-jockey pulls a shotgun and blasts Tex. That night the kids are forced off the road in the middle of nowhere by a monster truck. That’s when old, dependable Leatherface shows up with sawing on his mind.
The second car accident of the night introduces the youngsters to Benny (Ken Foree), a para-military looney who actually tries to help them. But the three are now trapped in the woods and being hunted by Leatherface and his devil-may-care cohorts. One of whom turns out to be Tex — that clever bugger — who faked his own death earlier in the movie. Unfortunately, the ongoing cavalcade of carnage simply builds to a predictable ending.
While this movie comes nowhere near being as good as the original, it’s much better than “…Massacre Part 2”. In the end, though, it’s really just another generic slasher flick with nothing beyond the Leatherface connection to recommend it to discerning fans.