Director Jeff Burr knew what kind of animal he was going to be working with when he started working on Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. The background tale is legend. The cannibalistic hermit family that lives out in the sticks of Texas is wanted for murdering a number of people and eating them. The content is what Burr needed to get down. He delivered one of the goriest, horrific films put to celluloid. Leatherface was so brutal that they had to cut a number of scenes just to gain an X rating. Apparently certain underlying story lines were cut as well. Had it not been for these cuts this might have been the best of the franchise. Unfortunately, the cuts exist and the substance took a huge blow from it.
A couple from Los Angeles (Kate Hodge and Bill Butler), that is driving to Florida, accidentally gets wrapped up in the affairs of the infamous Sawyer family. They are harassed by various family members like Leatherface, Tex (Viggo Mortensen), a strange little girl, and Tinker. It looks bad for the couple until Ken Foree shows up playing a crazy survivalist named Benny. He goes toe to toe with Leatherface and really turns the tables. It's pretty simple and not that terrible.
This does a good job of calling back to the first two films. Of course you get the Sawyer family. Leatherface is sporting a leg brace from his injury in the first movie. Grandpa returns and is dead and slightly charred from the grenade attack in the second movie. Then you even get a cameo from Caroline Williams (Stretch). Williams was apparently reprising her role briefly to secure her place in an upcoming film. That film just never came to light. It would have been cool to watch Stretch hunt down the rest of the Sawyer clan.
L:TMCIII is frustrating at times. It is a solid horror picture from beginning to end. However, it is cut to shit. The content is just not there. Once it gets going it is really good but it takes a long time to take off. The acting isn't the greatest. Ken Foree does the best job. His survivalist is truly a good addition.
I was personally frightened from watching this specific installment for years. I had remembered seeing it at Hollywood Video or Blockbuster back in the mid-nineties. I had no problem watching the other's in the series. However, I dragged my feet a bit on watching the original.
Did ya know:
Director Jeff Burr wanted to shoot the film in Texas using 16 mm film just like the original, but New Line rejected the idea because they already built the house in Valencia, California.
The ranch where most of the filming was done is so close to Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, that director 'Jeff Burr' swears you can hear screams from the Roller Coaster during some takes. Tom Savini and Peter Jackson were asked to direct but declined.