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Directors Andy & Ryan Tohill exit Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot
25 Aug 2020 : Nathan Griffin
Directors Andy and Ryan Tohill.
Deadline is reporting that The Dig directors Ryan and Andrew Tohill have exited Legendary’s Texas Chainsaw Massacres sequel over “creative differences”.

Here IFTN looks back over the troubled history of the TCM franchise to date, since the original film's inception back in 1974.

The production, which is currently being shot in Bulgaria, was only one week into productions when the decision was taken between the producers and Northern Irish directing duo to part ways.

Little is known about the production as a whole with only four key cast members being named so far, which includes Irish actor Moe Dunford (Vikings, Rosie) who starred as the lead in the Tohill brother's critically acclaimed hit debut film The Dig, back in 2018. The Waterford man is joined in the lead cast by Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Sarah Yarkin (Happy Death Day 2U), and Jacob Latimore (The Maze Runner).

Don’t Breathe and Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez is producing the film with Bad Hombre’s Rodolfo Sayagues, and Pat Cassidy, Kim Henkel, and Ian Henkel of Exurbia Films. The film is aiming to return to the roots of the Hooper and Kim Henkel creation, which was considered one of the scariest films of its era, in an effort to bring the terrifying Leatherface back to life for a new generation.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a hugely influential American horror film that has spawned seven sequels. The original film was released in 1974, directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. Hooper produced the film for less than $140,000. While it initially drew a mixed reception from critics, it was highly profitable, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office, equivalent with roughly over $150.8 million today selling over 16.5 million tickets in 1974. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best and most influential horror films.

However the numerous sequels were prime examples of the law of diminishing returns in horror franchises. Hooper and Henkel were involved in only three of the later films and none have lived up to the original.

The second in the series, 1986’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, also directed by Hooper, was produced by Cannon Films who were unhappy with the final product as they expected a horror and Hooper delivered a black comedy.

The property changed hands for its third outing Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III with New Line buying the rights from Cannon. It was a commercial and critical failure; grossing $5.7 million at the US box office, making it the poorest performing film in the series at the time, until, that is, the release of its successor, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995).

The fourth outing in the franchise was directed by Kim Henkel, and inexplicably starred Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey. The film was screened as The Return of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1995 before being shelved by Columbia Pictures who then had the rights. Two years later, it was re-cut and released under the title Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation on August 29, 1997, after Zellweger and McConaughey had both become major Hollywood stars, but was a critical and financial failure.

The series changed hands again with the next two films in the series were produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), a remake of the original, was a commercial success but not critically acclaimed. Its follow up The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) received negative reviews from critics and grossed, less than half that of the previous film. At this point Platinum Dunes said they would no longer produce a third film in their series. Lionsgate came on to produce the next film Texas Chainsaw 3D. The film was again a relative commercial success but not critically acclaimed.

The next film Leatherface (2017) was produced by Lionsgate and Millennium and went straight to VOD platforms as well as a small theatrical release which earned a reported total of $958,650 worldwide.

In 2019, Legendary Pictures began developing a new film with Chris Thomas Devlin and Fede Alvarez serving as writer and producer, respectively. The Tohill Brothers were hired shortly afterwards. “The Tohill’s vision is exactly what the fans want,” Alvarez said in a statement. “It’s violent, exciting, and so depraved that it will stay with you forever.” 

Horror fans had high hopes for the new film to reinvigorate the franchise when the Tohill brother's were announced, however this latest announcement is another roadblock in the series' troubled history.

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