Texas Chainsaw 3D will be a direct sequel to the 1974 original and the seventh movie of the franchise. The John Luessenhop movie will be the first time Leatherface will be chasing his victims in 3D and is set to shock audiences in January 4th 2013.
Markus Lanxinger was the Lead Stereoscopic Engineer on Texas Chainsaw 3D having worked with 3ality Technica on The Amazing Spider-Man 3D between January and June 2011. That $250 million movie went on to generate over $750 million at the box office but Texas Chainsaw 3D had a more modest $10 million to draw in audiences, so will 3D inject life into the infamous slasher series or will fans shout ‘enough already!’?
Searching the Internet forums, it is fair to say Texas Chainsaw 3D will be at a disadvantage from day one. Tobe Hooper’s classic is considered to be one of the most influential examples of its genre, and any modern remake, sequel or reboot, is likely to upset fans. Throw 3D into the mix, and now you are risking upsetting another group of the movie-going audience. Lionsgate and studio Millennium Films will likely be accused of making a quick 3D buck but making a good movie was a responsibility that laid heavy on the cast and crew according to Markus Laxinger:
“We felt quite a bit of responsibility on set. The producer and the director were very concerned about it. For that reason they had some of the original cast enrolled in the movie. Everybody on the crew was required to watch the original. I think that inspired us to do something that lives up to it. I could tell that the producer and director wanted to make something that appealed to the fans of the franchise.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Markus is very understanding of any potential cynicism. Responding to a quote from a Digital Spy forum, “3D horror movies are always clichéd and awful” in the Texas Chainsaw 3D thread, he responded: “I think they are correct; I haven’t seen any film myself that I could point to and say I consider that is a good movie by any means – not the 3D, not the movie. I hope this movie is going to change it. I can’t promise it but I can say we did our best. I don’t think it’s impossible to make a good 3D horror movie. There are certainly good horror movies out there – it’s just none of them have been done in 3D so far. I’m sure it’s going to happen at some point and maybe it’s Texas Chainsaw 3D.”
According to Markus, the schedule was tough. The entire filming process was completed in a 28 day 2D schedule. The Cinematographer had to be replaced towards the end and Markus unexpectedly had to take over the second unit as Stereographer. In order to complete the filming in time, the cast and crew switched to a 24 hour schedule.
“I was actually surprised how it all worked out because we certainly had bumps along the road. We were doing seven pages a day and on Spider-Man we were doing maybe a page, not even a day. That was a $250 million movie so I was pretty impressed we could pull it off on that sort of budget and that sort of time.” said Markus.
3ality Technica TS-5 rigs were used on set, as well as an Atom rig. The TS-5 is 3ality’s Technica’s lightweight rig which was used extensively on The Amazing Spider-Man 3D.
“It was the smallest rig there was at the time. Where it really excelled was on-set workflow. The technology was reliable as it has been tested through many years and productions we have done at 3ality. I’ve shot with other rigs too where I have had quite a few issues with alignment of eyes, and convergence slipping. If you are making a movie, you don’t want to be worrying about technical issues… There were very few shots that we ended up converting on that film and the ones we did tended to be the archive footage and stills from the original movie.”
Horror movies appear to be enjoying a renaissance recently and it seems 3D is finding a place in the genre, in the way it perhaps did in the 1950’s and 1980's. Yet to be released Spiders 3D is a comedy horror that features fifty foot spiders running through the streets of Manhattan, the violent/gory Dredd 3D did well at the UK box office and Strong Image Films have recently announced an ‘ultra-violent 3D horror’ movie. Will Texas Chainsaw make a virtue out of its third dimension?
“Certainly and you can probably imagine which shots they are; they usually involve a chainsaw! It’s an up and down movement. We are more conservative at the beginning and then when the first plot happens we increase the 3D a bit, then quieten it down a bit. You don’t have to throw things off the screen all the time. There were very deliberate moments that we chose. There was a certain amount that the studio wanted but we made sure we fit those within the story.”
He added: “It initially had an NC-17 rating so we recut the movie and it got an R rating. There are certainly some gory elements but I also think there is quite some suspense in the movie. I think in America it’s very easy to get an R rating for violence and blood scenes. There are plenty of those but there are also moments where it is just scary with a suspense build up so I hope some of those scenes are going to stand out, not just the gory scenes.”
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Reflecting on the movie, Markus said “I enjoyed it more than Spider-Man 3D. With a big film like that, there is a lot of downtime. The amount of freedom that you have is almost zero. In terms of that I really enjoyed this film because it was a small crew. Yes it was tough and I think it was one of the hottest summers in Louisiana, with a record heat for 50 days straight and no rain. So it was not just a tough schedule, it was also tough on your body but none of the less we had a really great crew and hopefully you will like the results.”
Markus later worked on Hong Kong 3D disaster movie Inferno, an $18 million epic with an ensemble cast led by Lau Ching-Wan, Louis Koo and Angelica Lee. Markus spent 30 days on the shoot, using 3ality Technica kit.
He is also the founder of the International Society of Stereographers. For more information visit http://www.stereographers.org/
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