The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Authors: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artists: Wes Craig
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 638 2
ISBN-10: 1 84576 638 5
Available 26 October 2007

It's 1974, a year after what became known as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A small group of FBI agents arrive in Travis County to carry out a cold-case investigation of the incident. One of them has a personal interest in the sickening events which took place. When they come across an underground tunnel littered with bodies they realise the nightmare is far from over. Furthermore, no back-up is available, because they are all busy on the Watergate incident. Some of the corpses are fresh and have had 'prime cuts ' taken from them. Meanwhile, a minor TV news crew has arrived at the notorious Blair Meat Processing Plant, and already one of their number is missing...

Straight away let me say that fans of the more sick and brutal end of the horror spectrum will love this. The story by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning is written as a sequel to the 2003 film. Everything you would expect and more is here in graphic colour print: a cattle prod, a chainsaw fight, severed limbs, meat cleavers, meat hooks, to name but a few. In an attempt to tie-in with the original film, there is a cannibal family dinner scene, complete with a close-up of the victim's eyes, and an ending similar to that film, but with a twist.

I didn't like the artwork as much as the recently reviewed A Nightmare on Elm Street graphic novel, but Wes Craig's objective may have been to create a twisted and off-kilter feel to the proceedings. In fact, every character here looks somewhat sinister, even the good guys. Tobe Hooper's first Chainsaw movie was both hard-hitting but subtle enough to suggest as much as what it actually showed. This novel is certainly 'graphic', displaying every piece of violence in detail, and could therefore be described as overkill.

These graphic novel representations of classic horror films (published by Wildstorm, an imprint of DC, and distributed by Titan Books) are proving to be of a high quality. But bear in mind they are targeted at a mature readership (at least age-wise!) and are as likely to gross- out the uninitiated as a hack and slash movie.

Ty Power

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