Toolbox Murders (2004)

MARCH 29, 2007


The front of Toolbox Murders DVD says “A Tobe Hooper Film” AND “From The Director of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE”. Let’s point out all of the things that are stupid about this:

  1. If the name Tobe Hooper means anything to anyone, its because of Massacre. No one reads “A Tobe Hooper Film” and thinks “Oh sweet, he’s the guy who directed Mangler!” So having both is just redundant.
  2. He did NOT direct “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Michael Bay did and called himself Marcus Nispel. Tobe Hooper directed “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”. It’s empty space, but it’s important.
  3. Chain Saw is 30 years old. It’s basically calling attention to the fact that everything he has done since doesn’t measure up. “From a guy who has consistently disappointed you for 30 years now.”
  4. Dammit, Word, there is no 4! Stop auto-formatting this shit.

That said, it’s probably one of the better Hooper films in the past 20 years, perhaps even THE best (I have skipped many, but the ones I have seen have been at best a disgrace and at worst “Dance of the Dead”). Much like the execrable When A Stranger Calls remake, this one remakes the first 20 minutes or so of the original since that’s the only part anyone cares about. But this time it works, more or less. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but when you consider his other recent output, it’s refreshingly un-awful.

In fact, Hooper’s revived direction skill even earned the film enough goodwill to not make me want to throw it through the window when the killer is revealed to be… some guy! Not only that, a guy with fairly interesting mutant/monster-y makeup. So why cover it up with a ski mask other than to reference the original (or pre-reference the recent ads for that stupid looking FX show with Eddie Izzard)? Was he worried about his appearance freaking out the people he’s about to kill? If I’ve said it once I’ve said it three or four times: If it’s not a whodunit, then there’s no need for a mask! Especially when the killer is awesome enough to jump four stories, as he does during the finale.

One of the writers plays a red herring named Ned, who is also the building’s handyman. He resembles the killer in the Tourist Trap remake that they inexplicably named House of Wax, so there’s something.

I also must point out the completely horrendous titles at the end. A borderline unreadable font complete with what looks like every single option on Photoshop's "Layer Styles" checked on with default settings. Glow! Bevel! Emboss! Probably even Drop Shadow even though it’s over black. Hideous.

But seriously tho, the movie’s pretty good. It’s just possibly the only DVD/movie in existence that would work best if someone gave you a bootleg of it with just the movie (no credits, no idiotic box art, no DVD extras…) since all that stuff weighs down what’s otherwise a surprisingly decent slasher.

What say you?


  1. I loved this movie, and the creepiness about a
    "killer whitin the walls" was pretty original.

  2. My god!! I personally thought it was garbage!!! Absolutely no scares and the gore was pretty mild. Overall a poor attempt at a slasher and a waste of premise and potential.


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