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The upcoming ninth installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is taking the legacy sequel approach, ignoring other installments and picking up decades after Tobe Hooper's original 1974 classic. That means we'll see an older version of Leatherface, the return of the original film's final girl, and now, the return of the 1974 version's narrator, nearly 50 years after he recorded that creepy voiceover.
Variety reports that the legendary John Larroquette will reprise his role as narrator for director David Blue Garcia's upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre, bringing his voice back to the franchise that marked his film debut in 1974. Years before his breakout, Emmy-winning role on the hit sitcom Night Court, Larroquette was Tobe Hooper's choice to provide a haunting voiceover for the opening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, then a low-budget independent film searching for any opportunity to add atmosphere. At the time, Hooper told the young Larroquette that he wanted the voiceover opening to sound like it was being intoned by Orson Welles, giving the words an air of authority that would add to the supposed true story aura of the film. In reality, of course, the film wasn't directly based on a true story (though it was inspired by serial killers like Ed Gein), but Larroquette's voiceover helped convince audiences otherwise.
“It felt important to honor the original ‘TCM’ at every opportunity,” Garcia told Variety. “John’s voice is iconic in the original opening and we thought it would help set the perfect tone in our own intro. It’s also a subtle way of letting the fans know they’re in good hands.”
Larroquette returned to narrate two other films in the Chainsaw series, 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and 2006's prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Despite never appearing onscreen, his voice remains a key ingredient of the franchise for many fans, including Garcia, who emphasized the voiceover as part of a long string of callbacks to Hooper's original film.
“I can’t wait for fans to analyze and find all of the callbacks, some of which aren’t even intentional. I swear some stuff just happened and it’s kind of freaky,” Garcia said. “I will say that we shot with one of the original, working Poulan chainsaws from the original film. On set, every morning I would walk by the prop cart, touch it and get its blessing for the day. I wanted some of its ’70s magic.”
Set decades after the original film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre will explore what happens when a self-secluded Leatherface is lured back out into violence by a group of young entrepreneurs who make their way into his territory. As Leatherface rises again, so too will Sally Hardesty (Olwen Fouéré), the lone survivor of his original attack.
The film hits Netflix February 18.