In 1994, the fourth installment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise was released. Starring Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey in two of their earliest film roles (and roles neither of them would likely regard as career highlights). Directed by Kim Henkel (the producer of the original 1974 film), this is often called the worst movie in the franchise; being just plain bizarre, campy, and silly. Similar to The Cabin in the Woods, the movie is a parody of slasher films, featuring caricatures of the archetypal horror characters (the slut, the jock, the shy virgin, etc.) and mixes in a secret society to boot. But underneath it’s cheesy, B-movie exterior, this is a film about the Illuminati and worth a second look.
A group of teenagers, including the shy, somewhat nerdish girl, Jenny, her boyfriend, Sean, sex obsessed jock, Barry, and the ditzy slut, Heather, get into a car accident on their way home from prom so they wander to the house of cannibalistic maniacs. Murder and mayhem ensue at the hands of this family which includes Vilmer, a sadistic trucker with a remote controlled mechanical leg, Walter, a man who mostly quotes various historical figures for no apparent reason, Darla, a trashy insurance agent, Grandpa, who appears to be a living corpse, and of course, Leatherface, who is a transvestite and wears the human skin of females he kills.
The truck Vilmer drives with the word “Illuminati” painted on the door
After all of her friends are killed except one (who just barely clings to life), Jenny is captured by the family of maniacs and Darla gets her alone long enough at one point to have a conversation that goes like this:
Darla: He’s not near as bad as he seems once you get to know him. It’s just this job–you know, all the stress.
Jenny: It’s his job to kill people?
Darla: Well, I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but you know how you always hear these stories about people who run everything but nobody knows who they are, right? Well, it’s true. I never would’ve believed it but it’s all true. I mean, who do you think killed Kennedy?
Jenny: The government?
Darla: No! That government stuff is bullcrap! It’s these people. And they’ve been doing this kind of thing for like a thousand or two-thousand years–I forget which–and nobody, I mean nobody, knows their names and that’s who Vilmer works for.
In a later scene, Darla explains to Jenny that she can’t help her escape because there is a “thing” in her head, and all Vilmer has to do is press one button and it will blow her head clean off. All of the madness and chaos you’d expect from a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film ensues, but then a man named Rothman (who is implied to be an Illuminati agent) later arrives at the house in a limousine wearing a business suit and comes to end it all. He repudiates the family for their “appalling” actions. He claims they were hired to show people the true meaning of horror and are failing at their jobs. Then he leaves the house to allow the family to continue their acts of savagery.
Rothman slightly opens his shirt to show this underneath, symbolizing he isn’t just a normal person in a suit
Jenny later escapes from the house being chased by Leatherface and Vilmer. A yellow helicopter (presumably belonging to the Illuminati) swoops overhead and flies towards Vilmer, killing him with the blades. Leatherface screams in terror at the sight of Vilmer’s dead body as Rothman’s limousine stops behind Jenny and she gets in. Rothman informs Jenny that what happened to her was supposed to be a “spiritual experience” and how he was disappointed at the results. He later says “people like us strive for something, a sense of harmony. Perhaps it’s disappointment that keeps us going. Our raison d’être. Unfortunately it’s never been easy for me. One of my many disappointments.” Jenny says “f*ck you” and then he offers to take her to either the hospital or police station. She chooses to go to the hospital where a cop stands beside her and informs her these kinds of things happen before. He promises to find out what happened and assures her this is not the end of this. As she stares at a patient on a gurney who is implied to be Sally from the first film, the cop asks “What the hell is going on here?”
What kind of “spiritual experience” could result in making a group of teenagers fear for their lives? Does this imply that all of the pain, misery, and chaos in the world is seen as a spiritual experience for the Illuminati? Do they (or the beings they worship) believe they draw positive energy from all of the darkness and destruction?
Is it a coincidence that this film features not one, but two Hollywood megastars before they were famous? Were the family of psychopaths intended to be workers for the Illuminati the entire series or was this just a rather odd addition to the series for this particular film? Evidence shows that people have been trained to commit murders and crimes before by a secret society, so the basis of this film could be rooted in fact. Many films such as the aforementioned Cabin In the Woods are implied to be about the Illuminati, but this film is different in that it dares to mention them by name. But this film dares to approach the subject from a comedic (dark comedy, yet still comedy) point of view rather than a serious one, so is the intention to present the Illuminati as a joke rather than a subject to be taken seriously? The motives behind this bizarre plot device are unknown, but this movie is more than just a frivolous slasher film. It has a level of truth to it that most other movies only dare suggest.