The Texas Chainsaw franchise has either roared through the box office or limped along, by turns, since 1974. I'm sure Tobe Hooper, Kim Henkel and other cast and crew involved with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had no idea it would spawn three sequels, a remake, and now a prequel: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. (Hooper and Henkel are listed as executive producers on this latest film, but seem to have little to do anymore with the series.)

I'd heard that Beginning would recount the story of Leatherface and his family (the Hewitts) before those days when the young people in the van picked up a hitchhiker and ended up in a world of trouble ... and chainsaws. I imagined the prequel would recount the story of young Tommy "Leatherface" Hewitt growing up -- would it be an idyllic childhood, spoiled by some traumatic event or would he have a miserable youth, taunted and mocked endlessly until he had an epiphany, perhaps while sawing firewood? Perhaps he was a child genius who suffered some tragic accident. The imagination presents so many possibilities.

However, in Beginning, Tommy Hewitt's birth and childhood are disposed of quickly during the opening credits. In fact, the opening credit sequence was one of my favorite parts of the film -- a smooth, intriguing montage hinting that Tommy was considered a disturbed child by teachers and doctors, practically from birth. His birth, in the teaser before the credits, is also a fascinating little story.