ToolBox Murders A Movie by Tobe Hooper
There is always something magical about historic Hollywood hotels. Virtually without exception, their walls bore witness to extravagances and excesses beyond imagination. That much can certainly be said of the Lusman Building, a dazzling art deco monument to the majestics, built in the 1940’s, nearly bankrupted in modern times and currently being restored to its former glory. Barely able to afford its renovation costs, the Lusman has been forced to remain open throughout the work period, renting out rooms as apartments to anyone willing to sign up at the desk.
Unfortunately, as walls begin to be knocked down and floorplans are rearranged, a darker and much less celebrated aspect of the hotel’s history begins to resurface, rooted in the black arts and still very much a current event. It is an occult force that nobody wants to deal with , let alone acknowledge, but through a series of horrifically savage acts, it will make its presence known to even the staunchest of naysayers. The fluids in the Lusman’s plumbing are about to turn a distinct shade of red, and more than a few drains will be clogged with hair, tooth and bone.
With his seminal TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, Tobe Hooper reshaped every convention of the genre. Now, with THE TOOLBOX MURDERS, a film which, it must be said, is neither a remake nor a “re-imagining” of the 1976 grindhouse classic that shares its name, Hooper has delivered his nastiest, wittiest and most atmospheric film in well over 15 years; a blood-spattered old-school slasher film with bizarre mystical overtones. It also features a return to the gloriously baroque art direction stylings last seen in TCM 2 and LIFEFORCE. The sets in TOOLBOX are a fantastical sight to behold, perfectly suited to the film’s extravagantly nightmarish tone. Add to this an intense lead performance by rising star Angela Bettis (who fronted both MAY and the CARRIE remake), wire-cutter tight direction and spectacularly anti-social uses of power tools and you’ve got a visceral cinematic experience that would make Bob Villa swallow an entire pharmacy.