The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Today we have one of the best, one of my favourites, one of the most brutal and one of the most memorable…yes that’s all one movie. Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!!
Never have I ever watched a film that is so wonderfully bold, blunt and realistic. The realism was of course helped by the fact that Hooper had to work with a budget of $83,000 resulting in some of the cast members not being sure if they were even payed for their role. The documentary that comes in the extras of the uncut special edition is one of the most interesting docs. I’ve ever watched about a single film. The cast and crew had to suffer through a claustrophobic, sweltering Texas summer and its facts like these that make me appreciate the film more.
Getting into the actual film now. It displays some of the most honestly terrifying images I’ve ever seen on screen and has such a dark tone to it that it’s difficult not to be enthralled. It is also the only film that I’ve ever introduced to anyone where afterwards they were genuinely too scared to sleep or crying through terror…if that doesn’t show the effect that this one has on you nothing will. I’m sure many of you agree with what I’m saying because I’m not sure there’s a person alive who has seen this film and doesn’t like it. If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching it though, go and watch it now. Stop reading this, watch it, and come back…it’s only 85mins long. It’s not going to take up the rest of your day.
But if you’ve decided to carry on reading anyway, here you go…
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre brings to the screen one of the most legendary horror movie killers, Leatherface (who we’ll talk more about later) and makes you feel so disturbed by all that happens to the group of teenagers that you can’t look away. This could have been a film that wallowed in the gore. That had blood for bloods sake and that gave you unnecessary disturbing images that mean nothing to any plot and are solely there to make you feel uneasy. Yes of course TCM does this, but everything always adds more to how horrific the main family is.
Speaking of the family, it consists of four people, the cook, the hitchhiker, Grampa and Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen). The cook is a disgusting man but the only one who doesn’t like killing, he just cooks the dead bodies instead. We meet the hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) at the beginning of the film when he hitches a lift off the group of teens before slicing his hand open in their van and leaving a bloody mark on the side of it when he is kicked out. Grampa is a nearly dead man, who like Leatherface, wears other people’s faces over his own. And Leatheface, well, he’s a huge, illiterate brute who runs around slicing, chopping and of course ‘chainsawing’ every person he can get his hands on. I’m sure you can picture some of the scenes in this one now.
It’s also important to mention Sally (Marilyn Burns), the main victim of the family and the one who has to suffer, along with the audience, through an extended dinner party scene which is definitely the most disturbing part of the whole film. Sally’s screams are still etched into the mind of all that have watched it.
I think I’ve sold this enough to you now. And yes that’s what I was planning on doing. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a disturbing masterpiece that is arguably my favourite horror film out there. For such a low budget, Tobe Hooper did a remarkable job creating everything and making it look grisly and real and that is the true genius of this film. I can’t say enough good things about it…I really can’t.
I’ve not even mentioned the final chase and all that…well, I’ll just let you watch it and for those of you who have watched it many, many times like me, let’s watch it again!!
Next up we have something slightly less brutal but still following the ‘man is evil’ phase of horror. A film that’s known as one of the first, if not the first all-out slasher flick, from the same year. It involves a sorority house and the festive period.
Let me know your thoughts on this film in the comments and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any inquiries or suggestions for improvements to posts!
The Journey Continues