aka The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
83 min., 1974
Written by Kim Henkel/Tobe Hooper
Directed by Tobe Hooper
My rating: ★★★★★
* * *
The movie begins with a voice over (provided by John Larroquette) talking about the crazy stuff you are about to see. We meet a group of five, Sally (Marilyn Burns), her wheelchair bound brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain), her boyfriend Jerry (Allen Danziger), their friend Pam (Teri McMinn) and Pam’s boyfriend Kirk (William Vail). They are heading to a house that Sally and Franklin have inherited but haven’t been to in a really long time. While driving there they pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) and he ends up scaring the shit out of them and cutting Franklin on his arm. After kicking him out of the car they get to the place and it is really run down. They have some fun exploring the house, except for Franklin who is consistently complaining about everything. Jerry and Pam ask Franklin about a place to swim and he tells them that there was a place out back. They head there, but it’s dried up. They hear the sound of a motor and since they are pretty much out of gas, they decide to go ask for some gas. They get to the house, which looms over them, and Jerry enters. While calling for anyone in the house Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) shows up and hits him in the head with a meat tenderizer. Will the rest befall the same fate as Jerry or will any of them get out alive?
If you are a horror fan and you haven’t seen this movie and you don’t understand why it’s as good as it is then you should just stop reading. I’m going to skip over the normal acting and effects (which are both phenomenal) paragraphs and just focus on a two things that seem to never be talked about (at least I never hear them).
First off is the character of the house where most of this happens. Calling the house a character may sound a little odd considering it never actually does anything, but it adds a complete layer of fear and creepiness to it that really helps to get under your skin. If you take a moment and look at the rooms (and I’m not even talking about the “bones” room) where everything happens, there is so much going on in the background that adds to the overall feel. Each room has so much detail to it that you can spend an hour on each and still find stuff to wonder what it is. The house almost feels like a mother to Leatherface and his family, keeping them safe from the outside world.
The other thing that I find amazing about the movie is the lack of everything that has become cliché in slasher, or horror in general, movies. There is virtually no blood and there is almost no gore. Everything that happens is only show for a few seconds at most or shown in shadow. You imagination just tends to come up with things that weren’t shown. Like the hook entering Pam’s back. There is no nudity in the movie and that is something that is way too common nowadays. It proves that you can make a great horror movie and you don’t need nudity. Lastly and usually the most over looked is the lack of swearing. Throughout the movie I really can’t think of a single fuck, shit, etc. Again it shows that you don’t need a bunch of teens swearing in order for it to feel very real.
In the end this is the best horror movie out there!Have You Read...?