It takes a true genius to take something as twisted as the concepts and characters dealt with in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and make them satirical material. So not only is one of the scariest horror films of all time still scary, but it's also funny. This is one of the only times where you can say such a thing, but heck, that's why the film deserves to be remembered.
I believe that Tobe Hooper did something pretty impressive when he made the film. Hooper was inspired by murders committed by serial killers, horrible noises, and even the political status of America. Few horror films are so thoughtful yet so horrifying, but this is one that does more than it probably is required to do. I don't remember loving the film initially, but now I know what makes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" a story of horrific crime to remember. It is savage, although not as brutal as some would make it out to be; and scary, although not as soft-core as some would want you to think it is. In a world where films like this one here are often referred to as "torture porn", Tobe Hooper's film has something that others do not; intellect.
The story is simple, and you probably already know how it goes. Five young men and women take a road-trip in Texas to a cemetery, where there have been reports of grotesque vandalism such as corpses being dug up and posed as works of gruesome art. One of the girls in the group wishes to see if her father's remains were mistreated in such a way. She walks away from the place knowing that nothing has happened, thus doing what most slasher girls would do; ignore what is really going on. The group decides to stop by the old home of two members of the "kids", and this is where the rest of the action up until the climatic and frightening final twenty minutes, takes place.
There is an unexpected and unwanted guest living nearby the old house. He is tall, powerful, and insane. He is the infamous horror villain Leatherface. He gets his name from the mask that he wears. That is his most characteristic feature, although I shall site a few more. Leatherface makes little squealing noises, like a pig would. He acts like a scared child when he wields his murder weapon, a chainsaw. He just kills anything that poses a possible treat to him, or his equally as insane and psychotic cannibalistic family.
There are so many memorable sequences in the film. One of them that I absolutely must mention is the dinner scene between the "final girl" and the bat-shit insane family. Much like the rest of the film, this scene does not use violence to scare the living hell out of us; it scares us because everything is realistic and psychological. The villainous family allows laughs and giggles of sheer madness out of their mouths, during this pre-grand finale. And when it comes to the grand, grand-finale, let's just say you're in for a scary treat. Oh, and the camera-work, which is decidedly documentary style, makes the fear feel even more real.
People will not remember "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for scaring them out of repulsion and gruesome imagery. It is disturbing in its own little ways. In fact, what we don't see might just be what really scares us. It's called imagination, and if you have one, then you qualify for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
Yes, I said it; one qualifies for films like this one. There is violence and disturbing imagery present, but if you allow yourself to look past this, then you might just admire the satirical and humorous aspects that are also prevalent. The more I thought about the themes and motives of the film, the more I liked it. I wouldn't say I deprive pleasure out of watching a film so uneasy, but horror films are meant to be both enjoyed and endured. This one could be seen in both ways; and that was my case. There were parts in the film where I smiled, and there were parts when I was silent. Hooper's film is not one I shall forget. It is well-acted, superbly made, and gives me all kinds of hope when it comes to making my very own indie horror film one day. This one is super low-budget, but that didn't stop it from doing what it wanted. That did not stop it at all. And why should it? Some films should not be restrained by the chains of cinematic censors, and this is one of them. The best we can do is let it loose until its chainsaw runs out of gas, and it ponderously runs around some more like the demented little monster that it is.
Fans of this cult favorite can relax - no, they didn't gloss up the film stock with digital sheen to make it look as though it were filmed yesterday. To be certain, TCM was cleaned up: the colors are brighter and more vibrant, and the film's nocturnal sequences aren't quite as murky as they were in the VHS edition. But this minor buffing hasn't betrayed the film's gritty, low-budget, high-grain 16mm (as transferred to 35mm stock) aesthetic. The '70s zeitgeist isn't even … more
By now, everyone who has a remote interest in horror films has seen atleast one of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films & knows of it's great importance in the horror genre. While the film may be tame by today's standards, there is no denying the dramatic effect it had on viewers upon the initial release. Along with Night of the Living Dead & ofcourse Hitchcock's Psycho, TCM may very well be one the most influential films to ever grace the silver scream & rightfully has secured it's place … more
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying films of all times. Not only did this movie spawn three sequels but it was recently remade (badly might I add) by a big Hollywood company. It also was responsible for many knock-offs and cut rate rip-offs. Despite the fact that there's really no graphic set pieces or expensive special effects, the film is creepy and scary as hell and it's some what based upon a true story. A group of grave robbers are raiding … more
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was the first modern horror film (well, besides PSYCHO). EVIL DEAD and HALLOWEEN both came later (but all three films formed the foundation for the modern horror film). Tobe Hooper's low budget picture sets itself to be a picture "based on a true story" (twenty years before THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), though there never really was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There really was an Ed Gein who killed people and chopped them up and made clothes from skin and he serves as the … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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The feature film directorial debut from Tobe Hooper.
Based loosely on the crimes of Ed Gein.
First film of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.
Tobe Hooper was trying to get a PG rating but was given an R instead.
This sensational, extremely influential, 1974 low-budget horror movie directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist,Lifeforce,Salem's Lot), may be notorious for its title, but it's also a damn fine piece of moviemaking. And it's blood-curdling scary, too. Loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein (also a partial inspiration forPsycho), the original Jeffrey Dahmer,Texas Chainsaw Massacrefollows a group of teenagers who pick up a hitchhiker and wind up in a backwoods horror chamber where they're held captive, tortured, chopped up, and impaled on meat hooks by a demented cannibalistic family, including a character known as Leatherface who maniacally wields one helluva chainsaw. The movie's powerful sense of dread is heightened by its grainy, semi-documentary style--but it also has a wicked sense of humor (and not that camp, self-referential variety that became so tiresome in subsequent horror films of the '70s, '80s, and '90s). OK, in case you couldn't tell, it's "not for everyone." But as a landmark in the development of the horror/slasher genre, it ranks withPsycho,Halloween, andA Nightmare on Elm Street.--Jim Emerson