February 5, 2009

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

A true genre classic...

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Sub-Genre- Slasher/Survival
In Attendance- Me, Machine, Chris, Geo, Amanda and Teryn.
Cast Members of Note- The legendary Marilyn Burns and Gunnar Hansen, and the narration talents of John Laroquette

What's it about?- The guy from Night Court pretty much spells it out for us at the beginning; Some dumb kids go poking around on an isolated Texas farmhouse one day, and they piss off the bumpkin cannibals living there, thus sealing their fate. He goes on to say that it's mostly the crippled guy in the wheelchair's fault, since him being slow and cumbersome basically turned this into a massacre. Good job Franklin.

The Neighbor.
Warned by the locals, out of gas, and stupid, a van full of kids trek their hippie asses 5,000 miles deep into the Texas countryside to visit a crappy old farmhouse that looks like it could have spawned its own massacre at some point. Good times! Along the way the pick up a hitchhiker who looks like a dirty and creepy serial killer version of Jesus, and despite him acting odd and creepy, it takes them forever to throw him out of the van. 

Did you have fun snooping around, dummy?
The real fun begins once they get to "Creepyland" though; Why not go exploring, poking around other people's land, and just let yourself into their house? Because you will die, that's why! Country folk ain't like it when city slickers go snoopin' around, you hear!?! Violence and creepy dinner scenes ensue. I won't spoil the ending here, but suffice it to say that we get one of the best angry chainsaw-swinging scenes in movie history. 
Dance, Leatherface, dance!
The Good- I can only imagine how profoundly disturbing this movie must have been to audiences back in 1974; horror fans were generally less jaded back then, and moviegoers in general were not used to seeing anything quite like this. This movie helped to redefine horror, breaking the "Safe" mold it was in during the 60's, and ushering in a new, bold age of raw terror that would be copied many times over, for the rest of eternity. 

I could talk for hours about the things that make this movie classic, but I have to assume that most people already know all about those things. Leatherface is one of the biggest genre icons of all time, sharing the throne with Jason, Freddy and Michael. He doesn't speak, but his dead skin mask really says all that needs to be said. 

It was banned all over the world, condemned by the church, and shook audiences to the core... what more can you really ask for in a horror classic?

"Oh hell no, bitch, you on your own!"
The Bad- What in the hell was that meat on that plate? I swear that I can't eat sausage or ham for days every time I watch this movie. Bologna too. And for some reasons, yams upset me too, but that's another story altogether. 

The Downright Horrendous- Would you really go in a deserted, old, creepy farmhouse when you heard those pig noises? Me neither. "Hello, you in here? No? Ok then, buh-bye." Then I'd run like a half witted moron from the creepy pig noises. I'd live though. I'd live.

The Gory- For being one of the best and most disturbingly violent horror films of all time, TCM actually had very little visible bloodshed. Still, we get a multiple hammer blows to the head, a hook impaling, and plenty of some chainsaw fun. 

That poor girl...
The Naked- Nope. We do get to see some 70's style pokies though. 

Best Line- "Shut up you bitch hog!" or Larroquette's famous voice-over "The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

What did we learn?- You don't go poking around on peoples land. Ever. Also, picking up hitchhikers seldom works out for the best. 

A+ TCM is without a doubt one of the best horror films of all time, if not the best. It's sparse, gritty, shocking, nasty, disturbing and dreadful... as a horror fan if you don't own this, you're crazy. If you haven't at least seen this, you need to go now and check it out. 

This movie had its fair share of 70's hotness going for it -in the form of Marilyn Burns and Terry McMinn-  even if things got way too disturbing to enjoy it in a fun way...


  1. I reviewed "Crocodile" recently (well, a couple of months ago now), which Tobe Hooper also directed.

  2. Wow, I forgot about crocodile until now :)

  3. I absolutely love this movie. When I saw it for the first time I was like 10... yeah... and it scared the shizz out of me. The remake is pretty decent too.

    Another one of Tobe Hooper's movie I loved was LifeForce. It made me fearful of naked women as a child.

    Thank god I got over that...