The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Writers: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Actors: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
What was once my most hated genre has become a place of admiration and substance. Throughout the past 2 years I have started growing very fond of horror. It started with what I call the new wave of horror. Films like Get Out, Don’t Breathe, and Hereditary really blew me away when I first saw them and it made me appreciate the genre so much more. I was determined to explore the genre once more, now that I understood what it was all about. Specifically I wanted to see interesting ways in which a film can cause a viewer to be "scared”, or “uncomfortable”. Take a film like Hereditary or Rosemary’s baby. They approach horror in a somewhat similar way, by basically not having any. It lingers on. It tenses you up with what may happen. The scariest moments of those two films are when nothing happens. Because this eerie feeling is constantly looming over you, and you just cant wait for it to end. Other films use prosthetics or visuals in order to scare you. Films by Cronenberg or Carpenter are great examples of this. Obviously there is much more to the genre but these are just a couple of examples of how one can convey the feeling of dread in a movie. What about Texas Chainsaw then? What does it have? Well, sometimes you don’t need anything. Sometimes not having a unique take is the way to go. Sometimes not knowing is scary. That’s what this movie does. It is stomach churning and I don’t know if I want to experience it again anytime soon.
Texas Chainsaw is a film that feels dirty. Just from the beginning, the very amateurish film-making gives this raw feeling to the film. It doesn’t care whether or not you are getting the best cinematic experience. It is supposed to feel raw, dirty, and real. The film doesn’t even focus on backstory or an interesting plot. If I were to explain it to someone he would think it is the most basic horror film ever made. A group of people come to an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere and start being killed by a chainsaw wielding psycho. Not much to it right? yes, there isn’t much to it actually, but that’s the point! It doesn’t need anything else. It doesn’t waste time with anything unnecessary. It gets straight to the point. Another reason why this is so good is that not explaining anything is part of the horror. I don’t want to know who these people are. I don’t want to know why there lives a crazy family in the middle of Texas killing people and doing weird thins to them. It will ruin the mystique. By having this mystery surrounding leatherface and the accompanying villains, their potency is much more extreme. But all that aside, the film’s greatest aspect in my opinion is the last 20 minutes. My god was it horrifying. I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I kept feeling sick throughout. It was so wrong yet so right at the same time. It disgusted me, but that’s what a horror film is supposed to do, so it served it’s purpose.
If you are going into this film looking for some overarching theme, or great cinematic techniques then just turn around and walk away. This isn’t the film for you. All you will get here is stomach churning and gruesome horror. To some that seems unoriginal and bland. But to me, this film served its purpose, and scared the living crap out of me.