The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

5 STARS

General Information:

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072271/

  83 min  –  Horror | Mystery | Thriller   –  1 October 1974 (USA)

DirectorTobe HooperWritors

Kim Henkel; Tobe Hooper

Stars

Marilyn Burns; Edwin Neal; Allen Danziger     

Plot:

Five teenagers go on a road trip to visit their grandpa’s old house, yet their trip quickly descends into a terrifying nightmare as they are hunted down by a chainsaw-wielding psychopath and his cannibal family…

Review:

If not the most controversial horror next to A Serbian Film, god knows what is? Either way, it’s not pretentious like the latter, which is the main reason for its success at terrifying. A Serbian Film attempts to be satirical, yet isn’t. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre does what a horror should do: scares – no messing about, no symbolism, no underlying message, no satire, it is simply an exercise in terrifying its audience, and boy, it does it well.

The reason why it’s so terrifying is because it’s on the edge of taste. You have disturbing, then you have sick. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is verging on the edge of disturbing, but never quite gets into ‘sick’  territory; as Roger Ebert says: it “does more than the genre requires” – or in other words, it shouldn’t be this scary, yet, it is.

Anyway, I’m rambling. The first time we see Leatherface – the infamous main psychopath of this movie – is when one of the teenagers enters the house, you know what’s coming, the teenager look around:

oh my god! He’s there! Ahhhh! (*Cue screams and “ohmyfuckinggods”)

Yet, even though you know it’s coming, Texas Chainsaw is done in such a way, that leatherface’s entrance, and the way he ‘has his way’ with his victim is not only disturbing, but haunting. Leatherface growls like something inhuman and begins to pummel his victim repeatedly on the head and stomach, we hear the victim suffer, and we watch the victim squirm. Yet, we don’t see intestines or brain (sorry Saw fans), we see blood and squirming – like I said: it’s on the edge of taste.

Some people would argue, that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a bad film because it alienates its audience by being too disturbing. Yet, isn’t that what a good horror film should do?

The cliché in romance films where you see the girl snuggling up with her boyfriend and covering her eyes is not a cliché for nothing, it happens. Texas Chainsaw is a film so reliant on atmosphere than on special effects that it’s building tension is almost unbearable, so much so, that you might find yourself huddling up with that ‘special person’ (whilst watching somebody’s head being hacked off and hammers being used in ‘inventive ways’) because you’re so terrified.

Teenagers are chased by leather face threw never-ending wood, whilst they trip over, stumble, and have stitching slowly being torn off due to twigs and branches, heads are cut off, meat hooks are used for humans – the teenagers in the film are more than vulnerable.

The film builds and builds up to its massive climax: one of the teenagers is strapped to a chair in front of Leatherface’s family. They’re hungry, and they want their dinner. (Unfortunately, they don’t shop at Asda or Tescos like ‘most families’…but hey, that’s cannibals for you).

I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination, if you don’t want to watch the film…

Verdict:

Not for everybody, but then again, the horror genre never is. Texas Chainsaw is so terrifying it’ll have you shaking by the end.

If this isn’t the best horror film ever made, it is certainly well one of them.

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3 thoughts on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

  1. Pingback: A-Z of Film…PART FIVE « Star Reviews

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