The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Paul A. Partain, Jim Siedow, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, John Dugan, Teri McMinn, William Vail
I've seen a lot of the knock off films - Hills Have Eyes, the collective works of Rob Zombie (okay, I haven't watched his music videos. I'm not going to go that far...), the House of Wax remake and that Jonathan Liebesman thing. The Beginning or whatever that was called. But I hadn't seen the original until now...
This is the one about the family of whackos living out in the middle of nowhere, pulling dipshit teenagers off the road and making weird art out of their body parts. It's also the one about the guy with the chainsaw.
There's been a lot written about this movie, a lot of discussion about whether it's 'good' or not (this is a silly question - anybody who watches a slasher movie expecting it to be a real work of art has got to be a little bit confused about the whole concept), but these are the thoughts and opinions of me at the moment...
First of all, the movie is really, really cheap. I've bought shoes which cost more than this movie did (that was so unfunny, it wasn't even a joke, really. I found my shoes in a dumpster). Anyway, buddy does a pretty good job with what he's got.
The acting is terrible, but the people die convincingly enough. And man can Marilyn Burns scream. That got on my nerves after a while...
Anyway, I guess the real point of this movie is that it was pretty much the father of the slasher film (I'm going to call Psycho the Mother. This movie actually has some echoes of Psycho - there's a scene with a mummified woman sitting in a rocking chair or something, and Leatherface is dressed as a woman for part of the movie). It's referenced, emulated and/or ripped off in so many movies (like Psycho). It's kind of amazing...
I wouldn't say that it's terribly scary. There are one or two surprising moments, but mostly it's just grating and weirdly realistic. I guess a lot of the actors were in pain a lot of the time, and apparently much of the blood was real, so there's that. It's also a lot straighter than some more modern movies, which use quick edits and lots of them to scare people. The Beginning for example - I mentioned that movie already. It's the prequel to the 2003 remake of this movie, and what with the editing and the intentionally bad lighting, it's nearly impossible to see what's going on. It's hard to see anything here, either, but there isn't as much hand held stuff. I'm getting really pissed of with hand held stuff, POV shots and badly lit night shoots in these movies, I'm sorry, I really am.
I didn't notice too much POV stuff in this movie, actually. They kind of avoided a lot of the stuff that's become clichéd nowadays. It was really straight, I'm telling ya. Pure, unadulterated... whatever.
Yeah. I wouldn't say that I liked it. I mean, it's about torture, but I guess I enjoyed it.