Saturday, October 10, 2009

#23 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by: Tobe Hooper. Written by: Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel.

Plot: A group of teenagers go out to backwoods Texas during a grave robbing spree to make sure their grandfather’s grave is intact and stop off at the old man’s house. They pick up a demented hitchhiker who ‘marks’ their van and are soon plunged into a horrible redneck nightmare.

Review: This is one of those movies where you can actually sit down and look at all the things the kids did wrong. Granted, they didn’t engage in premarital sex or drug use, but they still made a bunch of very bad decisions.

First, they went to Texas. Everyone knows to steer clear of fucking Texas, especially if you’re a fucking Yankee. You couldn’t pay me to go to Texas. Not only did they go to Texas, they went to backwoods Texas. The major cities in Texas are probably pretty safe (at least from cannibal rednecks - I mean, all big cities come with their own special problems), so, you know, if you have to go to Texas, stick to the densely populated areas.

Second, they picked up the hitchhiker. Never, never pick up fucking hitchhikers. It never ends well for anyone. Especially when they are clearly deranged. As soon as they bring out a knife, kick them the hell out of your vehicle. Then, if they make a weird marking in blood on the side of your van, get your ass back to fucking Houston immediately and get your car washed before proceeding. You don’t want redneck blood (or any blood, for that matter) on your car, trust me.

Third, they split up. I’m not sure why they did this, or even why they went to the old house in the first place if not to neck, and they didn’t really do much necking. But anyway, splitting up is always death.

Fourth, they went in the guy’s house. That is pretty much the last straw. They could have just knocked on the guy’s door and, when nobody answered, gone back to the van but no. They had to go in the guy’s fucking house. That is just disrespectful in everyway. Plus, they went in and screamed at his art which, though a little on the macabre side, was actually pretty fucking cool.

Granted, this was one of the first films of its breed (although remarkably similar to 2,000 Maniacs, thematically) so these rules were not already well established, but the thing about going in the guy’s house, man, that’s just courtesy.

Anyway, this film was extremely influential in the horror genre, indeed people are still ripping it off and not doing a particularly good job of it either. The thing which holds this film above many similar movies (both in content and in execution - this film was extremely low budget, doing a lot with what it had, but it still shows) is a very definite sense of aesthetics. There are many really weird but beautiful shots in the movie, the likes of which are entirely lacking in, say, any of the Friday the 13th flicks. It gives you the impression that Tobe Hooper and the rest of the crew actually had an idea of what they were doing and weren’t just slapping some piece of shit together to make money.

Although, that’s sort of what the sequels feel like… like some weird drug fuelled hallucination slapped together to make money. I am not an advocate of making flicks while on drugs. It will only be interesting to the maker. No, this is a very interesting film and also very entertaining (despite the disproportionate amount of violence toward women which, interestingly, gets turned around in the remake).

Mmyep. I'm tired of writing this now.

Favourite Part: The part where the girl walks in and finds that freaky-ass bone sculpture. I love that thing. I want it in my living room.

Other versions: There is a remake.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (obnoxious), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (best sequel as far as I’m concerned) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (piece of fucking shit).

Click here to read my original review. (October 11th, 2007)

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