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Watching Movies - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Posted in Watching Movies by JasonMinton at 02:20, Oct 12 2017


Review by Jason Minton

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - 1974



The review which you are about to read is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young but, had they lived very, very long lives. They could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them, an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. 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 Chain Saw Massacre.

I love the simplistic beauty of a slasher film. A group of people, usually teens, end up in the wrong place at the wrong time where they’re slaughtered one by one. In Texas, Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her paraplegic brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) travel to their grandpa’s gravesite after hearing about a recent chain of grave robbery. Three friends, Jerry (Allen Danzinger), Kirk (William Vail) and Pam (Teri McMinn) join them on their grave bound trip through Texas. One decision to knock at the wrong door leads them to America’s most bizarre and brutal crime. “Who will survive and what will be left of them?”

I hadn’t watched the Tobe Hooper classic since I was a teenager. I always enjoyed the film but never fully appreciated it until this review. Everyone recognizes the gritty filmmaking. Some see it as cheap, budgeted filmmaking while others love what it adds to the movies realism. Where The Texas Chain Saw Massacre excels most, isn’t the chainsaw armed Leatherface who goes on to become a horror icon. It isn’t the blood or gore the movie is known for. Regardless your views of the gritty look, its realistic performances make the film the classic it is.

Line delivery may not win Oscars but from William Vail flailing on the ground as he dies from head trauma to Marilyn Burns giving the most realistic scream queen performance I’ve ever seen, the movie captures the intensity of a near death experience like no other slasher film has. The originality of a loud chainsaw chasing a lone girl through the woods alone is a terrifying experience to sit through. I enjoy the cast as a whole. Grandpa’s (John Dugan) make-up may not have been the best but a feeble old man trying to kill a woman by repeatedly missing as he tries to bash her head in is a hideous thing of beauty. I enjoy everything from Paul A. Partain’s realistic accent to Edwin Neal’s twitchy performance as the Hitchhiker you probably shouldn’t have picked-up. Kindness is rarely rewarded.

Largely credited as being the grittiest, most original and terrifying slasher movie of all time, Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre is an iconic horror treasure, beloved by many. I’m lucky enough to remember the stigma surrounding the hideous chainsaw movie that laid claim to being based on reality. It’s among a short list of films that I personally found terrifying. This film inspired a generation of moviemakers who would go on to create their own sub-genre of film, forever changing the landscape of horror movies. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has gone down in the annals of film history as a legendary horror classic.

5 out of 5 Headless Critics




Texas Chainsaw Massacre Q&A Panel with John Dugan, Marilyn Burns & Gunnar Hansen – Hosted by Without Your Head’s Nasty Neal


WYH Interview with John Dugan, Grandpa of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre


WYH Interview with John Dugan, Grandpa of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre


WYH Interview with John Dugan, Grandpa of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

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