The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – A Retrospective

A poster for Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror film 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' starring Gunnar Hansen. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

Horror movies were banned in my house growing up. Full stop.

I think the scariest movie we were allowed to watch was Ghostbusters. That’s it.

I didn’t watch legit horror movies until friends discovered The Evil Dead franchise. Those were the first real horror movies I ever watched.

Well, cut to senior year, and I was starting to dive ass deep into pretentious film. I would complete the dive at college, but this was like, climbing up the ladder sort of (bad analogy).

I one day realized that I was in fact 17, and could, in fact, go rent stuff. So, I went to my local rental place Slick Sam’s Video (RIP), and picked up (on VHS mind you) The Shining, Night of the Living Dead, The Thing, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in one weekend. Watched them all.

And don’t get me wrong, they are all fantastic, but the one that is the most personal for me is Texas Chainsaw.

Now, I am never going to match the eloquence other people have bestowed upon this movie, especially not Joe Bob Briggs’ masterpiece essay on this film. Ill just cover why it is a guaranteed rewatch for me every year.

First, I think its the craft. For being a film made on three dollars and a quarter bag of weed, it is fucking SHOCKING how much talent is in this film. Like, consider the first time you are brought into the house. Just an incredible series of shots on something that clearly was a lucky find, dressed up on the dirt cheap.

I think Tobe Hooper’s skill carries this film a long way.

Next, I think it is our villains. Don’t need super powers, or zombies, or demons. I think what gives the film its grit is that we are dealing with people off the grid. It’s easy to say rednecks, but its not even just that. It’s people who are shut off. For whatever reason, society pissed them off enough to where they are now living in their own other world.

On reflection, this is probably the real reason I keep coming back to this movie year after year. These people…sure they are a caricature. Leatherface in his mask. The hitchhiker already strung out. But….

To be honest…

It’s not too dissimilar from people I know and have known back in the really rural parts of the world. Out there it is easy to disassociate. To think the world has gone to shit and you might as well fend for yourself by any means necessary.

I never saw anyone hanging up coeds on hooks. But, I definitely have been to a few houses and met a few people that….I looked at once and tried to get the hell away from.

Ok, lets get to the masterpiece.

The last 10-15 min of this movie is just perfect. Pitch perfect in every way. Again, a ton of real estate put here. But, got damn.

Look I have seen some dark shit these days. I’ve been to the far corners of weird ass intense cinema. That dinner scene combined with the ending is among the best craft I have seen executed of all time.

Don’t need a fucking jumpscare. Marilyn Burns’ is building all the atmosphere you need for this whole scene to come together.

Given everything that happened with the production of this movie, I can’t believe they pulled this off. We all know the dance at the end and the hysterical laughing, but it is the dinner scene that is the best.

4/4 – And you don’t need me to tell you that. If you haven’t seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, why the fuck are you reading this. Go watch it now. Pay for it. With money. You will not be disappointed.

One final thought. This is now a full fledged franchise with multiple films, video games, merch, etc. The gas station and the house are now fucking restaurants.

That is the worst thing that could have happened to this film. Makes it cheap. This film is as good as any other masterpiece film on the planet. Fucking watch it. Got damn.

© Church of the Holy Flava 2016 - 2021