"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)
Genre: Classics, Horror
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Written By: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Released: October 1st, 1974
Runtime: 83 minutes
Studio: Bryanston Pictures
A teenage girl, her wheelchair-bound brother and a few friends intend to spend a brief holiday in the family’s rundown old summer house. In need of petrol a nearby home seems an obvious source but the neighbours aren’t too friendly…
I’m going to be blunt. I just thought this film was really crap. I don’t say this about many films. Ok, there’s no plot because the reasons behind why this maniac cuts up bodies is not explained. Obviously, there is some reason. One does not just wake up one day and go around cutting up people for the hell of it. I don’t accept this as the basis for a horror story, ok, there has to be more to it otherwise there is just no point. Plus, the film is not even scary, it’s just disgusting and sick. The characters are not engaging enough, annoying, and frankly stupid to go wandering into this empty old house in the first place and to pick up that hitch hiker in the beginning. None of their backgrounds were established enough so we knew nothing really about them when it came to their demises so I didn’t really care about them.
I’m really sorry about this negativity but I’ve heard so much about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that I guess I just had higher hopes for it. That and it’s probably not my genre of horror anyway. I prefer the psychological ones where you get a fright and there’s a proper story, not these slasher movies. Maybe I could have got into it a bit more if the opening scenes were more engaging but I just personally found them boring. So by the time it got to the “scary” moments I wasn’t really bothered. I should tell you that I was watching this film in complete darkness (you know…just because) and still…no. No.
Leatherface is one of the most iconic horror psychopaths thanks to the over-exposure of his image in popular media. However to me, he wasn’t that scary looking. The sound of the chainsaw, ok fair enough is frightening, but his face is not (some may argue...I'll admit looking at some of the stills I wouldn't like to meet him in a dark alleyway...). He’s wearing some kind of mask thing and that’s it. He would be comical if in any other situation. I think it's just the way he runs. I ventured into a Horror House a few years ago and, I mean, the Leatherface I encountered in there was dressed up more. I remember it was at the very end of my time in there and I’d [finally] made it to the exit door. I could just about see it in front of me. It was pitch black in there bar these tiny little red lights we had to follow. So it was with unbelievable relief I made my way towards it only to be temporarily interrupted by this lunatic who jumped out of nowhere with a chainsaw! I got such a fright the legs nearly went from under me! I just bolted towards the door and got the hell out of there!!!
Conclusion: This is just really sick. I’ve seen some stupid movies but this just took the biscuit. And I’ve only ever said this about one other film and that was “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. Both of these movies just had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Don’t ask me what I was actually expecting…just something more than this. There are some that are not going to agree with this review and who’ll think I’m being harsh or perhaps giving out for the sake of giving out because I know this is supposed to be a really highly praised horror film. And then there are those who are going to raise eyebrows wondering why I was even watching it in the first place. Curiosity killed the cat! But seriously. What kind of twisted sadistic crackpot came up with something this sordid in the first place? What is wrong with people???
*sigh* Venting over. This review is just getting the brunt of my disappointment, I’m sorry.
What I will say is I can see how it would have been frightening when it came out first. Also there’s no tremendous amount of gore actually in it (bar the impalement scene and even in that the blood shown is very minimal). It leaves things up to the imagination which is often worse – in a good way! There have been some recent remakes of the film and I haven’t seen them (nor frankly do I intend to) but they are supposed to be relying heavily on the amount of gore included, which just isn’t right. Less is more, as they say. So I will commend this film on its use of the power of suggestion – nothing beats this technique! Also there was a twist in the “plot” but sure by the time it came to revealing it I didn’t give two hoots so it wasn’t as big as it may have been when the film first came out? I don’t know. I actually think I just reached a point and stopped watching. I had to. It was ridiculous. Watching somebody screeching and roaring does not constitute as a good film.
I just…I really, really didn’t like this. It’s everything that’s wrong with the world. I don’t think it deserves the adoration it has or is receiving. The only thing I can say is you get what you’ve been advertised: It’s all in the name! A Texas chainsaw massacre indeed.