Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Flashbacks: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974
Director: Tobe Hooper
Writers: Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
Starring Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen

When many people think of what is the ultimate 70's horror film, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the first one that comes to mind. It really showcases the best of the genre that really blossomed in the decade. The documentary feel of the film really makes it feel real. Also, what is amazing is that with a title like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre it is hardly bloody at all. Most of the horrific things are left to the viewers fertile imagination. It is a film that you are hooked into once you hear John Larroquette's somber voice. It is a film that work as both a dark horror film and a darkly black comedy. It really depends on your mood on how you interpret the film with each viewing.
The plot basics are this a group of friends are traveling through Texas to make sure their families graves are intact, as someone has desecrated many of the graves in a local cemetery. The group is led by Sally (Burns) and her invalid brother Franklin (Partain). They pass a slaughterhouse and pick up a hitchhiker (Neal) who ends up going crazy and cutting Franklin before they kick him out. They stop at what seems to be an abandoned house looking for help with their van and their friends start disappearing. Then, in the evening Sally and Franklin are attacked by a chainsaw wielding maniac (Hansen) wearing a human face as a mask. The rest of the film follows Sally as she tries to survive and keep her sanity throughout this ordeal.
This is a phenomenal film, at times both creepy as hell and darkly humorous. The direction by Hooper is flawless and it really feels like you are watching a documentary as it really has that grainy feel to it. The story takes liberal parts from the exploits of serial killers Ed Gein and Albert Fish and makes their own dark mythology. The characters are rounded out well, I especially liked Franklin and the old man. The acting is really good, Burns really loses it several times and you really believe she has gone insane. Hansen as Leatherface fills the screen any time he is on the screen. The effects are good and the kills are hard to watch and definitely linger on your mind. My personal favorite scenes are when Leatherface first shows up and clobbers the guy with the mallet, I love how his body convulses. The other scene would be when Pam is put on the meat hook, that is just wrong, but you cannot look away. Another great thing about the film is the score, it gives you chills whenever you listen to it, and it automatically brings the film back into your head. This is a great film of any genre and anyone who has not seen it yet really needs to experience it.
This one gets 5 bloody chainsaws out of 5

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