By: Ahmed Almatrook (A Toast) –
In the world of horror my dear friends, there exists two sub-genres: the normal and the fucked up horror films. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s case though, I think we have to create a whole new sub genre, let’s call it “most bizzare, disturbing, fucked up shit you will ever watch.” The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (let’s call it “TCM”) is my favorite horror film of all time, and nothing can change my mind about that.
Released on October 1st, 1974, TCM became a subject of shock and controversy, and to this day is being called “the most controversial movie of all time.” The movie follows a woman named Sally Hardesty and her brother, Franklin, travelling with a group of friends to the Hardesty’s homestead. When their van runs out of gas, they wander into the wilderness of Texas, only to find that Leatherface is waiting to murder them, one by one.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a prime example on how a low budget movie can become a cult classic and an icon in horror movie history. The budget was a mere 300,000 dollars and it grossed over 30 million dollars in box offices around the world. Upon release the film was banned in many countries, and that just shows you how shockingly horrifying this movie is.
TCM has a very dry feeling injected into it; I felt like the atmosphere in the room where I was watching it in was very hostile and uncomfortable. The camerawork is raw, but I think that the movie is meant to be presented that way, it adds to that “dry” feeling that I mentioned earlier. And of course, I don’t think I need to mention the amount of unsettling scenes in the movie.
I think this movie produced one of the most recognizable faces in horror history? What’s his name? Leatherface? FUCK YEAH!! The almighty retarded cold-blooded killing machine!! Gunnar Hansen did a terrific job portraying Leatherface. Obviously, Leatherface is the main antagonist in the film. He wears a mask that is made out of human skin coupled with a very intimidating structure and a complete disregard for human life makes him a perfect killing machine. Leatherface is a retarded (a four year old is smarter than him) psychopath who kills in self-defense because he is he feels threatened and afraid of new people entering his home.
The thing that impressed me most about this movie is the fact that it doesn’t intend to frighten people via the use of blood (there’s hardly any, despite the title) or contact with the supernatural, like many movies nowadays. Instead, it uses key elements like: location, characters, dialogue, and realistic situations to scare the audience. TCM take place in a deserted area in Texas where no one can hear you scream(Aliens reference?), that contributes to the hostile atmosphere as well,but don’t even get me started on that again. The characters are a bunch of fucked up cannibals whose house has chairs made out of human parts, a large bench made from human bones, a chicken inside a bird cage, and decomposing grandparents. Also, the lack of music just puts the icing on the cake, all you hear are screams and the sound of that damn chainsaw mutilating people. Moreover, one of the first things you see in the movie is a decomposing body that has been dug up from a grave and wired to a large monument (which honestly made me shit my pants).
The production was PURE low-budget, in fact, it was so low budget that Gunnar Hansen had to get an actual operating chainsaw just about 8 cm away from one actor’s face because they didn’t have enough money for special effects; now that actor’s got some balls!! Moreover, Gunnar had to wear Leatherface’s god awful mask for 15 hours a day in an environment where temperatures would reach 90-100F!! That’s what I call dedication.
To sum up, TCM is one of those movies that you just HAVE to watch; it’s as good as it is disturbing. Oh and please FOR THE LOVE OF ODIN, don’t bother watching any of the sequels (especially the newest “sequel” Texas Chainsaw 3D), they are all abominations that beg for apocalypse.
Take a Drink: every time Leatherface changes his mask.
Take a Drink: every time someone gets killed.
Take a Drink: if the Sawyer Residence freaked you out.
Take a Drink: for Leatherface!!
Do a Shot: if that scene with the decomposing body made you jump.
Take a Drink: for this guy.