The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Main Stars: Gunnar Hanson, Marilyn Burns, Paul A.Partain, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow
Storyline: A group teenagers head up to visit their grandfather’s grave and old house. Along the way they pick up a hitch-hiker near a slaughterhouse that belongs to a strange family of cannibals, bringing the young teenagers on a night of chainsaws and terror.
Review: “The film which you are about to see 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.”
Right from the Narrative’s opening (see above) to the strange sounds of camera shots of the dismembered rotting bodies this film has welcomed to you to a whole new strange world. This is a staple must see for horror movie lovers period. This movie proves it does not need gore, blood splatter, naked scenes or known movie stars to make this work. Tobe Hooper took darkness, sounds and imagery to make this one of the most disturbing horror movie of all time. Strange and memorable family members such as the hitch-hiker, the cook, grandpa and of course Leatherface started this franchise and are still the best cast together from the series.
Sure some of the teenage characters can be annoying such as the wheelchair brother Franklin (Paul A.Partain) but his sister Sally (Marilyn Burns) represents some of the best screams from a queen and psycho drama ever performed on the horror screen, as she is being chased by Leatherface (with his wielding chainsaw) and tortured at the dinner table by his insane family.
Leatherface (Gunnar Hanson) has the most memorable moments in this film playing the troubled son. Some of his most haunting scenes are the meat hook hanging of the beautiful Pam (Teri McMinn) while he dismembers her boyfriend. The classic sledge hammer to head by luring his victim to the back door with sounds of a pig. But the most memorable is when the director reflects closely on Leatherface’s face when he is troubled by the acts of brutality that he has performed. It makes you wonder what really is going on behind that mask of dead skin.
Rating: The movie is not hard for me to rate as it is dark and disturbing all in one. To me this is a work of art for the horror genre. One of the first I have ever seen and still one of the best. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a damn good drinking movie (have a drink every time someone says Sally for fun!)