Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Gunnar Hensen
Considered as one of the greatest and most controversial films ever to be created, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has defined horror as a genre for generations, and continues to this day to be one of the few films to ascend to the pinnacle of cinema.
En route to visit a graveyard subject to seemingly ritualistic unburial to see the grave of an old relative, five teenagers are thrown into the heart of deep south hospitality with all the gory bits left well and truly in. Subjected to the whimsical horror of a crazed hitch-hiker before one by one stumbling across a ramshackle house full of human furniture, a caged chicken and oh yeah…a rampaging inbred cannibalistic slasher with a love of revolving blades. With nowhere to run and no one to call (not even the Ghostbusters…) how will the teens survive this onslaught of power tools and terror?
Unleashed on the public on October 11th 1974, Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece focus’s somewhat upon the downfall of American youth following the rebellions between the late 60’s and early 70’s that left young America in collapse; namely the infamous Kent State shootings. The youngsters who are targeted by the terrifying Leatherface and his abomination of a family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are shown as shattered fragments of ‘flower children’ of old, their stereotypical mystical ramblings and garments typical of the late 60’s culture, combined with their aimless drifting through life and land; clearly highlighting the archetype. It is clear that Hooper through his beautifully crafted desecration of the young generation within The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (by the faceless yet so multi faced personification of primitive chaos that is Leatherface); suggests that the youth movement that sought so dearly to tear structure and society apart between the late 60’s and early 70’s unleashed something beneath that structure that maybe they should have left buried…the downfall of American innocence.
It is perhaps fitting then that this film is based loosely around someone who took innocence and gave it one hell of a punt down the long dusty trail, the infamous American murderer and body-snatcher Ed Gein. His crimes, committed around his home town of Plainfield, Wisconsin between 1947 and 1952 gathered nationwide notoriety.
Is it just me or does the fact that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has some grounding in reality make it even more terrifying…
Personally, I would give this film more than 5/5 if possible. Tobe Hooper has truly created something stunning here, it’s wonderful cinematography, captivating and somewhat terrifyingly true story arch and its endless sense of overwhelming dread that seems to soak into each pore and crack of both audience and narrative…makes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre one of the most must watch films of all time.
Seeing as a 5/5 is my maximum…
Full movie below: