Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Essentials- "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)

The Essentials-#79

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
There are very few films that I have seen in the horror genre that kept me up at night. I am a horror movie junkie, I watch them from all cultures and all countries. I feed on every aspect of the Halloween culture. Sometimes, I feel because of the horror films I watch and me being a favorite of this time of year, I have become desensitized to all things horror. 

I remember I was a freshman in high school the first time I saw the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." At first, I was ready to write it off as another slasher film. There were cliched parts in the movie, there were strange parts of the movie, and there were parts where you won't be able to help the laughter. There are several moments however, that plunge you in macabre. There are moments that will sear themselves into your psyche, unwilling to let go of your thoughts. I thought about the film all night once I got home from my friend's house that night, and I was kept up all night by what I had seen. 

When I was a junior in high school, I hosted my first big Halloween party. I remember I dressed up as the mayor of Halloweentown from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and all of my good friends dressed up too. Being the movie person that I am, I have always been a showman when it comes to parties and I really wanted to see how my best friends would react to the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." I can say with confidence that it really worked on most of my friends, and being able to sit next to my then crush and let her grip my hand tightly was icing on the cake.

At first glance, it feels like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is just like every other slasher film. Even though it was this original film that kicked off the sub-genre, I can understand why that would turn people off. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" follows a group of youths drive to see their relatives old house. One by one they venture next door to an older house, and one by one they are killed by a family of cannibals. The head killer is Leatherface (Gunner Jensen) who wears a mask made of skin and uses a chainsaw. What makes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" different from the rest of the slasher films is how real it feels. This is definitely NOT a found footage movie, but there is an authentic feel in the whole film. Once you watch it, you don't know whether to be entertained or to call the police and report a crime.

Most of the actors in this film never went on to become big Hollywood stars, which only elevates the authentic feel of what you are watching. The family of cannibals that star in this film literally feel like the filmmakers found the craziest people they could and hired them for these roles. There is also something about the cinematography itself, it seems director Tobe Hooper found the oldest, worst camera he could find to shoot the film with. This only adds to the already realistic feel that grips the whole film. 

The film maybe a slasher film, there are some moments of genuine terror. The use of creepy music and silents works big time for this film. I absolutely love how Hooper uses these two items to affect. I love the absolute lunacy of the cannibal family. They have a genuine glee of what they are doing which is quite terrifying. 

There is quite a kick "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" offers and you should be apart of it.

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