Daily Archives: 04/12/2011
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE-United States-1974
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
My earliest memory of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would probably be somewhere in the area of 1980, maybe 1981. I was all of eightteen years old with a brand new Indigo Blue Camaro that had been given to me by my mother and father. It was a Friday night, my parents were out for the evening and I was cruising through town looking for something to do.
Now, I have been, and will always be, a Huge with a capital H movie buff. That statement was no different in 1980 as it is today. I was too shy to think about dating so when I said I was looking for something to do that usually meant going to the movies. Now that I had a car that meant one very important thing. I could go to the drive-in.
In Spartanburg, South Carolina back in the day, we had the South 29 Drive-In Theater. Now, most nights the only films you would see at the South 29 Drive-In Theater were the films where people took all their clothes off and did the horizontal bop (thank you, Bob Seger). But every now and then they would put a good old horror film up on the screen for everyone to enjoy through those little tinny speakers. Tonight it was a double feature combination-porno-horror-extravaganza of Debbie Does Dallas and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Wow, two films about Texas. I guess it was theme night.
Now being a red-blooded American boy of eightteen I had seen my share of ‘adult’ entertainment and must admit I was a little intrigued by the exploits of Debbie and her adventures in Dallas. But the words ‘Chainsaw’ and ‘Massacre’ kept swirling around in my mind. Hmm, let’s see: the murderous use of power tools versus Debbie taking on a football team in a sexual Super Bowl. No contest. You lose, Debbie.
I pulled up to the ticket window and asked the woman at the window for one ticket, please and thank you. She took my money, gave me the ticket and asked me if I had anyone in my trunk. I told her I had Richard Nixon and two midgets back there and they were having the time of their life. She looked at me like I was something she’d scraped off the bottom of her shoe. Tough room, I thought, as I headed into the drive-in to enjoy the show. Well, after I stopped off for popcorn and a soda. You never forget the essentials.
I found a place to park and got all set up to watch the show. The film started and a voice that I now know as that of John Larroquette boomed into the speaker telling everyone in attendance that the film they were about to see is an account of the tragedy that befell five youths and would go down as one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American History-The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bring it on, Dan Fielding! For those of you who don’t know who Dan Fielding is just google John Larroquette and you’ll find out.
The movie plays along for a while and I’m thinking that if I have to listen to that whiny Franklin for another second I’m gonna go berserk. Then they pick up the hitchhiker and everything changes. I am totally freaked out by this guy. He is every kind of weirdo I have ever met in my life. I mean this dude is every french fry short of a Happy Meal.
The hitchhikers slices Franklin with his knife and the rest of the group kick him out of the van. If it had been me I would have kicked Franklins’ whiny ass out of the van and given the hitchhiker a beer. But I didn’t write this movie, now did I?
Okay, so the hitchhiker is out and our merry band of what-ever the hell they are is making their way to where ever they are going. They find their way to this old house and like very other horror movie out there they decide to get nosy and snoop around inside not wondering or worrying if anybody lives there or not.
Now up to this point I’m thinking that aside from Franklin being a whiny girly-boy and the hitchhiker being crazier than a wrasslin’ fan when somebody tells ‘em it’s fake, this movie hasn’t really been that scary.
Then WHAM! That ominous looking metal door opens. BAM!! Out pops Leatherface for the first time in all his gory glory. THANK YOU MA’AM!!!He pops good old Kirk upside the head with the sledgehammer and popcorn and soda take flight inside my car. I should have been mad as hell but there was no way I could be. This was love at first sight. I was witness to one of the greatest horror film villains of all time and he was wearing a bloody apron and a mask made out of human skin. Later on, he endeared himself even more to me when he sliced through Franklin with that chainsaw like a knife through butter. Of course we haven’t gotten to the dinner scene and Grandpa. I thought I was going go as apeshit as poor old Sally before that scene was finished.
The film ends and I just sat there in my car. Everyone else was starting their engines and making their way single file out of the drive in and back onto Highway 29. What a bunch of morons. Did they not realize that they had just been witness to one of the greatest horror films of all time? What the hell is wrong with you people?!?
Okay, so it’s 2011 and I’m calmer now. But I still believe with all my horror-movie loving heart The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the greatest and most influential horror films in the history of cinema. Marilyn Burns, Ed Neal, Gunnar Hansen and the rest of the cast give it everything they’ve got and it shows in every frame of this film. Tobe Hooper would never really reach the level of notoriety that he did with this movie. He didn’t have to. He had already made his masterpiece.
Hmm, and to think it all started with Ed Gein. You can google his name, too.