New Years/Yeariversary Special: Review 70: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (original) (5/5)

A white film poster of a man holding a large chainsaw, with a screaming woman fastened to a wall behind him. The writing on the poster says, "Who will survive and what will be left of them?"; "America's most bizarre and brutal crimes!"; "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; "What happened is true. Now the motion picture that's just as real. "

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (original)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn, William Vail, Allen Danziger, John Dugan

Released on October 1, 1974

Running time: 1h 24m

Rated R (Suggested rating: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and terror, and some language. Though I would rate it PG-13, I must stress that this movie is not for kids.)

Genre: Horror

I’ve been doing this for a year! That’s awesome! I have had so much fun (and suffered greatly) doing this for your pleasure and my catharsis, and I thank all of you that read my stuff for taking this journey with me.

For my Yeariversary Special, I decided to look back at the first several films I ever reviewed on this blog, and see if there was another movie I could review that was closely related to one of those. The sixth movie I ever reviewed caught my eye: the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I remember it well. Seeing how I managed to let down a massive load off my back by reviewing the original Halloween, I figured I may as well do the same for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Well, let’s see if this works.

Fun fact: Tobe Hooper came up with the idea for TCSM while standing in a crowded hardware store. While thinking of a way to get through the crowd, he spotted some chainsaws. I’ll let you fill in the rest. No, Mr. Hooper did not massacre the hardware store patrons.

John Larroquette gives us a brief but foreboding nonetheless introduction, telling us that the film is based off of actual events. This is untrue (say three Hail Marys and do an Act of Contrition), but it was, like Psycho, inspired by the real-life murders committed by Ed Gein. Well, Gein only actually killed two people, but he still made furniture and various other things out of plenty of corpses.

After the narration, the film really starts out on an ominous note by having us listen to a police report describing many graves that have been dug up, the bodies exhumed and desecrated, arranged into weird positions, and with extremities missing. After a few camera flashes showing parts of a corpse and a brief shot of another very decayed corpse holding another head in its hands, the screen cuts to the title, and then fades into a shot of a dead armadillo lying on a Texas road as a light blue van travels along it. This van is carrying five twentysomething former hippies. They are Sally (Burns), her brother Franklin (Partain), and her friends Jerry (Danziger), Kirk (Vail), and Pam (McMinn). They have traveled to the desecrated graveyard to see if Sally and Franklin’s father’s corpse has been dug up. It isn’t, and they are relieved. They then begin driving to the aforementioned father’s old house to stay for an arbitrary length of time, presumably just overnight. Along the way, we learn about our characters.

Sally brought her brother on this trip out of obligation. She undoubtedly loves her brother, but considers him as kind of a burden and is easily irritated by him. Franklin needs a wheelchair to get around; he clearly loves his sister and is trying very hard to be good company to the rest of the group, but he is somewhat immature, and is, to a slightly greater degree, socially inept. Kind of like me, except I don’t need a wheelchair. Jerry is a simple man; he has a very so-so demeanor, and also considers Franklin a burden. Kirk is a bit of a douche, acts laid back but seems like he always has something on his mind, and also considers Franklin a burden. Pam is a devout vegan, is obsessed with astrology and horoscopes, and also considers Franklin a burden.

It’s a bit sad, because if I actually knew the guy, I think Franklin would have been my friend. Though I don’t need a wheelchair, I’m immature and socially inept like him. He seems like a really decent guy. I’d totally buy him a beer.

Before long, the group passes an old slaughterhouse. It has a powerful stench coming from it. Franklin brings up the two methods of how cows are killed: with a sledgehammer to the head, or with a “big air gun” that shoots a bolt into the cow’s brain and then retracts it. Ouch.

The group sees a shifty-looking hitchhiker (Neal), and on account of the foul reek emanating from the slaughterhouse, they pick him up. They immediately regret doing so. The hitchhiker is clearly mentally challenged, unnaturally skinny, and has a blood splotch on his face. Franklin tries to communicate with him, asking about how cows are killed in a slaughterhouse. Franklin originally thought that they had sacrificed the sledge for the air gun, but the hitchhiker denies this, saying that they had gone back to the sledge after the air gun failed. The hitchhiker goes further and explains that the workers make headcheese.

That was the original title for this movie by the way. Headcheese.

Here’s how you make headcheese: Remove the cow’s brain and tongue; those can be eaten separately. Boil the rest of the head, and scrape every last bit of flesh off the skull, including eyes, jowls, ligaments, etc. Boil the scraped-off flesh into a big fatty jelly, and presto; you’re done. It’s about as unappetizing as it sounds.

The hitchhiker sees Franklin’s knife and snags it from him. He then proceeds to dig a big gash into his hand from it, and he takes it like a man, even lightly chortling at the pain. Either that, or it’s how he gets hard. He gives the knife back to a shocked Franklin. He then pulls out his camera and takes a picture of the group. The picture doesn’t turn out too well, but the hitchhiker insists that it’s a good picture and that the picture only costs two dollars. When Franklin doesn’t want it, the hitchhiker sets the picture on fire, startling the group and freaking them out. In the commotion, the hitchhiker pulls out his own straight razor and gives Franklin a nasty slice on his arm. The group kicks the hitchhiker out of the van. The scene as a whole is pretty uncomfortable; the hitchhiker is clearly not all there, and clearly has less than positive intentions. This is precisely why I don’t pick up hitchhikers.

By the way, remember the hitchhiker. He will be important later.

When the group calms down, Pam reads the horoscopes of Franklin and Sally. And now that I’ve seen this movie about five times, I can safely say that this is exactly how to do foreshadowing.

PAM: Hey, listen to Franklin’s horoscope. ‘Travel in the country, long-range plans, and upsetting persons around you could make this a disturbing and unpredictable day. The events in the world are not doing much either to cheer one up’.

JERRY: That’s just perfect. And now read Sally’s.

PAM: Oh, no. Capricorn’s ruled by Saturn. ‘There are moments when we cannot believe that what is happening to us is really true. Pinch yourself and you may find out that it is’.

Remember this foreshadowing, because as you probably guessed, the plot is going to go about as well as predicted. Hey, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a horoscope accurately predict something.

The group goes to a gas station, where even the gas station is out of gas, and they purchase some fresh barbecued meat from the owner (Siedow). Yum. Remember this scene, the owner, and the meat. They will be important later.

The group arrives at Sally and Franklin’s father’s old house. It’s abandoned, but they’re planning on staying the night anyway. Franklin discovers that the hitchhiker smeared blood on the van door in a sort of S-like shape. A particularly personal scene happens with Franklin in which he, alone, angrily reflects on Sally bringing him on the trip only to have the group treat him like a burden. He then mocks their laughter. Kirk and Pam find him and ask him if the old swimming hole near the house is still there. Franklin gives them a general idea of where it is. Kirk and Pam leave, and Franklin happenstances on a room with some bones in it. Franklin doesn’t know this, but I do – this is ritualistic desecration.

Kirk and Pam run down to the swimming hole only to see that it has dried up. Nuts. But they see another house a short distance away, and decide to go over there and ask if they have any gasoline. Confirming their suspicions are the sounds of a generator. As Kirk and Pam get closer to the house, they discover a tree with tin cans and other clang-able objects hanging from it, a few rusting cars with a rope net a few feet over them, and finally the house. Not a bad place, that. Kirk knocks on the door but nobody answers. He sees a human tooth on the porch and drops it into Pam’s hand, causing her to briefly freak out.

With Pam off to the side, pissed at Kirk, Kirk enters the house, asking if anyone’s there. Kirk sees a room behind the staircase lined with animal skulls on the walls. A series of quiet pig-like squeals and grunts emanate from the room. Kirk steps in, and just as he does, the horror icon known as Leatherface (Hansen) appears in front of him. Stop! Hammer time! With two blows to the head from a one-handed sledgehammer, Kirk goes down, and Leatherface drags his body into the room and slams the sheet metal door behind him.

With our first appearance of Leatherface at just after the thirty-five-minute mark, the film’s mood has drastically changed from apprehensive and unfriendly to outright hostile and fearful. Nobody expected Leatherface’s face-mask-wearing mug to come out of there. It caught all of us completely off guard. I haven’t seen such a good mood change in a film since The Sound of Music in the transition from when Maria and Captain von Trapp get married to our first shot of the Nazi swastika. Wow.

Pam notices that Kirk is taking a long time, and so she goes into the house, and goes into a different room. She stumbles and falls, and plummets right onto the chicken-down-covered floor. She looks up and his horrified to see that the room is covered in bones of all shapes and sizes, feathers, bone ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and even bone furniture. She, being a staunch vegan, reacts accordingly. She starts gagging, coughing, and hacking. She gets up and runs out of the room, but runs into Leatherface. She tries to run away, and almost gets out of the house, but Leatherface catches her and drags her into the same room he dragged Kirk into. We see the inside of it now. It’s essentially a kitchen, but with a big horizontal freezer, a rack with meat hooks hanging from them, and a table in the center with Kirk’s corpse on it. Speaking of meat hooks, Leatherface shanks Pam on one. Ouch. As Pam looks on, Leatherface gets out a chainsaw, turns it on, revs it, and starts to chop up Kirk’s corpse.

Cut back to Jerry, Sally, and Franklin. When Kirk and Pam don’t come back, Jerry volunteers to look for them, and leaves. He too finds the house, and goes in. He gets into the kitchen without running into Leatherface. He sees the freezer shake, and when he opens it, Pam jumps halfway out, but collapses on the freezer. When Jerry tries to help her out, Leatherface appears. Jerry screams like a girl, and Leatherface takes him out with a sledgehammer blow to the head. Leatherface sits in a chair by the window and puts his head in his hands.

Gunnar Hansen originally had turned down the role of Leatherface due to how brutal the plot and Leatherface would be. But his friend, Marilyn Burns, persuaded him to take the role. Thank heaven for them both. Tobe Hooper allowed Hansen to develop Leatherface as he saw fit, but under his supervision. Hansen decided that Leatherface was mentally handicapped and had never properly learned to talk. Hansen went to a school for the mentally challenged and watched how they moved and listened to how they talked in order to get an idea of how to translate being mentally handicapped into how he would act as Leatherface. Hooper and Hansen would confirm later that Leatherface was a “big baby” who only attacks his victims because he feels threatened.

Hansen also said that, during filming, he didn’t get along very well with Paul A. Partain, who was playing Franklin. A few years after filming, Hansen met Partain again and learned that Partain was a method actor, who had chosen to stay in character even when not filming. The two remained friends until Partain’s death.

Also, Hansen, due to TCSM’s low budget, only had one shirt to wear as Leatherface during all four weeks of filming during the hot Texas summer. The shirt was dyed, so washing it was out of the question. By the time filming ended, no one wanted to stand near Hansen or sit next to him at lunch because he smelled so bad. Nice.

It’s night now, and Sally and Franklin have been calling for Jerry and have been honking their van’s horn. Despite their efforts, Jerry does not appear. They can’t even start the van to drive away to get help – Jerry has the keys. With no other options, Franklin and Sally go to look for Jerry themselves. They search for several minutes.

Remember how the mood of the movie switched from inauspicious and unsettling to antagonistic and intimidating? Well, the movie’s about to change the mood again. Nice.

As Sally pushes Franklin in his wheelchair, the two see the light from the house nearby. Franklin hears something, then tells Sally to stop. And then in one of the best damn jumpscares I’ve ever seen, Leatherface jumps up out of nowhere, chainsaw revving, and slashes Franklin to death. Sally stands there for a few seconds, horrified, screaming at the top of her lungs, before she remembers that she needs to run away. Leatherface, having brutally killed Franklin, runs after her.

Note how Sally was not SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS, as that would imply that her screams were comical. No. She’s just seen her brother murdered in front of her in a horrible way, and now the killer is after her too, and her life is in serious peril. I would be screaming too. Jeez.

And yes, I did say that Leatherface’s murder of Franklin was one of the best damn jumpscares I’ve ever seen. The first time I watched this movie, I just about fell out of my chair. It worked that well.

And as I said just a minute ago, the movie’s mood has changed again with Franklin’s murder just after the fifty-two-minute mark. It has changed from oppressive and menacing to dripping with terror and paranoia.

And this is no more prevalent, except in one other scene, than TCSM’s psychotic chase sequences. Because wow. By the way, during the chase sequences, Marilyn Burns was actually cut quite badly by the branches, so a lot of the blood on her body and clothes is real. Even in his three-inch-heel-lift boots, Gunnar Hansen could run faster than Marilyn Burns, so he had to do random things while chasing her through the woods. You’ll notice that in one head-on shot that Leatherface starts slicing up tree branches in the background. By the way, you’ll quickly notice that during this chase sequence, Leatherface is actually running after Sally. Unlike most slasher films…or TCSM 2003. There’s no time to stumble and/or fall even once or your ass is toast. The chase sequence is shot through the trees in such a way that it looks like the trees are trying to grab Sally. The chase sequence consists of the constant sound of a revving chainsaw, the disturbingly atonal percussion-based soundtrack playing rather than blasting, and Sally’s constant screaming. All three of these factors happen nonstop until the chase is over, and because of this, the tension is almost overwhelming.

Anyway, Leatherface chases Sally for several minutes. Sally is chased into Leatherface’s house, where she briefly stops him by slamming the front door in his face. As Sally rushes upstairs to look for a place to hide, Leatherface starts sawing down the door. Sally rushes into a room to hide, but is faced with two corpses of an old man and an even more dead old woman. Disgusted, Sally rushes back to the stairs, but Leatherface has just finished sawing down the door. Desperate, Sally runs up the stairs and bursts through the window at the top. She falls down to the ground outside and – hey! The shattered glass actually cut her! Neat!

Sally keeps running until she reaches the gas station from earlier. She bursts in. The gas station owner has a hold of her. He calms her down and sits her down next to the still-cooking barbecue. He says he doesn’t have a phone, but he will get Sally out of there in his truck.

And all of my instincts are screaming at me that it’s Not Really Over, that the Gas Station Guy is in cahoots with Leatherface.

And my fears were proved right. At first, it’s just the meat cooking in the barbecue looking suspicious. And then the Gas Station Guy comes in holding a burlap sack big enough to hold Sally. Despite Sally’s protests and fighting back, the Gas Station Guy knocks her out, throws the burlap sack over her, and takes her out to his truck. I think you can guess where that barbecue meat came from.

Gas Station Guy drives back to…guess where? Leatherface’s house! And the hitchhiker from earlier lives there too! Sally is horrified to learn such, by the way.

And now the movie’s tone changes for the third time, from downright scary to absolutely disturbing.

Sally is strapped to a chair and set at the head of the dining room table. After much verbal abuse from Gas Station Guy, Hitchhiker and Leatherface bring their grandpa, the corpse of the old man (Dugan) downstairs.

John Dugan, after getting into the old age makeup, decided that he did not ever want to go through the process again, meaning that all of his scenes had to be filmed in the same session. The makeup took five hours to put on. The entire shoot was done during a brutal summer heat wave where the average temperature was a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The largest portion of the filming was spent filming the scene I will be talking about next. Dugan not only had the makeup on, but was wearing a heavy suit and tie. He, Neal, Hansen, Siedow, and Burns were sitting in a room full of dead animals and rotting food with no air conditioning. The stench was so horrible that some crew members got sick or even passed out. And the entire shoot took thirty-six hours. Wow. Edwin Neal, who played the hitchhiker, later said, “Filming that scene was the worst time of my life…and I had been in Vietnam, with people trying to kill me, so I guess that shows how bad it was.”

And now begins one of the most disturbing scenes in all of cinema. This is where the buildup of sight and sound billows up and ultimately creates sort of an avalanche effect. An avalanche that manifests itself as a total and complete sensory overload.

We get a taste of what we’re in for when Grandpa is brought downstairs. Leatherface actually does cut Sally’s finger because he couldn’t get the stage blood to squirt out of the little tube behind the knife. Leatherface sticks the finger in Grandpa’s mouth, and the decrepit old man comes to life and starts sucking the finger. Sally passes out.

And now we get the horror full force. I’m not joking – this is the epitome of balls-to-the-wall insanity. Sally wakes up, horrified to still be around this table with this family. Despite continual arguing among Gas Station Guy, Hitchhiker, and Leatherface, they mock Sally’s screams, and gleefully threaten to murder her. And though we got an idea of what we were in for with the chase scene, here it’s no holds barred. The scene around the table becomes a discordant, jarring, and harsh visual and auditory landscape and soundscape of screaming, mocking of screaming, closeups on faces and eyes, slightly shaky camera that shakes just enough to not cause immediate nausea, evil-but-not-cliché cackling, and a blasting soundtrack made of trembling electronic notes and smears, grating, crushing, grinding, scraping slaughterhouse machines, and the electronic approximation of the howling of beasts; the sounds an animal would hear inside of a slaughterhouse. Reality collapses on itself and implodes, distorting itself into a slipshod, makeshift, ersatz mockery of itself. Even when this scene goes amazingly over the top, it is done deftly and executed adroitly with deliberation. This scene as a whole is palpably tense to such a degree that you are scared out of your mind, but you cannot for the life of you look away. This level of terror through sensory overload would not be recreated until William Friedkin’s Bug.

The family remembers that Grandpa used to be the best cow-killer at the old slaughterhouse, so they decide to let Grandpa kill Sally. Leatherface and Hitchhiker untie Sally and drag her over to Grandpa’s end of the table, where Hitchhiker holds her over a bucket. Leatherface sticks his one-handed sledgehammer into Grandpa’s hand, but Grandpa is too weak to hold onto it. Leatherface holds the sledge in Grandpa’s hand, and Grandpa manages to score a nasty hit to Sally’s head. Sally’s will to live grows strong enough to break free of Hitchhiker’s grasp and burst out of another window. She is quickly followed by Hitchhiker and Leatherface, who chase her, Leatherface with chainsaw in tow. Hitchhiker is as fast as Sally, and he gets out his straight razor and slashes her several times.

The chase comes to a road, where Sally and Hitchhiker realize that they’ve run into the path of a semi-truck. Sally gets out of the way quick enough, but Hitchhiker cannot, and he is mowed down by the truck. Squish. Leatherface catches up to Sally, but the truck driver gets out and knocks Leatherface on his back with a big wrench. Leatherface’s chainsaw falls on his leg, where he receives a nasty gash. This was done by having a metal plate on Hansen’s leg, with a piece of meat and a blood bag on top. Ouch. The truck driver runs off down the road, and though Leatherface can stand, he is in no shape to go after him. A pickup truck drives by, and Sally gets in the back of the truck just in time. The pickup truck drives away with Sally in the back, looking worse for wear, covered in blood, and certainly less sane. By the way, by the time filming was over, Sally’s shirt was almost solid due to it being soaked in blood. Leatherface, on the other hand, in order to truly scare Tobe Hooper, furiously swings his chainsaw around in frustration until the screen cuts to black. Roll credits.

The cast and crew worked sixteen hours a day and seven days a week for four weeks during summer in one of Texas’s notoriously staggering heat waves. The daytime temperature was about one hundred degrees, and it only ever got down to about eighty at night.

Even the overall mood of America at the time filtered into the movie’s atmosphere, giving the movie an overall look of decay. It wasn’t just the war in Vietnam that the filmmakers were dealing with. The country was dealing with the Munich Olympics massacre. The country was dealing with Richard Nixon and Watergate. The country was dealing with the shootings at Kent State. The country was dealing with Charles Manson and Richard Speck. Plane hijackings. Government issues. Racial conflict. Terrorism. The movie is practically a mirror of a dark period in American history. Both the older generation of the Bible Belt and the younger hippie crowd are ridiculed.

You’d never guess that the film was shot in 16mm in poor light. The film looks and feels very hot and humid, sun-soaked and sweaty. Everything has a hot, musty, yellowish-orange glow. You can almost smell the dead, rotting meat. In fact, as the movie progresses, it loses a lot less color. By the time night falls, the colors of the azure sky, the brightness of the sunlight, and the yellow and green of the Texas outback and boondocks are gone. While the camera is clearly the most powerful entity here, the camera acts in such a way that the events in the movie never bend to its will.

The plot is simple; a group of teens get lost in the wrong place at the wrong time, encounter evil, and are stalked and killed. A group of young individuals return to their childhood home for nostalgia, and inadvertently stumble into the raw and irrational cruelty of the modern world. In fact, questions about what Leatherface and his family are or how they came to be are left to the viewer’s imagination.

The characters waste no time in developing themselves. While not always likable, the characters are definitely believable. The most interesting characters are obviously Franklin and Leatherface’s family. Franklin is treated as a nuisance by his companions. In contrast, Leatherface and Grandpa, the two characters most similar to Franklin, are treated like valued kinfolk who are accommodated and appreciated in the family unit. Though Leatherface puts up with much verbal abuse from Gas Station Guy, it is no more than is stereotypical for the trite rural family. They’re a close-knit family. (FRANKLIN: Gotta admire that.) Franklin also seems to be the only character to come close to communicating with the Hitchhiker when he starts up an at-first genial conversation with him about knives and methods of slaughterhouse killings. It’s bizarre how Leatherface’s family accepts the handicapped in their own way, and the heroes see the handicapped as a burden. It’s kind of like how former hippies who were drafted for and fought in Vietnam and returned maimed or crippled, and were rejected by their former friends for “killin’ babies” in ‘Nam. Even Sally survives only through sheer luck. She’s not intelligent or a feminist. The ignorant, rebellious youth, all jaded hippies, emerge scarred from the real world that they were unprepared for. And when they limp back home, the “old folks” who warned them of the cruelty of the real world tell them “I told you so” and kill them.

The character of Sally Hardesty is one of horror’s most criminally underrated scream queens.

The acting is fantastic all around, with excellent performances by protagonists and antagonists alike. Marilyn Burns in particular – even though most of what she does is screaming or pleading, she does it with such energy and realism that you fear for her.

The soundtrack also introduced me to something other than orchestral scores. The sounds of slaughterhouse machinery do a much better job at scaring me than any orchestral score could in this setting. All melody is destroyed in the experimental soundtrack of an industrial ambience of metallic and mechanical clangs, scrapes, clacks, bangs, and screams, not only evoking the atmosphere of a slaughterhouse through the ears of a cow, but even reflecting Leatherface’s family’s state of mind.

But what The Texas Chain Saw Massacre truly is is an exercise in terror. What makes it such a scary film is its atmosphere, from unfriendly, to outright hostile, to terrifying, to disturbing. This atmosphere, as well as the mounting dread and paranoia, is utilized skillfully to create a mind-frying experience of sensory overload, building off of what H.P. Lovecraft’s biggest fear was: fear of the unknown, from the grave desecration, to Pam’s unintentional foreshadowing, to the bone art, to the way the sun sets, to Leatherface, to the psychotic chase sequences, to the horrific scene around the dining room table, to the sheer desperation of Sally’s escape. Seeing as how an avalanche is impossible to stop once it starts, the avalanche effect of horrifying sounds and imagery inducing sensory overload causes the rest of the movie to fly by at a frenzied pace that never lets up until the movie is over.

It feels like it could happen to anyone. It is unrelentingly dark, blunt, chaotic, savage, sadistic, and traumatizing, yet fascinating. It has a very take-no-prisoners attitude. It plays on the post-Vietnam paranoia and dares to take the visceral power that cinema can deliver to the limit. It’s powerful. It’s inventive. It pushes the envelope of what can truly be terrifying. It’s one thing for a movie to make you fear for the characters; it’s quite another for the movie to make you fear for yourself.

While most directors are either scared of the censors or go too far and make the audience gag rather than scream, TCSM finds its way to balance the two out. It’s not afraid of the censors, yet never goes too far.

Tobe Hooper intentionally left out as much gore as possible in an attempt to get a PG rating. Despite his efforts, the MPAA insisted on the R rating. By not using gallons of gore and having sacrificed a slick, sleek look for a gritty, grainy one, Hooper has created one of the most bleak, down-to-earth, atmospheric, and aurally violent movies to date.

The film itself is like trying to fit a hexagon-shaped peg into a pentagon-shaped hole. Suddenly you notice Leatherface beside you, and he takes a file and makes the hole into a hexagon.

A still photo taken during filming of Leatherface’s family posing outside of their house was found and stolen by a German reporter. This reporter took it back to West Germany, and the image became the advertising poster for the first release of the movie in West Germany. (Why only West Germany? Oh, that’s right – Mr. Gorbachev hadn’t torn down that wall yet.)

When the film was released and became a mainstream hit, earning over thirty million dollars, the indie film community went nuts. It demonstrated how far its head was up its own ass by, out of jealousy, disowning it and disparaging it as a pointless exercise in tasteless violence. Strangely, twenty-five years later, the indie film community would unnecessarily praise the lousy vomitorium of shaky-cam The Blair Witch Project for having “deeper meanings”.

Since TCSM’s release, the location used as Leatherface’s family’s house has been changed completely: it is now an open field, with no indication that there was ever a house that used to be there. The house itself has been relocated and restored completely. It now operates as the Junction House Restaurant on the grounds of the Antlers Hotel at 1010 King Street in Kingsland, Texas.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has had three sequels, a remake, a prequel to the remake, a sequel that ignored the other sequels, and a prequel to the original to be released in 2017. None have ever managed to capture the original TCSM’s true strengths. There’s something primeval about the original TCSM that simply can never be recaptured.

It is completely legitimate to say that had TCSM and Leatherface never come around, films like Black ChristmasHalloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street would never have existed.

It’s a pity that Tobe Hooper never directed anything as good ever again. He came close with ‘Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist, and Body Bags, but he has never made a movie quite like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

By the way, I showed my brother this film. He loved it, and found it to be really creepy.

It’s been a fun ride this past year writing these reviews for you. I’ve had ups and downs, but I have never regretted doing this. My reviews may be popping up less often, as I am about to head off to BYU-I to study music education. But I will be trying with all my might to regularly update this blog for your enjoyment.

Well, that’s one year and seventy reviews in the can. And here’s to another and seventy more.

On this day of reflection, I thank God and all of you for coming on this journey with me.

Happy New Year. God bless.

Final Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars.

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