"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a vile piece of sick crap...It is a film with literally nothing to recommend it: nothing but a hysterically paced slapdash , imbecile concoctions of cannibalism, voodoo, astrology, sundry hippie-esque cults, and unrelenting sadistic
violence as extreme and hideous as a complete lack of imagination can possibly make it".
Harper's, November 1976
So you may be asking yourself, " why put up such a negative review of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"? Sure I could have posted a positive review, but it wouldn't help to demonstrate the power of this film. Koch's review so exquisitely illustrates the evident foundations of this film (i.e. cannibalism, sadists, etc). He saw the film "THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE" without actually seeing the film. The title flashed up on the screen and his mind went blank. The next thing he remembered was leaving the theater with a mess in his pants. Koch went in with blinders for this film and they lead him down the misguided path of this review.
Well, enough of that on with the page. I was just about to start my freshman year of college and over the summer had purchased my first VCR. Just before I left for school, I had begun to slowly work my way through every horror title at my local video store. Before video my horror viewing had been limited to a double dose on Saturday afternoon of "Creature Double Feature" or if I could stay up "Saturday Night Dead". A few years early my parents had gotten cable, but a majority of the day's horror rarely showed up on cable and when it did it was so watered down that I hardly knew it was suppose to be scary. Also, the nearest theater was about 20 miles away, so I rarely made it there. I still considered myself a horror fan, even thought my experience was limited to bad 50's and 60's horror flicks and watching the Universal classics about a million times.
Off I went to school. In this strange new environment, I was scared shitless and homesick, horror was my security blanket. It was right around Halloween when my school was running a theme week of horror in the video theater. As I looked at the schedule, I saw a listing for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I had heard people talk about how scary this movie was, so I marked my calendar. When I saw this movie, I knew I was really hooked, horror would always be my first love. I saw TCM everyday during that week. What an awesome movie.
It is a one of the scariest movie ever made. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who hasn't seen it or who wants to get into horror, plus all horror fans, go re-visit this classic again and see if you don't piss your pants. E-mail me.
The story begins with five innocent kids on their way to checkout reports of grave robbing. As Sally, (Marilyn Burns) her invalid brother Franklin, and three friends head out to inspect the gravesite of her family, they are soon side tracked on the ultimate journey of terror. One by one, they wander into the murderous clutches of Leatherface and his trusty chainsaw. The poster reads: "Who will survive and what will be left of them?" In this case, not much, and what is...well, becomes the main course.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the quintessential horror movie of all time, and along with "Night of the Living Dead" and "The Exorcist" helped establish the modern era of horror. Gunnar Hansen's performance as Leatherface would eventually serve as the prototype for many of the slashers of the late 70's and early 80's. Daniel Pearl's magical cinematography helped capture the tension of the moment and transfer the fear to the audience. The atmosphere was accented by a well-placed, spooky soundtrack co-composed by Tobe Hooper, echoing the screams of Sally's terror. This movie is definitely not for the weak, although by today's standards it's not as controversial as when it was original released in 1974.