Movie Mini-Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Movie Mini-Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Since I first saw it back in college, my absolute favorite horror film in the whole wide universe has been the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I love this movie so much I want to have its babies, so I’m pretty much incapable of reviewing it in any self-respecting manner. So for this iconic, bright and shining piece of brilliance, please permit me to lapse into fan boy mode.

Oh, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

I love that you’re an unrelenting free fall into madness. I love that your first half is mysterious and suspenseful, and that your second half is hysterically macabre. I love how your 16mm film stock lends a raw, documentary feel. I love your locations, from the graveyard and the old gas station to the farmhouse from hell. I love Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, and Gunnar Hansen as your bizarre, murderous family. I love the stamina and commitment of Marilyn Burns, who screams for at least thirty whole minutes. I love your elegant dolly shots, especially the one that slides under the swing in the front yard. I love that your sound design functions as music score. I love that when something ghastly is about to happen, we hear swine squealing. I love that your closeups that are so extreme I can see the veins in people’s eyes. I love the dead armadillo on the road. I love the thick nest of daddy longlegs. I love the bone sculptures. I love how William Vail goes into spasms after he’s hit in the head. I love how Teri McMinn tries to pull herself off the meathook. I love how distraught Leatherface gets when kids keep invading his home. I love that he keeps a chicken in a small cage. I love that he wears a woman’s face when he cooks the meals. I love the wicked glee Jim Siedow exudes as he beats Marilyn with the broomstick. I love Grandpa, especially when he writhes like a baby sucking blood from Marilyn’s finger. I love that the more she screams, the more she gets mocked and laughed at. I love her escape. I love that after all is said and bloody done, she’s laughing hysterically in the back of that truck, while Leatherface dances with his chainsaw in the middle of the open road.

But what I love most of all about you, you sexy, nasty thing… is that no matter how many times I see you, you leave me breathless and inspired.

Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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