Every once in awhile there comes a film that defines a new era in horror and in 1974 that movie was “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
This movie is about five teens, mainly Sally Hardest and her brother Franklin, who are on the road to visit their grandfather’s grave. Along the way they come across a demented hitchhiker, a roadside gas station that sells the best BBQ in town, and an old family farmhouse, which is where the terror begins for the unfortunate teens.
There are scenes in this movie that are just downright classic. Especially the first kill scene with Leatherface, Pam’s introduction to the bone room, and of course the wondrous dinner scene near the end. All of the scenes are well known and yet they still send shivers down my spine even after multiple viewings.
Where “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” shines is atmosphere. The low budget documentary style really works to give this film a truly terrifying feel of despair. The music and the sound effects are also a highlight. Although not too complex, the sound effects and music add another layer of creepiness to this movie. The overall atmosphere is what all the sequels and remakes lack, which is what I truly believe is “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s” strongest aspect.
There are also some issues with the film as well. With the exception of the hitchhiker at the beginning of the film, the acting performances leave a lot to be desired. In particular Franklin’s performance can be comical at times, which takes away from the overall grittiness of the film.
All in all “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is the quintessential horror movie. To be a fan of horror and to have not seen this film would be a travesty. It is a must see even for the casual fan because not only did it lay the ground work for what we view as horror today, but it also proved that you can make a horror with a low budget and limited gore very disturbing. I’m very disappointed that this movie spawned five sequels and remakes. Like the Blair Witch Project, this type of movie only works once and it shouldn’t be continued, recreated, or duplicated. There is only one “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”