So, I’ve said before in previous posts that I find that horror movies nowadays have lost their touch in terms of fear factor. In other words, they bore me to tears (literally, I fell asleep watching Conjuring 2). It was cool to watch horror movies when I was younger. I remember my mom sneaking my brother and me to the theatre to watch The Grudge or any of the Saw films and going to school the next day telling my friends during recess all about the stuff they were not allowed to see yet; making me feel cool and grown up in the process. But as the years go by, I kept seeing the same formula over and over again. And that’s when repetitive becomes a great issue for me with these types of movies.
Of course, there were some innovative movies that created a new sub-genre such as Paranormal Activity popularizing the found footage in horror. However, movies that would proceed it would end up desensitizing me from the overexposure. So for Horror Week, I’m going back to the films that made me feel anxious, yet terrified. I want to have those feelings again when your heart is about to explode in your chest from the rapid beating. I want my eyes to pop out and my breath to suddenly halt. I want to yell at my screen but cover my mouth with both hands. I watched a particular classic slasher film that made me feel and do all of those, and it’s called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Yup, this movie scared the shit out of me. Do you know why? It’s because of that hideous monstrosity known as Leatherface! I mean it’s one thing to use a chainsaw to maim your victims, but you got to be one fucked up individual to stitch together other people’s skin and wear it as a mask (Thanks, Ed Gein). He doesn’t even have to do anything. Just the sight alone will make me want to cover my eyes. Even though it was the second time seeing this film, when he appeared onscreen I screamed a bit. I was fully aware of when he would pop out but it still got me. Damn you Leatherface!
Just based on the first film alone, we know nothing about Leatherface and how he became this horrific monster. This was smart of the creators of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as it drew viewers to watch the next set of sequels and remakes to further understand the character and the story surrounding his messed up family.
However, besides the antagonist and his brutal murders, I didn’t care too much about the movie. The plot was generic as it told a typical story of a group of friends traveling to an abandoned homestead in a small isolated town. I also felt that the beginning took way too long which forced the group of friends to converse in unnecessary and uninteresting dialogue. Which brings me to my next point.
The acting was hot garbage, plain and simple. Putting Leatherface aside, no one stood out. Actually, I take that back. The one character that annoyed me the most, to the point where I became saddened Leatherface didn’t kill was Sally, played by Marilyn Burns (spoiler, sorry). At first, her screams were understandable and justified, but then towards the end, it turned comical. I really wanted Leatherface to end her so the screaming would go away. But besides her screaming, the film failed to make me believe she was the primary protagonist. As the main character, you need to stand out from the rest of the cast but unfortunately, Sally was no different from the rest of those four friends; she just got lucky and survived.
There’s nothing much left to say about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I caught myself either resting my head on my arm during the boring scenes and then curling into a little ball when Leatherface appeared, watching through my hands on my face. I was either yawning or yelling at my computer saying “Do not go in that house!” At the end of the day, the film’s job was to create a grotesque man and set him on a killing spree and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre succeeded in that. It was fun to revisit this film as it reminded me of how much of a cult classic the franchise turned out to be. This film should definitely be placed in the “Mount Rushmore” of the slasher genre along with Friday the 13th, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street and is a perfect example of a horror film that does the one thing any horror film should always do, scare you.