The last couple of Octobers, son number one and I have watched a horror movie a day. It’s always a challenge to find new ones when we watch so much horror all year round. This year we’ve started early as I’m on a cruise for the last week of October.
This is not a review as such, as it’s not a new movie but my thoughts of having revisited The Texas Chainsaw Massacre years after I first watched it (although I didn’t watch it when it first came out because I’m not that old! And nearly 40, I am obviously feeling sensitive after my age!). There may also be spoilers ahead!
The story line is straight forward and one that has now been done to death. Five teenagers go in and one comes out, much like the Thunderdome. There’s a family of cannibals with the most memorable being Leather Face, because he wears a human skin mask.
I’ve seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre before and the remake but son number one hasn’t and obviously wanted to as it’s one of those cult films that everyone has heard of. It has that allure of a movie that was once banned. It had to be terrifying right? One of his first comments was where is all the gore? Good point, the imagination is so much more effective than having it delivered to you on a plate. We’re gored out these days. That dosent really work on a teenager, he wants blood, guts and chainsaw action.
I think he appreciated my comment being one of the things I love about the film is the visual aspect of it. The lighting is ominous, in turn bright but shadowy. My son complained “Why does everyone always go into the house?”. In Wrong Turn, this is a good question when the house referred to it a stinking ominous shack. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre the front of the house gives nothing away, it looks maybe a little weathered but ultimately respectable. It’s not a place that you expect Leather Face to reside.
Because I’m a geek I have read the background trivia of the film so second time around I’m more aware of when Leather Face is slowing down to let the leading lady run ahead and when her injuries are genuine. This in turn both adds and subtracts from my viewing experience.
Unfortunately watching a film with my son soon turns into goggle-box and we’re provided with a humorous backtrack. He did make some good points, like why does Leather face carve up his own door, did he not have a key? There was also the point about the lorry driver, a few scratches on his door prevented him from driving off so they got out the other side. Where did he go after? He just ran off down the road.
Watching the movie has made me realise how much this film has influenced other horror movies. There is also some fantastic analysis of the movie out there that is worth looking up.
To me a good horror film stays in my mind. It is when someone mentions it and it brings to mind evocative imagery and feelings. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre brings to mind that blaring red sun and the potential of violence with the world slowly in decay. It obviously dated now but to me still holds up to horrors of today and in fact surpasses many as it doses not need visceral gore to deliver the scares.