I generally try to wrap up each year’s festival with a true classic. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of my favorite movies and yet I haven’t watched in a while. We don’t have a better film handy for the big night so The Texas Chain Saw Massacre it is! I first saw this film at the South Park drive-in theater when it came out. In 1974. At the time I was a swinging single and I liked to go to the drive-in on a first date. It was the perfect way to get to know each other while providing an excuse for going out. Unfortunately The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was so scary that my date practically jumped out of the car every time I tried to make a move.
It’s 1974, a mere 5 years after Captain America and Billy were gunned down while driving through the south in Easy Rider. Long haired teens were making an effort to avoid going to redneck areas. Then along comes The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and a van load of sweaty hippies are driving around a remote part of Texas. They encounter a really weird looking hitchhiker who totally freaks them out. The teens stop at a gas station that is “out of gas”. The owner is shifty looking and advises them not to go where they are headed. Eventually they find the abandoned farm house they were looking for. Unfortunately, it’s located right next door to a house full of bizarre looking ghouls.
There’s a lot to like about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It definitely fed on the fears of city dwellers toward creepy looking backwoods types living in cluttered run down houses. After a slow up suspenseful buildup, Leatherface jumps out, hits a guy with a hammer, pulls the body in and slams the door shut. Talk about making an entrance! After that the action is nonstop, gross and scary. None of the hippies are particularly likable and I practically cheered when the guy in the wheel chair got it. He complained too much so it was kind of a relief.
The original Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are the two scariest low budget movies ever made. Neither featured any big name actors yet the performances in both films were unforgettable. Both films seemed really gory yet had very cheap special effects that could easily be replicated. There’s just a certain outlandish factor that gets lost when the same filmmakers are given a big budget. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is proof that the KISS principal of software development also applies to films, if you want scary … Keep It Simple Stupid.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre