Monday, October 17, 2016

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Sally, her brother Franklin, and three of her friends (Jerry, Kirk, and Pam) go to investigate reports of vandalism on her grandfather's grave. On the way, they decide to visit their old family home, but never make it there. They stop for gas and stumble upon a house in the middle of nowhere looking for gas. That unassuming house contains a deranged, cannibalistic, inbred family who delight in murder and mayhem.

This iconic film is known as one of the scariest films ever made and I love it. So many moments are memorable. The first scene with Leatherface still scares me when he charges out of his room, beats Kirk with a hammer, grabs him, and slams the metal door shut with a deafening clang. It happens so fast and brutally that you almost don't believe your eyes. A little later, Pam tries to escape, but Leatherface drags her back into the house in broad daylight. Horror often takes place at night and this movie makes it clear that daylight isn't safe. What follows that is the brutal meat hook scene that doesn't really show you anything, but seems like it showed everything.

The best part of the film is Leatherface. Even though his family is deranged and cannibalistic, he remains the most memorable of the group. Many consider him devoid of personality, but I disagree. Michael Meyers has no emotions or personality. Leatherface simply doesn't speak, but he telegraphs his emotions in other ways. He has this strange duality about him. On one hand, he's a huge monster of a man, capable of killing pretty much anyone. On the other hand, fear drives him. He's scared of both his family because of their abuse and strangers because of the danger they bring. I feel a bit sorry for him because he's treated badly by pretty much anyone. The infamous chainsaw "dance" scene at the end of the film shows his frustration in an unexpected, almost beautiful way. I want to know more of his story.

Sally is the quintessential final girl who elicits our sympathy by generally being innocent, running around, and screaming. While her performance isn't the best throughout the entire film, her scene at the very end is amazing. She escapes on a truck thanks to a kind stranger and escapes Leatherface and then laughs maniacally and uncontrollably as she's driven away, covered in blood. This scene truly captures the plight of the final girl. She survived, but at what cost? All of her friends and her brother are dead and she has to live with the horrors she has seen.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an amazing film that is still feared by audiences today. It's one of the films that helped originate the slasher genre and spawned one of the most famous villains of all time. The film does have a few flaws, but they are insignificant in the face of all of its successes. If you haven't seen it, take the plunge and tell yourself "it's only a movie."

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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