Liz Foster ’22
Bits and Pieces Editor
Halloween has come and gone, leaving discounted candy and rotting pumpkins in its wake. Horror, however, is eternal. Beginning in 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise maintains an air tight grip on the genre. The original film expanded, as a successful horror film does, into a nine part franchise consisting of sequels, prequels, remakes, and spin-offs. Though the 2003 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a charming remake, none of the series’ entries quite compare to Tobe Hooper’s original film.
Marketed as a terrifying true story, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre boasts wide images of Texan roads and the sweet air of being a young person in the 1970s in its opening shots. We meet our vaguely charming rag-tag bunch of pals: siblings Sally and Franklin and their buddies Jerry, Kirk, and Pam on a trip to visit an old family property. A frantic hitchhiker joins, flaunting his Polaroids of the animals he’s slaughtered and cutting open his hand before next attacking Franklin. After far too long of a wait, the group throw their hitchhiker from hell out of ther van and head off to the gas station for a refill. But, remember, this is a horror movie, so there is no gas.
The group eventually end up at a house deep in the boonies of Texas, leaving them vulnerable to whoever may be there. The homeowners are revealed to include one of horror’s biggest names: Leatherface. Like Jason, Freddy, and Michael Meyers to follow, Leatherface is a headlining feature in film history’s unofficial Murderer Hall of Fame. Swinging his chainsaw about, Leatherface is a bull in a china shop with a taste for flesh. Whether cut by a saw, bludgeoned by a hammer, or impaled by a meat hook, Leatherface’s victims find themselves in the most unpleasant of ends. Add in his family of cannibals and our story’s protagonists have found themselves in between a saw and hard place. Leatherface’s chaotic chases sometimes border on comical, but most often send a shivering spine down your back.
The film’s final shots of Leatherface swinging his chainsaw are now a haunting snapshot now iconic among movie buffs. Tasteful gore allows for a more squeamish viewer to enjoy the bloody story, and moments of less-than-perfect acting portrayals turn the film towards camp. For even the uneducated horror fan, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre offers an enthralling, tight 83-minutes of madness. Next time you’re wondering what to watch for your scarefest, head down South for a real taste of fear with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.