There are some films, and more specifically some particular scenes, that stick with you long after the credits have rolled and the story has finished. The ‘Baptism by Fire’ scene in The Godfather is an obvious example, as is the final scene in The Planet of the Apes. Even smaller and fairly weak films have that occasional moment of brilliance, an example being the truck scene in Nicholas’s Cage recent vehicle Drive Angry. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has one of these scenes.
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 independent film directed by Toby Hooper. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, and Gunnar Hansen, who respectively portray Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface, the main antagonist. The story has reached somewhat of legend status among horror fans, and movies fans in general. The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. Leatherface, inspired by real life serial killer Ed Gein, is an icon of the horror genre, and this movie is credit with setting the foundation for the later to develop slasher genre. Unlike most slasher movies that would eventually grace the silver screen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an undoubtedly unsettling flick, filled with nightmare inducing characters and exploitation overtones.
Leatherface, wielding his trusty chainsaw, might have become the poster boy, but the whole family is terrifying in their own right. Actually it would go as far as to say that the proprietor is the most frightening of all characters, simply because he looks and acts mostly normal when we meet him. He is the most dangerous member of the family, the person that you would sit next to on the bus because he looks ‘ordinary’. The hitchhiker is also a terrifying character and the scene where they pick him up to give him a lift is a memorable one to say the least.
As bodies start to be torn to pieces, and the hell that our protagonist find themselves in makes itself 100% clear, we are treated to a landmark scene in horror. The ‘dinner’ scene, where one of our teenagers is tied to a chair and forced to interact with the family, as Leatherface dressed as a woman serves dinner. It’s one of the most unsettling scenes ever recorded.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not very everyone. It’s a haunting and terrifying experience, a movie that was banned in a majority of countries when released, and only the true horror fans should give this movie a try.