The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Review
1974 saw the debut of what must now be considered as something of a landmark horror flick. Banned in many countries, this 30 year-old Tobe Hooper directed film still retains both affection and disdain in equal measures for the many who have seen it. Love it or loathe it, it is nothing less than fair to say that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an instantly recognisable title through word of mouth notoriety alone.
Loosely based on a true incident, the story follows the “fortunes” of a small group of travelling teenagers. After picking up (and subsequently ejecting) a roadside hiker who turns out to be slightly disturbed, our group find themselves at an isolated house. The occupants, a slightly odd family, including the now legendary Leatherface waste no time whatsoever introducing themselves in a less than friendly manner.
This for me is a film of several facets. Firstly it has the amateurish feel and look, of many of the nastier films of the age. The dialogue is hardly satisfying, which in part is (for me) the “fault” of the no-name cast. Similarly, I felt the camera work was, for the most part laughably crude. Yet it contains moments of extreme violence that still retains that explicit shock factor. Even today I still wince when the first victim receives a hammer blow from Leatherface. Where I feel it succeeds is in its no compromise approach. There is no explanation given for the reason or cause of the actions of Leatherface, nor is there the usual gratifying ending. It is simply the story of a nightmare situation that is beyond any civilised comprehension. It is what it is, take it or leave it. Although not one of my absolute favourites of the genre, in my opinion it rightly deserves the notoriety and classic status to which it is attached.