The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (R) - 1974 - Runtime: 83 minutes
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen
Director: Tobe Hooper
This movie still gives me chills thinking about it. I actually was hesitant to watch this knowing full well that it might seep into my brain and stay there until I have awful nightmares. But I boldly stepped up and decided to watch this, albeit on a sunny afternoon before I went to work so that I could be distracted afterwards. To my surprise, this was one of the scariest, deeply scarring horror movies that I've seen in a long time.
Don't be fooled by the posters, this movie is not based on any real events. That doesn't detract from the horror that ensues, but makes me feel at little bit better about the human race. Because the movie depicts a whole family dedicated to serial killing and cannibalism. The story is simple, as most horror stories go: a bunch of students in Texas decide to tour some old family haunts. They stumble upon an abandoned house and farmland that one of the students recalls as his family's homestead. Of course, it's not all abandoned, as a family of killers lives there, making sure that any unwanted trespassers get a decidedly gruesome end. I really am at a loss for words at how to describe the utter cover-your-eyes moments in this movie. It's a pretty brutal movie - it's not shy about showing the gore and killing. The main chainsaw-wielding maniac is shocking in his own right - wearing what seems to be a mask made of human skin. But he pales to the true horror of the rest of the family. They're all demented, but have created a pretty solid foundation for what they do, even if it's truly horrific.
While not exactly a great movie, it delivers the scares. There's a few minor quibbles, like the night chase scene where Leatherface is chasing down the lone survivor of the group (the beautiful, but clumsy blonde, who else?). It's just a long scene and is more confusing than tense, because I couldn't exactly tell where they were, nor how far apart they were from each other. But despite that, the movie is short and gets right to the point after a very, very slow start.
I've only watched a few modern horror films and nothing compares to this one. It's just so awful that you have to look away some times. It's not really gory, but the terror kind of seeps out of the TV and into your bones. It truly is bone-chilling and I was surprised by this. If you're at all in the mood for something truly scary, you cannot go wrong watching this one. Especially if you pop this in late at night with all the lights down low. I'm still terrified of that family, hopefully I can get to bed tonight.
Rating: Rent It!