the texas chainsaw massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Year: 1974
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Written By: Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here we have reached the creme de la creme of horror flicks. A true classic that should have never been sullied by a remake or multiple spin offs. This movie didn’t need to be remade but simply re-released because the screams would have continued. The blood may have run more red in the remake but there hasn’t been enough advancement in film to recreate what this movie accomplished.

2003’s version offered plenty of bells and whistles but it couldn’t bring the fear like this one did. This movie is about more than a crazy guy wielding a chainsaw and that’s one of the immediate places it is better. Yes Leatherface is in action here, killing the shit out of anybody he encounters, but for me it really gets scary when the damsel in distress is “rescued” by the father. She escapes the metal teeth of the chainsaw only to be bagged and gagged by the sire of the bloodshed.

The remake put all the focus on Leatherface himself but in this movie he is just one of the group. Albeit the one that does the most killing but also the one who cowers in fear when his father scolds him. As crazy and sadistic as the father is he is “just a cook” and the off the hinges brother may take take the cake. He sets the tone in the beginning of the film being eerily and then violently crazy as a hitchhiker the group picks up. That scar across his face makes him more menacing but he doesn’t sit at the top of the crazy food chain. That spot goes to the seemingly dead grandpa who will wake up for a bit of blood sucking and killing.

The grandpa might not have the strength to physically do the killing anymore but with a little help from crazy junior he gives it his best go. The dinner scene is entirely missing from the remake and I think that is really where it failed. The dinner scene is the scariest part of the movie by far. I love the close up shots of the eye as the poor girl freaks out over the situation. She’s tied to a chair with actual arms on it and a dead looking geezer is sucking blood from her finger. Absolutely terrifying and nothing in the remake comes close.

There is so much more to say about this movie but I started this review a week ago and sat on it too long. Soon as Stranger Things 2 dropped Amber and I suddenly had no free time left. So a day late and a dollar short here is what I’ll close out the horror month with. A weak effort that started but never finished. Maybe I’ll revisit this movie next Halloween and give it another go. For now, here’s the movie you should have watched a week ago, it’s worth your time and worth your fear.

 

 

 

 

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Year: 2003
Directed By: Marcus Nispel
Written By: Scott Kozer, based on the original screenplay by Tobe Hopper and Kim Henkel

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie gets props on a few points but loses by stealing the name of a true classic. It may be called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but I like to think of it as Tank Top City starring the bouncing Jessica Biel as she runs and screams for an hour and a half. In this movie Biel runs where there shouldn’t even be room to run. Just a seemingly never ending series of long hallways in which the villain knows all the shortcuts. Not that I’m complaining, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half and what a terrific midriff Biel has to bottom out her tank top. However I don’t think this movie should be associated with the original. You got a guy in a skin mask wielding a chainsaw with some real crazies to support him but other than that the only similarity is in the name.

In fact those crazies are where I really think this movie gets the props I mentioned to start off with. It’s always a pleasure to see R Lee Ermy on screen and he really thrives in this intimidating role. The whole family is terrifying in their crass way about violence but Ermy is the gem that shines in this movie. Ermy has a way with profanity; it’s made him famous. I mean he’s no Joe Pesci or Billy Bob Thorton, but he has a way that sets him apart. Being a real life badass, Ermy has never had a hard time letting his wilder side loose on camera.

I watched this movie without seeing the original when it first came out; I think I was 18 or 19 at the time. Oh how young and foolish I was as I liked it quite a bit and added it into my baby movie collection in the beginning. It would probably be another ten years before I saw the original and realized how silly this one really was. I hate that studios think they can simply turn up the volume on something classic and cash in on name recognition. This movie is for people just as I was when it came out, young and dumb. An entertained fool bedazzled by the special effects and the boundaries pushed on violence and gore.

We’ll put a hottie on screen and make her run down never ending corridors. We’ll crank up the violence and add more body parts. We’ll even throw the head of a big time fan into the background. The youth of America, the world even, will tune in and we’ll make big time money. More chainsaw plus little tank top to the power of bouncing Biel boobs equals success! This line of thinking is sad in the reality of movie making because it happens far too often and simply sullies the memory of something great. Take me for example, I saw this movie and never bothered with the original.  I even liked this movie enough to add it to the collection at a 2003 high price for the special edition DVD. Such is the unfortunate decision making that goes on in Hollywood, particularly too when it comes to horror flicks.

I do feel the need to touch on one other thing before I close this out and this is simply for the people in the mode I was when I first saw and became enamored with this film. This movie lies, as they all do, there was no real Texas chainsaw massacre and there was no real leatherface. Certainly there have been horrible things in Texas before but nothing along the lines of what is claimed to have been true in this movie. Leatherface, like many famous movie serial killers, is a combination of others. Mainly Ed Gein, who would grave rob and make things from human material. Purportedly making a face mask on occasion that he would wear around his property. He didn’t do anything with a chainsaw but I don’t know why anybody would. It’s a really dangerous and problematic weapon to use. I know it’s often been used as a weapon in movie lore but in real life it’s a power tool that can dismember you with one careless move. Not to mention the cumbersome nature of the thing and trying to carry it around, much less chase really fit teens with it.

I can think of a few scenarios where this movie would be worth your time. Mainly if you’re looking to “Netflix and chill” this is a great one for the background. Other scenarios involve…nothing, I can think of no other scenarios in which this movie is worth your time. It is Halloween and I suppose you could do worse in choosing a horror flick to pass the time with but I would really suggest you go all out and just watch the original. This movie isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be but it is definitely nothing exceptional. I think it all depends on what you’re looking for as to whether or not it is worth your time.