Texas Chainsaw Massacre review.

July 15, 2008 at 2:23 am (movies) (, , , )

I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies as of late, and there’s a DVD shop I found recently which has all these older ones on DVD. So I rented three. Would have gotten more, but my dad made me put them back so he could rent things like Robin Williams Live On Broadway. Because who wouldn’t want to see that for two hours? Anyway, I want to review those three. First up, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: I was expecting this to be only scary. It was scary, like when he put that girl on the hook or when he was chasing Sally around through the dead trees. I liked how unrelenting the sound was in that chase scene, the chainsaw or her screaming never stopped. It kept going on and on and on and on for ages… I think that’s a better choice than to make everything quiet for thirty seconds in order to try and elicit a jump scare. And including a creepy house [or some other building, if it’s done well] is always good to scare me, although I don’t think that was as frightening as it could have been. Even in that room with all the bones, I could have done without spending five minutes on close-ups of them all, it was overkill. Still, it worked in some of the other scenes. The other thing that was really frightening was the old guy. He looks like a corpse, and I thought he was one until he started squirming while sucking her blood. Finding out he was alive was quite a shock, most scary part in the whole movie for me.

 

So here’s what I wasn’t expecting. Apart from being scary, it was also quite funny and awesome. Like, Leatherface and his family? Funny and awesome. So very, very funny and awesome. It’s ‘cause they’re so weird. They’re weird in a funny and awesome way. For example, putting icons of horror history in an old lady wig and having them cooking and talking in a high voice while still wearing their mask made of other people’s faces. That’s something you might see in a spoof looking for a cheap laugh, but rarely do you see this kind of stuff in the freaking source material. But he still works later on when they want him to be scary again. The hitchiker’s scene was so great as well, he kept doing stuff like slicing his own hand or lighting things on fire – while doing the hillbilly laugh – as the group got increasingly freaked out.

 

Then there’s the after-dinner scene. They decide they should stop messing around and kill Sally already, by smashing her head in with a hammer. And Gramps, who can barely move remember, should do the killing. So Leatherface gets a big metal tub and sets it in front of Gramps’ chair. Hillbilly hitchhiker unties her and pulls her over to kneel over the tub. She’s struggling, but can’t break his hold. Leatherface carefully places the hammer so it’s upright in Gramps’ hand. Gramps drops it. Leatherface picks it up and carefully places it so it’s upright in Gramps’ hand. Gramps drops it. Leatherface picks it up and carefully places it so it’s upright  in Gramps’ hand. Gramps drops it. By this stage, it has ceased to be scary and become funny. By the fifth time, it was hilarious. By the ninth time, it was so uproariously hilarious my mum came in to see what was going on. Eventually, with Leatherface guiding his arm, he gets a hit in…  Right before she finally gets away from the hitchhiker and runs off. Poor Gramps just can’t catch a break.

 

It’s really unfortunate that the remake decided to cut all of this stuff and tone the family’s wackiness way down. How much more enjoyable would that have been?

 

This movie had some damn good acting. The girl playing Sally gave a very convincing performance, and the character reacted to the situation as I imagine someone would realistically react. You know how in a lot of slasher movies the lead just doesn’t seem as scared as they should be? Not here, the writers and actress went all out, and it turned out really well. Props to them. The other standout here was the hillbilly hitchhiker. He helped make him such a wonderfully odd character. Like his strange earnest laughter and grin or his half-jumping half-dancing around when they kicked him out of the van. You know what would be awesome? A fake reality show where he went on a road trip with Torgo from “Manos” The Hands Of Fate, hitting bars, hopelessly attempting to flirt, going to LA. It would be legendarily epic.

 

+ The group’s freaked-out faces in the hitchhiker scene were great, they made that scene even more enjoyable. My favourite was Kirk’s wimpy face when the guy cut open his palm, it was like a scared little puppy. Say it with me – awwwwww.

 

+ In that scene where Sally tries to get help at the gas station, the guy tells her they can’t call the police because there’s no phone. As he says this, the wide shot shows there is, in fact, a blue phone on the wall behind them. It’s not pointed out or anything, it’s just subtly there, and when watching it I figured it was either a big mistake or a clever little reveal that he’s evil. Clever little reveal!

+ Points to Sally for immedietly figuring out what was going on when he came back in holding a sack and a rope and grabbing a big knife.

– Points taken away from Sally for being beaten up with a straw broom head despite being armed with the big knife.

+ Sally makes a habit of jumping through windows. Cool.

– Maybe I’m missing something, and correct me in the comments if I am, but when Sally and the truck driver got in the truck, why not just drive off? It would be safer than climbing out the other side and trying to run away.

+ However, the truck driver was pretty cool. He attacked a chainsaw wielding maniac with a wrench. And won.

+ Insane laughter while covered in blood is always fun.

+ And to end it, Leatherface dances with his chainsaw. Awesome.

 

ETA: How could I forget this bit? It was one of my favourite parts. So, after the third person has gone inside the group and gotten dismembered, Leatherface goes over to the window, looks out really frantically for a few seconds, then sits down with his head in his hands. He’s all “Where are all these people coming from? Are there any more? Ohh, man. Damn kids are really stressing me out.” Snerk. Makes me wonder if he’s maybe just extremely territorial.

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3 Comments

  1. maxieg18 said,

    For me, the only problem with this movie is Marilyn Burns’s performance as Sally. She had her moments of good acting but I felt like at times when she was trying to display emotion, she was forcing it out. For example, when she is laughing in the end, I could easily tell that it was not a real laugh. I could tell she was ‘acting’. You can even see it in her eyes.

    Other than that, this movie felt very real and it was scary as hell. I love the soundtrack – so terrifying, like nothing you’ll ever hear in another horror film.

  2. missbittens said,

    I didn’t mind about the laugh. It didn’t sound natural but then I got the impression that she was having a temporary mental breakdown a little bit, so the laughter would be weird.

    My favourite bit of music was the banjo-y song that was playing when they had the hitchhiker. Added to the hillbilly feel, and I liked how it was so relaxed and carried on being so relaxed as the guy freaked everyone the hell out.

  3. maxieg18 said,

    Yeah, I guess what you said about the laugh is true.

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