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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
1974 - R - Mins.
Director: Tobe Hooper
Producer: Tobe Hooper
Written By: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Gunnar Hansen, Ed Neal, Allen Danzinger
Review by: John Ulmer
   
I particularly like one scene in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," in which a bewildered teenaged girl flees for her life, running from a madman yielding a chainsaw, known to the audience in later years as the infamous "Leatherface." The girl screams at the top of her lungs, trying to escape the grasp of ol' Leatherface, who is only a few feet behind her. Suddenly, however, in a wide shot, he is twenty feet behind her. Then in another, he is two feet behind her.

This is just one of the many plot/shot inconsistencies on an infinite list for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Another particularly delightful mistake is in which a paralyzed-with-fear truck driver flees for his life from Leatherface, only to disappear in later shots. We assume the man has continued running down the highway he and his truck were upon, but we must ask ourselves as the credits draw to an end, why didn't he just drive away in his truck?

Of course, this is what makes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" so fun and charming. It is an odd little film, but it is more humorous than anything. I suppose the beginning, in which a band of teenagers travel into Texas and come upon a slaughterhouse occupied by the infamous Leatherface, is supposed to be scary. The teenagers, entering the spooky house, disappear one-by-one. Their untimely death is, apparently, supposed to send chills up the audience's spine. But it doesn't. It more or less amuses the audience.

The teenagers in this film exceed the stupidity of teenagers from other horror flicks.

Take, for example, the scene where the teenagers all disappear inside the slaughterhouse. The first teen goes in, and doesn't return. So instead of teaming up and going to look for the missing teenager, the dumb individuals (if you can even call them that) decide to go in one-by-one and search for what becomes missing others. No luck! They keep on dying, one-by-one, and we just know the guy in the wheelchair is going to get it.

How this film became a horror hit is beyond me. Perhaps a comedy, but a horror? The film seems like it was made by amateur filmmakers on a personal camcorder, and it wouldn't surprise me if director/producer Tobe Hooper did, in fact, film it on a camcorder. It makes the shakiness of "The Blair Witch Project" look like "Citizen Kane."

Tobe Hooper has a taste for odd, disturbing films, it seems. Just look at the "dinner scene" in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and the characters and the filming techniques (i.e. zooming in on the eye until it makes the viewer sick).

I guess to really call this a classic horror film you have to be a fan of sick films, disgusting films, and fantasy films. Yes, fantasy films. The situations are fantasy-material in and of themselves. Fantasies are usually about a different world, and the laws of the earth do not apply. Well, the same is for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

In the end, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is an amusing film, but a bit too disgusting at times to be called great, and a bit too humorous at times to be called horror.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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