Happy birthday Texas Chainsaw!
Today the iconic cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre turns 39, but the supposed actual events in the movie take place forty years ago today! Yep in August 18th, 1973 a small group of teenagers made the fatal mistake of going down an old deserted country road after running out of gas in Southern Texas.
Today, still feeling a little out of it (came down with a pretty nasty head cold Friday and had a high fever most of yesterday.) I decided to relax on this lovely Sunday morning before I take off for a makeup gig later on today. How am I relaxing? Well I'm watching the original Chainsaw of course!
I faintly remember my mother renting this movie for my sister and I way back in the mid 90's when we challenged her on which movies were actually scary or not. I faintly remember she started us off with the original Halloween, then moved on to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I remember being an idiot child laughing and fooling around with my sister, making fun of how dated the movie when when suddenly the iconic villain finally showed his skin masked face. All noise in that room died down within second as we were glued to the TV. Never before was I was nervous and scared when our final girl Sally was scrambling to get into the back of the truck while Leatherface chased after her with his buzzing chainsaw.
I've always been a fan of this movie simply because Hooper did something that really hadn't been done yet. Taking pieces of true stories, and weaving them into his own idea he made a gritty horrifying tale of young teens being picked off by a masked killer long before the slasher boom happened. This was the 70's, everything was gritty, dirty, and real. In fact it almost feels like you're watching a documentary when you watch this film. Now I'll admit, the chainsaw series doesn't really get as much play as it deserves. Well, at least the first three movies. I HATED the stylized remake and prequel. I mean yeah it looked beauitfuil on film, but maybe if they spend a little less time on the set design and how flashy the camera shots looked I would have rooted a little more for these characters. Also The Next Generation...yeah. I remember renting that movie when I was 10 or 11 and even then I knew it was stupid.
The original will always be a classic. What Hooper captured on such a low budget I honestly don't think you could do again. It truly was capturing lighting in a bottle.
The sequel, which came about fourteen or so years later was placed at a very odd time. It was the mid 80's and with slasher movies being pumped out one after another, villains like Jason and Freddy were getting all the play. I feel bringing Leatherface back was just another way to maybe see if some money could be made from another killer. Still, even though fans didn't really get the black comedy, and bizarre nature of the film, it gained a strong cult following and is now looked at as one of the more beloved sequels of all time in the horror community. I've always loved the sequel. The fact that Hooper returned after all these years to make a sequel so unlike the original I really have to give him props. Everything about that movie is utter perfection and deserves to be along the ranks of the original. Yeah it's not nearly as scary, but it's just as iconic.
The third movie yet again was released at a very odd time and is very underrated. With a great director fresh off The Stepfather II, this movie was filled with an amazing cast, plenty of action, and a very creepy setting. Just like part 2 the effects were amazing!
Also where else would there be a deleted scene of a very young and handsome Joe Bob Briggs getting killed!
The Next Generation was total shit and so weren't the remakes. Then just this past winter audiences were treated to something different. We got to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. A strange reboot/sequel that was a MILLION times better than the two shitty remakes. Now I know these movies don't get a lot of love. The cast was unlikeable, and the timeline was really something that pissed many of us off. I mean honestly how hard would it have been to simply make it take place int the early 90's or just cast older people. I feel these young actors brought zip to the movie. Also lots of people hated the character development of Leatherface, saying he was turned into a complete pussy. Well guess what! He was a mentally disabled, inbred scared disturbed young man. The main reason why he killed the teenagers in part one was simply because they were coming into HIS house, going on his property and scaring him. Yeah it's not justified, but after years of being taught to protect his home, he was just doing what he thought was right. I mean even after he kills some of the kids there's a scene where he looks overwhelmed and scared and sits down in his living room. To him he had to kill these people invading his home. He was simply taking care of these strangers so his family/home wouldn't be discovered and taken away. You need to remember, this was all he ever knew.
I mean in part 2 the guy saved Stretch because he has "feelings" for her and has...well if you wanna call it that, a very intimate love scene with her.
I think the direction they took his character was perfectly fine in Chainsaw 3D. I loved the opening taking place just mere moments after the original. Fans have spotted that in the opening you can see the dead truck driver from the end of the original hanging there. Also seeing Bill play the cook was a nice little Easter egg for horror fans. I liked the rich history it served and the ending. Seemed fitting since the saw after all is family.
So in closing, I feel four of these movies out of the entire series, counting sequels, remakes, and reboots are worth watching.
So happy birthday Texas Chainsaw, hope to see more of you soon.