: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
In honor of the date, I guess, the Independent Film Channel has a weekend of classic horror movies. I’d never seen this one, but decided to watch it. I’m not really a fan of the slasher genre (except for the satiric or parodic); I generally find “horror” movies more funny than scary. This film, I must admit, was scary. I watched part of an IFC documentary on horror films later and director John Landis’ comment about Chainsaw got it right. To paraphrase: “With a director like Hitchcock, you’re in suspense knowing there’s a master in control. With Chainsaw, you’re quickly aware there’s a maniac in control and you don’t know what to think. Anything can happen.” The cold brutality of the killings was startling. Without the gore and endless fake scares so typical of most slasher films, the deaths are truly unnerving. For instance, in one scene the bad guy (Leatherface) calmly picks up the screaming girl and sticks her on a meat hook. She’s dangling there for several minutes, helpless, screaming horribly, while he goes about the business of using a chainsaw to cut up her boyfriend. Nice. The climactic finale is almost a black comedy: watching the ancient grandfather feebly attempting to club the screaming girl and repeatedly dropping the hammer is maddening. You want to scream, “Hurry up and kill her and get it over with!” until you realize what you are thinking, and then you feel guilty. Not an easy movie to watch; it’s truly disturbing, and even after all these years is still easily a breakthrough film. Remarkable.