27 April 2010

Ally's Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

For the first of my retrospective reviews, I picked a film that we watched last season. I had seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre only once before, as I was incredibly reluctant to ever watch it again. On second viewing though I realised just how amazing a film it really was. Because I knew what was coming I was able to appreciate the film in a different way (i.e. I wasn’t covering my eyes for 70% of it). A while back we all listed our favourite films from Horror Club and my choice was obvious, this had to be number one.

There have been films that I have enjoyed watching more (Let the right one in, for example) and films that have just about scared me more (House of the Devil) but when thinking about which film was the best example of utilising all the aspects that make Horror such a unique genre, I found myself picking this classic.

Simply put, this film is a real assault on the eyes and ears. Nearly every shot and sound is used to further unsettle the viewer. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable watch. Many noises are unpleasant, the cast are ugly, grimy and sweaty, car headlights shine directly in your eyes. It may sound like a strange reason to think this film is superb – but this is what watching a horror movie is all about. A horror movie should terrify you, unsettle you, keep you on edge... that’s why we love/hate the experience. Texas Chainsaw Massacre does this better than any film before or since, in my book.

There are unbelievable scenes of tension that seem to last for hours. Scenes that will disgust and horrify you. Even the bliss of escape in the manic final moments will leave you feeling totally disturbed. Everything about this film is engineered to make the viewer feel uneasy and/or terrified from beginning to end.

This film has been imitated many times but none have come close to it. For the record, I don’t consider it a Slasher movie in the same way as, say, Halloween. This is a different sort of horror movie (I’m not really sure how it should be catogorised). It’s like these poor teenagers wandered into a hellish alternate world that seems to makes no sense (surely no family could be that evil?!), and yet it’s so gritty and relentless it feels as real as any movie out there.

A truly visceral experience, unlike any other. The crème de la crème of horror.


  1. Quite right. How about Terror Horror, that or GBH as you feel like you've been assaulted afterwards?


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