Cert: 18 Runtime: 83 mins Director: Tobe Hooper Cast: Marylin Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danzinger and Gunar Hansen
The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
With the news of Leatherface 3D coming into existence, I recently watched Tobe Hoopers classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.The year is 1974. A group of five close friends are heading through the back roads of Texas en route to their grandfather’s potentially vandalized grave. Among them are Sally Hardesty (Marylin Burns), and her invalid brother Franklin. They encounter an unpleasant hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who slashes both himself & Franklin with a wicked-looking knife. The others manage to eject the hitchhiker from the vehicle, but shortly after wards, they are forced to stop & wander over to a small, sinister clapboard house nearby in hopes for gas. What none of them realize is that this house is the home of the ghoulish Leatherface (Gunar Hansen) and his evil, demented family of cannibalistic psychopaths. One at a time, the teens are murdered by the evil Leatherface in horrifying ways. Sally soon finds herself an involuntary guest at Leatherface’s home, and flees into the night to escape the demented cannibal and his loudly-buzzing chainsaw. Can she escape the grim fate that befell her friends & brother?
Tobe Hopper’s ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ is a landmark low budget horror movie which must be considered a modern classic. Hooper’s subsequent career has been extremely uneven, and frequently disappointing, but even if he never made another movie he would still be a legendary figure. As would Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and his twisted family played by Edwin Neal and Jim Siedow, and the immortal scream queen Marilyn Burns. These actors never have to set foot in front of a camera again. This movie was one of the most controversial of the 1970s, censored or banned here in Britain and Australia, and despite the hundreds of horror movies released since, it is still powerful and fresh. There is an undercurrent of bizarre black humour within the film, a lot subtler than the sequel and other more obvious “horror comedies”. The terror isn’t compromised, the uneasy giggles make the extreme images even more difficult to dismiss. Gunnar Hansen is absolutely extraordinary as Leatherface. An amazing performance with his features obscured and no real dialogue to speak of. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to compare it to Boris Karloff in the original ‘Frankenstein’. Leatherface is a horror icon, and ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ is a landmark movie that remains essential viewing for every horror buff. It’s a sensational movie that still has the power to confront, disturb and terrify audiences worldwide!