An Uneasy Feeling in Texas: Thoughts on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

October 19, 2016

 

 

Horror. My first love of a genre. I read Stephen King’s Cujo when I was 8 years old. The cover intrigued me while I was snooping through my parents’ bookcase. The cover even made me uneasy, before I knew it, that was what I craved most when it came to horror. That pure, uneasy feeling. The voluntary loss of comfort.

 

​My niche when it comes to horror has always been the slasher sub-genre. I couldn’t tell you honestly if it was the gore, the outright campiness or its gratuitous nature in general. A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of my first favorites, followed by Friday the 13th which ultimately became my go-to for years to come. It wasn’t until I was close to becoming a teenager that I finally discovered a horror film that once again brought me back to that uneasy place that I so very graciously volunteered to traverse: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

From the opening of the film (voiced by a young, uncredited John Larroquette), a journey is set in motion that is, in no small words, a sensory overload. The sounds of old camera shutters snapping pictures, the slow pan and zooms that have the most slight unnatural feeling, the scenes that seem void of sound until one trivial noise is personified, to the very real and discomforting dialogue prior to our group's arrival at the dilapidated farmhouse followed by their latter fate. While watching this film it becomes apparent that most scenes, how they’re framed, shot and executed (no pun intended), will leave you wondering if they were indeed intentional or just a beautiful mash-up of low budget (mind you; shot for less than $300k), inexperienced actors and a hefty emphasis on not only the soundtrack but the sounds and visuals that accompanied each scene. Almost every scene in this film feels genuine and natural.

 

The first few times I watched this movie it became abundantly clear why it intrigued me so much. This film is the grandfather of the slasher genre. The timing, the placement, the group of young twenty something's, the relentless, unstoppable killer. ​Any movie can invoke at least a feeling or two, here or there, but for one supremely unexpected film to hit every mark again and again until its absolute, abrupt ending there is no wonder why this film has solidified itself in the annals of American history.

Can you hear that generator?

 

 

Michael Vierra

 

He can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop... ever, until you watch more movies!

 

 

 

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