A perfect companion to the likes of Death Metal and well, Metal in general, Horror has been an essential companion to the world of worshipping the dark one. One of the finest filmmakers of his generation Tobe Hooper created a villain so iconic, so abhorrent that would stay in peoples minds for ever. Sadly, it was announced that Hooper passed away at the age of 74 but his legacy nonetheless lives on.
I remember the first time I had ever seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was the first time that I was truly introduced to the true word of “villain”. The characters, not only of Leatherface but the entire Hewitt family was one step above macabre. From the horrendous chase scenes with Marilyn Burns that would have you at the edge of your seat, to the absolutely mortifying family dinner section which truly was not for the faint of heart.
Though there might not have been a lot of gore compared to it’s more contemporary counterparts that brought forward a more shock tactic Horror style in the later instalments of the Leatherface saga. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will forever stand alone. Haunting audiences the world over, from the cold open where the camera zooms out of the rotting skeletal remains as the radio blurts out static informing of grave robberies, I mean if there ever was a way to truly horrify your audience within thirty seconds of a film starting this was it.
Unknowingly a format for what would become a blueprint for so many Horror films to take from, the entire Slasher genre could well be credited to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A bunch of nondescript teens, trespassing where they shouldn’t, ignoring the prior warnings get butchered from ear to ear. From the harrowing hitchhiker, Edwin Neal’s performance doesn’t quite always get the mention it deserves but his stalking presence induces dread and is incredibly unpredictable. To Gunnar Hansen‘s absolutely terrifying first appearance when that metal door unearth’s only the tip of the iceberg of what those five unfortunate people on that idyllic summer afternoon would encounter.
Of course the real coup de grace lies in Hooper’s vision, creating an inescapable, lumbering presence. Pitted against the agile Burns, it seems as though he was always just on her tail. Leading to one of the film’s most celebrated scenes as the final section sees Leatherface swinging his chainsaw around in anger, following the most deranged family get together you’ll ever know of. Unafraid to truly push the boundaries, Hooper went beyond what most deem horrific in turn creating an absolute monster that would haunt us all for many years to come.
Having merely $60,000 originally as their budget, Hooper’s classic preyed on the primal sense of fear. Tapping into the nature that we all share together, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, refuses to let up, rooting for Burns her situation just goes from bad to worse. Before the final denouement where she JUST about gets away but will be ravaged with the horrors of what she has seen for the rest of her life and never truly “normal” again. The same could be said for people who watch this absolutely fantastic film, you’ll never look at Horror in the same way again. Of course Hooper created far more spooks in the form of Poltergeist and more but with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hooper created a legacy that will always live on.