The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an American classic that most horror movie buffs have seen and love. What is it about a family of cannibals in the outskirts of Texas that gets our juices pumping? The film starts off with a group of lovable teenagers and one really annoying person in a wheelchair. This individual is so annoying that I seriously wanted to grab a chainsaw and just finish the job. Surprisingly this individual, Franklin, proved to be one of the more intelligent characters, along with his sister Sally. The group of teens travel to Texas in order to check out the grave of Sally and Franklin's grandfather. There has been constant vandalism and grave robbing at the cemetary, which resulted in horrific sculptures of rotting bodies propped up on tombstones. The grave is fine, but all goes amuck when the group decides to pick up a hitchhiker. Herein lies the first of many stupid decisions by the teens. One thing leads to another and not many individuals survive the whole ordeal.
What makes this movie great is the killers, and yes I said killers and not killer. While the teenagers make stupid decisions (except Sally and Franklin), the cannibals are amazingly intelligent and take a lot of pride in their work. Other criminals don’t take so much pride and exhibit so much passion. One of the creepiest aspects of this movie is the art. Not only do the killers murder and eat people, but they take their bones and make furniture and pieces of art out of it. This again shows a level of glee and pride, which makes the viewer realize just how crazy these individuals are.
When watching this movie, it is important not to place it in a mold set by cliché horror movies. While the teenagers are stupid, which is very cliché, the killers do many things that famous horror icons do not. For one, they run, which makes them seem much more human, unlike other famous horror icons like Michael Myers. Secondly, the killers aren’t fenced in with some invisible force. They pick off prey everywhere in the city, so it seems as if nowhere is a safe zone. The presentation of the film is also a positive. While it does look outdated, it remains watchable and almost plays as a documentary. The intro also contains a disclaimer spoken by the narrator, which may be a cheap trick to get everyone scared, but it works.
One of the downsides of the film is the stupidity of everyone but Franklin and Sally. Luckily, Sally is incredibly primal and resilient. I personally believe Sally is one of the best survival horror characters of all time. Her intelligence makes up for everyone else’s stupidity. Imagine a web, with the spider right there, and everyone happily jumping right into it.
If you like your horror movies gritty and down south, then this movie is right for you. If you like a dash of psychotic with your horror villain, then this is a healthy helping of that. Horror island is graced with intelligent and hard working cannibals thanks to this movie. Although, if Sally was put on this island, I think she may have what it takes to survive.
If you liked The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you might also like Cannibal Holocaust or The Loved Ones.