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Sunday, October 15, 2006

17. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

17. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
(1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper

If you've ever been through certain stretches of Texas then you know that this sort of thing could very likely be going on and this spine tingling likelihood gives "Texas Chainsaw" much of it's power. From the self mutilating hitcher to the screaming bloody end this is the gut churning and drugged out face of horror post Spahn Ranch. The gory springboard for the story was the account of Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein who robbed graves for women's bodies which he eviscerated, skinned and dismembered. His secluded snow covered farmhouse was decorated with these parts when authorities finally crashed his sick party in 1957. Switch the scene to dusty hot Texas in the early 1970's and exchange the single madman for an entire family of ghouls and presto, one of the most unsettling bits of cinema is born. The movie starts with a series of blinding flashbulbs that reveal recently uncovered corpses for a blinking moment before fading to black. This sequence, along with many others, still gives me chills. There's no denying that much of the movie is nauseating but goddamn is it powerful. Like rubbernecking a twisted wreck on the highway it makes you feel like a sick fuck afterwards but that morbid pull to reckon bloody death is mighty hard to resist. Oddly enough, one of the images that has always haunted me the most is the shot of a full grown chicken stuck and flapping in the claustrophobic confines of a conventional birdcage. It's an emblem of cruelty that promises pain for any living thing that ventures into this section of Lone Star Hell. Fucked up and visceral and one of the few things scarier than the Butthole Surfers live in their heyday. Watch this one in the heat of Summer with cheap beer and the doors locked.

2 Comments:

Blogger pee money said...

Another great piece of cinematic writing. I could squabble that Chainsaw merits inclusion in the top ten, but that sort of bean counting is half the fun.

I want you to know, Mr. Refund, that this page is one of my favorite spots on the Web. I am already fearing the first day of November when I won't have a new entry to look forward to. Please consider extending your list. Once a day would be a tough pace to keep up, but surely once every few weeks isn't too much. Besides, there are plenty of great films still awaiting your review. Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" and Pupi Avati's "House with Laughing Windows" come to mind. Think about it!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous monica said...

hey pee money, i so agree on top ten status for this (this makes it to the top 3 for me)...

4:19 PM  

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