The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)


What more can be said about such spot-on Americana? A relentless assault on its viewers that crosses the splatter movie with lowbrow redneck comedy, Texas Chain Saw is as much an experimental film as an endurance test, terrorizing both its characters and its audience at length. Bolstering an expressionist exploration of the concept of "normalcy" as it applies to the American family, many of the most repulsive moments in Tobe Hooper's first horror film are implicit, rather than graphic. In fact, the most explicit violence of this film is perpetrated on the soundtrack, where the titular implement of destruction wails endlessly. Few films so truly disturbing ever had such a grip on the popular imagination.

Elite Entertainment has promised to release a definitive laserdisc edition of Texas Chain Saw later this year, including lots of footage they dug up in Tobe Hooper's garage, or someplace. Look for it.

Nightmares of Depravity: Unlucky 13 Horror Films
Reviews by Bryant Frazer