Physically-overwhelming, paralyzingly nerve-shredding, impossibly mired in realism with twisted slaughterhouse/farm/vegetarianism themes and deconstruction of American history, legacy-rife originating power-tool usage and faceless slashers, & horrifying beyond comparison while doing so without even need for gore or cheap tricks, TCM is the wildest – and, arguably, scariest – horror movie ever made. 9.6/10.
Plot Synopsis: In a hot summer in Texas, Sally (Marilyn Burns) & her brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) hear that their grandfather’s grave may have been vandalized. They and several friends take a road trip to investigate. After a detour to their family’s old farmhouse, they discover a group of crazed, murderous strangers living next door. As the group is attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), who wears a mask of human skin, the survivors must do everything they can to escape.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Full Review In-Progress
The opening warning and title say it all: the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the scariest movies of All-Time. It is certainly the wildest and most brutal one ever made; the movie will MESS YOU UP and is NOT for the feint of heart. There’s a reason it was banned in several countries upon its release for being too horrifying and overwhelming for some general audiences to even fathom, & rightfully so. However, if you’re talking about horror movies, TCM not only changed the game but is a vital genre piece that must be put near the top.
Let’s start with the opening. Having a physical warning of how scary this film is is something that puts immense pressure on what follows, as anything less than perfect and horrifying would be considered a massive disappointment after a proclamation like that. The very next scene, however, features macabre shots of decomposing body parts and the monument with news reels in the background, which sets the tone and makes you think maybe it will. But after watching the film and leaving the theater, you are left with your jaw hanging open about how wild and horrifying what you just watched was.
The cinematography and meticulously crafted mise-en-scene in every scene is stunning. With shots of Texas and old American landscapes and symbols, as well as
Pros: Fitting opening warning to how brutal and scary this film is – NOT for the feint of heart, opening scene with macabre shots of decomposing body parts and the monument with news reels in the background horrific and tone-setting, meticulously crafted mise-en-scene and strong cinematography of Texas, extremely well-written and acted characters you can actually INVEST in (biggest problem with horror movies) which makes it hit even harder, phenomenal acting and horrific performance as the survivor girl by Marilyn Burns – she survives and gets away in the end, but does she?, all-time frightening character acting by Edwin Neal as the hitchhiker – few things I’ve ever seen as scary and chilling with just acting, great length and phenomenal pacing – not overlong and keeps you on invested the whole time, Leatherface absolutely horrifying in his character design and victims’ skin mask as well as portrayal by Gunnar Hansen – he doesn’t walk or brood.. he RUNS after you wielding an almost unfair tool – chainsaw, unbelievably writing and direction by Tobe Hooper = no cheap plot tricks or overtly stupid decisions as the characters are put in impossible situations like running out of gas and having to ask unknowingly mad neighbors for it, groundbreaking and innovative in decisions like there not even being any gore in a movie called TCM, shocking and unfairly genius plot twist in the store owner being in on it, horrific in its realism\
Cons: Can be literally too brutal & horrifying for people to even fathom – rightfully so, the movie will MESS YOU UP but when talking horror films it is a vital genre piece
Official CLC Score: 9.6/10
Other TCM Franchise Films
Texas Chainsaw – With a fine intro continuation of the original’s ending, intriguing-eyed scream queen (wasted) in Alexandra Daddario, good locational setting, and some decent tension, but one of the most imbecilic and contrived plots in horror HISTORY hijacking a TCM movie into a silly family feud inexplicably sympathizing with (and police and Heather overlooking) a cannibal murderer, Texas Chainsaw is scarier abomination than Leatherface. 1/10.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – A great opening, intriguing police plotline (that’s quite well-acted), and couple of creepy set pieces & psychological torment, can’t save this overall-tired reboot of the iconic story – or its hackneyed plot having the characters pretty go out of their way to find trouble because of one girl’s stubbornness (who might be the dumbest final girl of *All-Time* with how many record escape opportunities she squandered). 3.7/10.