"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974) Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
The 1970's introduced audiences to two incredible horror villains - Michael Myers in "Halloween" and Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". The latter film, which is undoubtedly more disturbing and creepy, may not be as good as the story of Myers, but it is still entertaining and frightens the audience to its core.
When Sally (Marilyn Burns) and her paraplegic brother Frank (Paul A. Partain) hear about graves being vandalized throughout Texas, they set off with a group of friends to check on their grandfather's grave. However, on their way, they take a small detour to visit the old family farmhouse, where they come face-to-face with the terrifying and mysterious Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), who kills and eats humans.
The film, as a whole, is very nitty gritty and dirty. The cinematography focuses on the debris and disgustingness of the settings, by lingering on certain aspects of the cannibal's house during different scenes. This creates a feeling of claustrophobia for the viewer as it feels as if there is truly no escape.
It starts off very slowly, and we're not sure where the movie is heading; that is until they pickup the hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) on the side of the road. Not only is he extremely creepy and makes the audience sick to their stomach, he also provides an insight into what the film is going to be like, and what the audience can expect the next hour and a half.
The character of Leatherface has held up to slasher standards today. He is still a wickedly evil villain that still haunts the dreams of the young viewers of today. Origin stories and reboots have attempted to recreate the feeling of Leatherface in this film, but it never feels the same as watching Leatherface appear in that doorway for the very first time, hellbent on finding dinner for him and his family.