31 Days of Horror: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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October is finally upon us and what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than by watching horror movies. Over the next 31 days, we’ll take a look at a variety of horror films and thrillers. From the gory to the ghostly. The classic to the contemporary. The fun-filled and the f**ked-up. We’ll take a look at several each day including a review of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights later in the months. So let’s get started!

The whole concept of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, disturbingly enough, has its roots in true-crime stories. The main one being that of Ed Gein, who would kidnap, kill, and skin his female victims and either wear their skin or make items out if it (recall the lampshade in the original TCM). Makes you wonder about people, doesn’t it?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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I must admit that I had never seen this version until I started this 31 Days of Horror project. I had seen the two latest films (discussed below), and was curious to see what the differences and similarities were.

First off, this is a creepy and disturbing film not because there are buckets of blood and gore, but because it feels real. It looks like a documentary, and has a realistic feel to it. So when the shit hits the fan and Leatherface pops up, it truly is a frightful scene.

By far the most disturbing moment for me in the film took place at the dinner table in Leatherface’s house. Leatherface and his “relatives” have brought grandpa down to eat. They decide to feed him the blood of the young girl they have decided to torture instead of outright kill. They cut her fingers and stick them in grandpa’s mouth. Now, grandpa looks dead. Quite dead. So when he starts to suck the blood from her fingers it’s a shocking moment.

This scenes also features a bizarre sequence where Leatherface and company laugh maniacally as the young girl screams for help at the top of her lungs. The camera gets several close-ups of her eyes. It’s pretty creepy given the context and the surrounding sounds.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is definitely a classic horror film that still holds up today. Leathrface is in league with other horror film villains like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger (look for them later this month). But, as is the case nowadays, sequels and remakes of hit films of the past are always on the horizon.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

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You’ve gotta wonder why Dennis Hopper agreed to do this lackluster sequel to such a classic horror film. But mediocre doesn’t begin to describe the next few films in the TCM canon.

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

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Viggo Mortensen enters the TCM fray in this third entry in the series. This time backpackers and a survivalist match wits with Leatherface and his homies. Is this the most controversial movie ever made as the poster says?

The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

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Starring Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, this sequel takes the typical teen horror movie cliché of teens stranded in the woods, and adds Leatheface and his his insane brother (played by McConaughey). The popularity of this film is mixed. Some feel it’s total crap, others feel it’s a cult classic. I think it’s just embarrassing.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

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Darker, gorier, and bleaker than the original, this remake of the 1974 classic stars Jessica Biel. Personally, I felt there were lots of intense and disturbing moments that make this film stand out from the sequels that came before it. Primarily the scenes with R. Lee Ermey who is best known as the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket. The torture scenes will also make you squirm.

I really liked the “footage” with the investigation that was cut in at the beginning and end of the film. The final shot of Leatherface on camera is quite chilling.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

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I also highly enjoyed this prequel, but the way it ends made me nauseous and in need of a shower to wash away how depressed I felt. This movie came across as being even darker and bleaker than the 2003 movie. I think that at this point, Michael Bay and his team felt they had to raise the bar in order to compete with the Saw and Hostel film that made “torture porn” commonplace at the movies.

Check back tomorrow for more Halloween fun as the 31 Days of Horror continues right here at StuffWeLike.com!

Have a favorite Texas Chainsaw movie, scene, character, etc? Leave a comment below!

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