HorrorFest: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

All the spoilers all the time.  You have been warned!

My Thoughts While Watching:

This is classic horror at it’s finest. And on such a low budget – $300k!

They guy in the wheelchair is just horrible as a fake human. I was not unhappy that he died.

I love the costumes of the kids.  I could so totally wear a pair of bellbottoms now.

My favorite scene was when they beat the girls ass with the broom!

The grandpa scene…just…holy shit.

The extreme closeups are amazing.

So, in conclusion – if you want to see classic horror just prior to the industry’s move to all things T&A early 80s, this is the best one.  This should always be on the list of top 20 of the horror genre.  Just great.

Some Interviews and Extra Video:

IMDB Synopsis: Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather’s grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Starring:

Marilyn Burns  Marilyn Burns Sally
Allen Danziger  Allen Danziger Jerry
Paul A. Partain  Paul A. Partain Franklin
William Vail  William Vail Kirk
Teri McMinn Teri McMinn Pam
Edwin Neal Edwin Neal Hitchhiker
Jim Siedow Jim Siedow Old Man
Gunnar Hansen Gunnar Hansen Leatherface
John Dugan John Dugan Grandfather

Director: Tobe Hooper

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My ranking scores –

0-19 Levels of: Ugh

20-39 Levels of: Meh (aka I cannot reach the remote)

40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?

60-85 Levels of: That was solid.

86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!

I rank this movie a 98.48!

*******************************************************************

Trailer:

Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 88% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 82% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.4/5 with a number of User Ratings: 202,287.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 4 Oct 1974 (USA) / Runtime: 83 minutes / Budget: $300k

IMDB Trivia:

  • Marilyn Burns, whose character was chased by Leatherface through the undergrowth, actually cut herself on the branches quite badly, so a lot of the blood on her body and clothes is real.
  • According to John Larroquette, his payment for doing the opening narration was a marijuana joint.
  • Leatherface had “lines” in the script that were gibberish with little side notes indicating what he was trying to say.
  • The soundtrack contains no sounds from musical instruments (with the exception of some copyrighted music they had the rights to), instead they used sounds an animal would hear inside a slaughterhouse.
  • Even in his lift boots, Gunnar Hansen could run faster than Marilyn Burns, so he had to do random things when chasing her through the woods (you’ll notice in one head-on shot that he starts slicing up tree branches in the background).
  • Gunnar Hansen said that, during filming, he didn’t get along very well with Paul A. Partain, who played Franklin. A few years later he met Partain again and realized that Partain, a method actor, had simply chosen to stay in character even when not filming. The two remained good friends up to Partain’s death.
  • A still photo, taken during filming of the entire “Sawyer” family posing outside the house as a gag, was found and stolen from the set by a visiting German reporter, who took it back to West Germany with him, and the image of the family eventually became the advertising poster for the first release of the movie in West Germany.
  • The gas station the kids stop at was bought from the family of the original owners and is being renovated and turned into a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” horror campground. The new owner is in the process of finding and purchasing as many original or contemporary period pieces for the resort. The owner is Roy Rose. He is putting in a restaurant, music venue and overnight cabins.
  • Due to the low budget, Gunnar Hansen had only one shirt to wear as Leatherface. The shirt had been dyed, so it could not be washed; Hansen had to wear it for four straight weeks of filming in the hot and humid Texas summer. By the end of the shoot, no one wanted to stand near Hansen or sit next to him during breaks to eat lunch because his clothing smelled so bad.
  • Since the film’s original release, the location used as the Sawyer family house has changed completely. It’s now an open field, with no indication there had ever been a house there. The house itself has been relocated and fully restored. It is now operated as the Junction House Restaurant on the grounds of the Antlers Hotel complex at 1010 King St. in Kingsland, TX.
  • The film’s original budget was $60,000; during the editing process, the filmmakers incurred an additional $80,000 in costs, requiring that they sell off portions of their ownership in the film’s royalties.
  • The company worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day, in the summertime in one of Texas’ notoriously brutal heat waves where the daytime temperature was over 100 degrees and later hovered at around 80 at night.
  • The chainsaw used in this film was a Poulan 245A, with a piece of black tape covering the Poulan logo in order to avoid a possible lawsuit.
  • Leatherface wore three different masks: the “Killing Mask”, “Old Lady Mask” and “Pretty Woman Mask”. Gunnar Hansen commented: “The reason he wore a mask, according to Tobe and Kim, was that the mask really determined his personality. Who he wanted to be that day determined what mask he put on. So when Drayton comes home with Sally, Leatherface is wearing the ‘Old Lady Mask’ and he’s wearing an apron and carrying a wooden spoon, he wants to be domestic, helpful in the kitchen. At dinner he wears a different face, the ‘Pretty Woman,’ which has makeup.” The “Pretty Woman” outfit consists of a female wig and a black suit, as Leatherface is “dressing up” for dinner, an old deep south tradition which stems from his southern upbringing, and the “Killing Mask” is the skin mask he wears while chasing and murdering captives. Hansen later added, “The idea of the mask is that there is no personality under the mask. That was the idea in talking with Tobe and Kim. When they created the character, they said he has to put on masks to express himself because he himself can’t do it. The way we tried to create him, there is nothing under the mask, which is what makes him so frightening.”
  • In one of Marilyn Burns’ final interviews before her death, she stated that she would take the clothes she wore during filming with her to wash. After one particular wash, when she returned to the mat she discovered the purple shirt (and a few other copies of it) had been stolen from the dryer. Luckily the store she had gotten them from had one left but it was in one size larger, and so she had to buy it and that was the shirt she wore for most of the film.

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