Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

I think the title says it all.

For years, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has been a film I very much liked but never really loved the way a horror fan is supposed to love it. It's an undisputed classic, yet as much as I liked it I never thought it stood up to any of the other classics from its era. Why was I reluctant to embrace it fully? Was it because it's not as suspense driven as my favorites tend to be? Was it because of the unlikable lead characters? Was it because of it's more rough hewn look, when I typically prefer something a little more elegant?

All true, but I think I need to finally just say "uncle" and admit what this is. It will probably never mean as much to me as Halloween or Deep Red or Dawn of the Dead, but who said this had to be a horse race? It's a masterpiece of grimy, gritty atmosphere. There are countless strikingly framed shots. The set design is awesome. The lead actors all kind of suck, but the actors playing the killers are creepy as hell. There are more than a handful of all-time classic horror movie scenes, most notably the first appearance of Leatherface, which has to be in the top 10. It's not as scary as my other favorites are, but it's strange and wildly entertaining, and a lot more darkly funny than I think it gets credit for. So I hereby shed off any hesitation I had about calling this a great horror movie. It's a great horror movie.

Grade: A-

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