The great grandfather of the notorious Slasher genre is one that benefits from having a good director and a truly terrifying antagonist, known as Leatherface. Brutal the grisly The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not a film for the faint of heart. It is just simply one of the best of its kind and viewers should exercise caution when watching it.
As one might have anticipated the plot is a crazy and ghastly (in a good way) ride which right from the opening keeps you on the edge of your seat and your sanity if you don’t have the stomach for this kind of thing. Despite having, like other Slasher films, not that much plot it doesn’t matter because Chainsaw Massacre has enough substance to keep your attention. This is a big difference from the paper thin plots of the Friday the 13th films. The climax of this terrifying beast is more disturbing and horrific than a majority of other films and is five times better than the ending of the shallow remake. There is little doubt that it will stick in your mind for quite some time. Not the remake, the ending of the original.
Strangely, even though it has the words “chainsaw” and “massacre” in the title, there is actually very little gore or violence for the most part. It is surprising because I would have thought considering its reputation that says it pushed the limit of on-screen violence like Last House on the Left. Yet Chainsaw Massacre surpasses the scares of the remakes on-screen blood and guts by merely much implying what is happening. It is this kind of technique that is so rarely used these days because executive losers think the only way to scare the audience is to show someone being disemboweled. I will say this, though, the blood that does appear is more convincing than anything the remake could throw at the audience.
The acting like a lot of the film is better than your average, underdeveloped, slasher victim. Marilyn Burns is really good as the heroine, Sally Hardesty, who is like the rest of the cast someone you can worry about. While her incessant screaming might irritate some just remember what kind of a situation she is in towards the end of the film. Gunnar Hansen is equal parts convincing and intimidating as the silent (sort of) killing machine who wields the titular chainsaw. The perpetually creepy hitchhiker, known as Nubbins Sawyer is played amazingly by Edwin Neal who is almost as scary as Leatherface. The crazed psycho Drayton Sawyer is on an equal plain thanks to Jim Siedow, who is as good as the rest of the cast. Terri McMinn is the same as Marilyn Burns and honestly her character, Pam, would have been just as good a final girl as Sally was. The sad, invalid, Franklin is portrayed by Paul A. Partain who is as good and believable as you could want.
If you think that the remake is better than this think again. Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a frightening and brilliantly acted film. Prepare to lose some sleep because the grim story and great visuals are going to stay in your head for a long time. Even if it seems tame by today’s standards there is no question that it is as good as was all those years ago.