Monday, November 10, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXII

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Why go see the new remake, when you can revisit the 1974 Tobe Hooper original? While I didn't keep up with the sequels, I see no reason to remake this low-budget shocker supposedly based on a true crime that occurred in 1973. As far as slasher movies go, Hooper's vision is relatively restrained. Most of the violence is suggested, and outside of some establishing shots of bone-iture in the killers' home, there is very little gore. Similarly, it's more of a linear run-and-hunt screamer than a suspenseful mystery. There's very little hesitancy in the movie, and Gunnar Hansen's Leatherface is absolutely mindless and relentless in his attempts to kill his prey. In several scenes, B-queen Marilyn Burns demonstrates her golden throat as she screams persistently for surprisingly long periods of time. And the only hint of the supernatural is the desiccated grandfather's taste for Burns' heroine Sally Hardesty's blood. In fact, despite the movie's history and fame, what Hooper has left us with is a backwater Texan tale of economic development -- development in which a mentally unbalanced family is left behind and turns elsewhere for their livelihood and survival. I was surprised by how quickly Hardesty's circle of friends was dispatched -- the meathook scene is a favorite -- and for the most part, the deleted scenes and "blooper reel" on the DVD aren't really worth watching. Bloopers, indeed: "I meant to cut off her arm! I slipped and sliced off her leg!" "You goof. Cut!"

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