This slasher classic is one horror movie that truly has the power to scare. Unlike its modern equivalents such as "The Blair Witch Project" or "I know What You Did Last Summer", both classification fifteen in the UK, it is not edited to suit younger teen audiences. This apparent uninhibited space for the producer's mind to roam can clearly be seen in the final product. The only word to describe this movie is: - terrifying.
The initial story was based upon the murders of the serial killer Ed Gein. With a storyline involving a minivan of hippies cruising through Texas to imminent death, you cannot help but shout at the screen things such as "don't pick him up!" and "don't go into that house!" Due to a shortage of gas and the local station not being refilled until the morning, the hippies decide to stop at Sally and Franklin's (two siblings in the minivan) grandfathers house. The place is a typical derelict house and is clearly the scene of a soon to occur disaster. Eventually two of the six go looking for a neighbour to lend them the gas so they can carry with on their journey. I'm sure you could have an educated guess at what the neighbour does to them. They try and get help but it's too late. Or is it? Blood, gore, meat hooks, screams and full bellies is all I can say.
The opening scenes are very well produced by Tobe Hooper. The mock news report of the grave robberies is very powerful. The police camera effect, apparently capturing the human debris on film, and the radio broadcaster overdub of the event is very realistic. For a while, you feel the director has copied the broadcast from a real radio news bulletin. The horror of it takes over and you almost believe that it's real. There is some good camera work and sound effects, especially in the final sequences of the film, which keep your heart pumping.
There are many blood curdling screams throughout the movie, especially from Marilyn Burns, who plays Sally. The other actors are a little hammy. Over the top appears to be the basis of their performance. This can be seen in the character of Franklin (Paul A. Partain). The purpose of him being on the trip in the first place, when he can hardly move in his wheel chair, appears to be a little suspect. A little tip. Don't watch this movie in the dark, or on your own!
Don't be fooled, this film hasn't got a clever title. It is set in Texas. It does involve a chainsaw, and it certainly is a massacre. Be prepared for a total bloodfest.
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