Thirty years of horror: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

I will say that parts of Lifeforce hold up. If you know what I mean.

I think the sequel speaks volumes for Tobe Hooper's authorial intent in the first movie. I.e. he didn't really know what he was doing.

I'm curious if there are any Last House of the Left apologists. Serious question. Do any Texas Chainsaw Massacre defenders also stand up for that movie? I'd be fascinated to hear a brief defense of that movie.

All I know about that movie is that they really killed a turtle or something. I can stomach an actual animal death is, say, Michael Haneke's Time of the Wolf (a horse was killed onscreen), but I'm not sure I can stomach it in some sleezy 70s horror movie.

Burt Reynolds snuffed a horse onscreen and you're not outraged?

That was killing you, wasn't it? To write a comment that long without including an insult until the very end?

Heh, fair point about getting there first. That might have played back in '74, but I don't think it counts for much these days. At least not for me. I don't recall when I first saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it was long after I could be impressed by a murderous idiot manchild in a silly mask.

The chainsaw thing is interesting because it makes the point so well about flesh as a resource. But I tend to associate it with Sam Raimi goofiness and later zombie movies. But practically speaking, it makes no sense and it makes a really poor showing in the movie. It's heavy, its hard to use, it's loud. It does bupkis against that truck at the end of the movie. Oh, look, Leaterface scratched the paint on that dude's driver side door. In fact, Leatherface dings his own darn leg. What a maroon!

While I certainly acknowledge the cultural significance of the chainsaw as a weapon -- begrudging thanks to Tobe Hooper -- I think it's just another example of how clumsy this movie is.

Yes, what a horrific insult to you as a human to say you gave the film a "lazy viewing" after going to length to explain why I believe that is so. Way to make the movie not the only thing you've misread on this page. Critics, man... saying a filmmaker makes irredeemable violence porn is a valid review (it is), but someone saying those critics made a lazy interpretation is below the belt (it isn't).

"weirdness for weirdness['] sake"

Finding out I could keep a chicken in a birdcage saved me a lot of hassles down the line.

I'd be fascinated too because it'd be a great way to get a list of names together to hand in to the authorities.
I don't think there's any defending Last House on the's pretty vile. In a way, that's kind of the point but it doesn't excuse the fact that it's a badly made shock picture with little value. The only redeeming quality is that David Hess plays a really, really nasty bad guy. He reprised almost the exact same character some years later in a Ruggero Deodato film, House at the Edge of the Park. It was a similar film, but it made some sort of half-hearted attempts at themes. Yeah.

Well, here's the thing. It's a BRILLIANT film. It's actually very complex and touches on some rather surprising thematic material- you could almost view it as a criticism of Western anthropology and it'd hold up. It makes sense as an anti-colonial screed. It more or less created the "found footage" genre by mashing up Mondo Cane-style "real" footage with a framing narrative. The horror elements in it feel more real than anything else I've ever seen. There's all of this interesting meta stuff about it too, regarding the filming of it, the actors, and Deodato's direction.
HOWEVER, there is the animal killing business in it, which is absolutely repellent and morally wrong. There's also some particularly vile, sexualized violence in it that is inexcusable. Yet the film is putting this out there, and like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it's almost as if the film is showing you both some very real and very morally repugnant material and asking "well, what did you expect?"
The images in the film linger long after you see it, it has an impact quite unlike any other horror film. It _poisons_ you.
But seriously, I do not recommend it at's truly awful, but I can't deny its savage allure that dares you to to look, dares you to be _entertained_ by it. And then makes you feel absolutely awful for seeing it.

This kind of brings up an interesting point...I think it's become common (in video games too) for fans of a particular work, author, publisher or whatever to jump up and down whenever there is any kind of semblance of higher themes or values in a piece. Witness the solemn nodding and thoughtful chin-scratching of anyone discussing Bioshock Infinite or The Last of Us. You see this in horror and other genre films too- it's like there's this sense of striving for literary legitimacy or something, and any kind of implied theme such as those in TCM are met with the assumption that the work is the intentional product of genius.
With TCM, it's pretty clear that Hooper isn't a great director. And this notion that the "vision" of the film is the product of his imagination/authorial intent may be suspect. The film looks grimy and cheap not because of directoral choices, but because it was a low budget film. The themes and "deep hidden meanings" likely have as much to do with the film being a product of its time than they do with wilful screenwriting and production decisions. A lot of the higher values applied are retroactive.
But folks want films like TCM to be "legit", to have value above and beyond the genre, so they can say "see look, I don't just watch this stuff to see pretty girls get cut up".
So it could be that any merit the film has on this level is illusory (or accidental), and that Hooper was just knocking together whatever he could to make this picture. Which honestly, is probably the case.