Slasher Summer Camp: ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

By Anthony Crabtree, Guest Blogger

If you are reading this blog entry, then you probably have an interest in slasher films. And if you have an interest in slasher films, then odds are you’ve seen Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

If you haven’t, see it immediately.

This review is going to be different from my usual blog entries. Normally, I write about my experience viewing the film or knowledge of the film and then I review the movie. This blog post will primarily focus on an event that happened at The Grand in Ellsworth on Oct. 7, 2010.

I actually had the opportunity to hear Gunnar Hansen, the man who plays Leatherface in “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” speak about the film and his career. In all honesty, he was a marvelous speaker and had some great stories. If Mr. Hansen is a bit sick of talking about “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” it didn’t show at all and he had the crowd’s full attention with each he told. He answered questions respectfully, some of which I’m sure he has heard a million times, respectfully and in an entertaining fashion.

After he finished speaking, Gunnar Hansen went out to the lobby for discussion and autographs while the film screened. I had brought my DVD copy of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in hopes of getting it autographed, and my wife and I snuck out of the showing literally a minute early just to get the opportunity to have him sign it. We waited for the couple in front of us to finish talking with him, but by the time they were done, the film was over and the crowd began to swarm.

I had actually given up hope of getting my DVD signed until my wife grabbed it and placed it in front of Gunnar Hansen. She had him make the signature out to me, which is shown on the image above.

I did not get to meet the man, but watching him speak and having my wife get my DVD signed was enough to make me happy. On the way out, we also noticed a sign that said “Autographs $20 Each” and neither my wife nor myself gave Gunnar Hansen $20. Whoops. So Mr. Hansen, if you’re reading this blog and would like the $20, just email and I’ll get that to you.

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, directed by Tobe Hooper, rated R, 84 minutes.

As I said previously, if you have not seen “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” then you are truly missing out. It is one of the finest horror films I have ever seen and any praise you have heard about this film is more than well deserved.

Taking place in August of 1973, the film revolves around Sally, her brother Franklin, and a group of friends who go to check on a grave site that belongs to Sally’s grandfather. Sally and Franklin hear a radio news update announcing that many grave sites in the area have been desecrated, and the two of them decide to check to make sure that their grandfather’s site is OK. Naturally, this is not where the story ends. The group ends up at an abandoned house where the group believes a swimming hole is close by. When going out to find this swimming hole they encounter Leatherface. For those unfamiliar with Leatherface, he is a chain saw-wielding man who happens to wear the flesh of other people on his face.

What follows is, quite frankly, one of the most brutal, disturbing and sometimes even darkly humorous horror films that I have ever seen. The film has an intense, breakneck pace that rarely allows you to catch your breath. Hooper, with an incredibly modest budget, takes what he is given and creates something that is real and raw. Nothing feels fake and this can only be attributed to the direction of Tobe Hooper, the lack of budget, and the actors who completely embody the characters no matter how crazy or bizarre they may be.

This film deserves the absolute highest grade that I have given to a slasher film yet, and all the other films I have reviewed so far for Slasher Summer Camp pale in comparison. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is truly a masterpiece.

Grade: A

Power Link of the Week

Since I may have stiffed the man $20, here is a link to his website where you can buy Leatherface- and Gunnar Hansen-related products.

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