Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Something Rank (#1)

With this series I'll be counting down (rather counting up) the franchise fare of the four major celluloid boogeymen: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and everyone's favorite transvestite country bumpkin, Leatherface. From worst to best, a grand total of 36 films -- there's so much pleasure to be found in absolute disgust! Brace yourselves, it gets BAD before it gets sublime.

The countdown concludes. Phew...

Previous Entries:
(#36-33) (#32-29) (#28-25)
(#24-21) (#20-17) (#16-15)
(#14-13) (#12-11) (#10-9)
(#8-7) (#6-5) (#4)
(#3) (#2)

(#1) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

"Who will survive? And what will be left of them?"

On August 18, 1973, John Laroquette narrated what could easily be the makings for the most somber episode of Night Court...

"The film which you are about to see is an account of a tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much as the mad and macabre as they were to see that night. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

Sunbaked, moonlit macabre swirling about a chaotic Texas wasteland, Tobe Hooper's classic tale of, "An idyllic summer afternoon drive," remains just as nerve-jangling, frenzied and fantastic as the day of its release. No matter the countless times teens have run out of gas in remote backwoods locales, the seminal film loses none of its visionary grit and bloodcurdling cosmic cruelty.

A spider's web of calculated madness unmatched in its subtle artistry and ferociously grim worldview, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre's horoscopes, hitchhikers and highway roadkill all prophesize of overpowering cinematic doom. Pro-vegetarian postulating, post-Vietnam visionary, a satire of the American family, or exercise in unfiltered fear... It's all there in this deceptively simple slice-and-dice masterpiece. No house of horrors tale has felt as disturbingly realistic or easily grasping of such bone-dried dread. The elegant atmospheric build, manic sound design, fly-infested imagery, Marilyn Burns' hysteric screams from the very bowels of hell, and Leatherface's saw buzzing through to another sunrise... There are few films as harrowing, historic and utterly untouchable.

Both cinematic and documentary-like as we enter a crime scene just as it becomes one. Grating Franklin as he wheels, squeals, and finds permanent handicapped parking. Epic Final Girl, Sally Hardesty (Burns), as she screams and runs and screams and runs and screams and screams and screams... The score composed of eerie flash bulbs, crackling branches, scraping bone and scratched metal. The deep rumbles of percussion accompanying the impossibly scorching sunlight or the oppressive full moon. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre builds to a crescendo of hopeless hysteria that leaves one buzzing with enough doom and adrenaline to far outlast Leatherface's chainsaw. Decades later it's still a terrifying family portrait that leaves viewers traumatized, tenderized, and hung out to dry.

The Face of Fear:

Killer Looks:

1) Leatherface "Daywear"

2) Leatherface, Ladykiller

3) Another day at the office

4) The Cook
Mean BBQ... And just plain mean.

5) The Hitchhiker

"My family's always been in meat."

6) Grandpa
Alive and (involuntarily) kicking

7) Grandma
She never did talk much...

8) The Sawyer Family Pooch
"Dog will hunt." Unless, of course, he's hollow.

My Thoughts Exactly...

1 comment:

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