THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vain, Teri McMin,
Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen
Co-writer/Director: Tobe Hooper
Running Time: 83 mins
August 18th 1973. On that day a van full of five teenagers, visiting a relative's
grave and abandoned house would meet a terrible fate. A lone survivor reported
their ordeal at the hands of a chainsaw wielding masked man and his macabre
family. Details of the case shocked the nation, as the tale of terror became
known as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the granddaddy of the teen
slasher flick. It is the movie that started it all and influenced many a
horror franchise. Before Jason, Freddy or Michael Myers, Leatherface was
the teen killing king and without him, many of these movie maniacs might
never have been created.
Filmed on a micro-budget by today's standards, the movie transformed
the horror genre with its unashamed, honest approach to filmmaking. Before
the days of computer graphics, advanced makeup techniques and elaborate
camera angles, Tobe Hooper and his cast and crew were setting the standards
that so many others have so frequently tried to emulate.
Due to budgetary constraints and the original hope of a PG
certificate, there isn't as much gore as you might have imaged in the movie.
Most of the killing is off camera or suggested, relying on the viewer's
own imagination to intensify the terror.A lot of credit for this has to
go to the reaction of the young, relatively inexperienced cast. The sheer
intensity of Marilyn Burns's performance as Sally, makes the horror all
the more believable and more unpalatable. Burns brilliantly conveys the
look of terror in her eyes and in her reactions to the events unfolding
around her and her performance makes the movie all the more terrifying.
Paul A. Partain as Franklin, Sally's disabled brother is also well rounded
but completely annoying. While the rest of the cast are just the string
of victims for killer thirst for blood, Franklin is the only one you actually
want to die just to stop his incessant whining.
Victims aside, the movie is remembered mostly for the Sawyer
family. Edwin Neal as the hitchhiker and youngest son of the macabre family
is the first one we meet. His surreal mannerisms and downright crazy ways
set the tone of family dynamic. Jim Siedow's transformation from friendly
shop owner to head of the family is both shocking and amusing. He is the
instigator of most of the black comedy injected into the script and has
all of the best lines. The star of the show and the creation that still
stalks the echelons of the horror hall of fame is Leatherface. For an actor
who's character that doesn't have any lines, it is still Gunnar Hansen's
performance that makes the film so memorable. Like a star from the silent
age, Hansen's role is all about reaction and movement to convey the character's
emotion. Even fact that the hideous mask hides his facial features, it doesn't
stop you knowing what Leatherface is feeling. His dance of frustration at
sunrise in the final scenes is an example of the actor's talent.
Even though the events in this movie are conveyed as fact
and a lot people still think it is true, writers Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
have created a horrific tale of human depravity that is the stuff of nightmares.
Once you have seen this movie the sound of a chainsaw will fill you with
dread and have you running for your life. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 1.66:1 with a digitally remastered
Dolby Digital soundtrack. The picture quality is extremely good for a very
old and low budget production. The Dolby stereo 2-channel soundtrack is
also good with Leatherface's chainsaw never sounding more terrifying.
Audio commentary with Director Tobe Hooper, Director of
Photography Daniel Pearl and star Gunnar Hansen
Feeling more like a reunion of friends and colleagues, the audio commentary
for movie is as information as it is funny. As well as talking about the
technical aspects of the production, the three take about how hard they
all worked on the movie and how the film affected not just tem but everyone
else who worked on it. Highlights include how the acted all stayed in character
and didn't talk to Gunnar Hansen to themselves more scared of him. The fact
that they had only one set of costumes for the entire shoot and that the
original title was "Headcheese"!
The Shocking Truth (1.12.49)
A newly filmed documentary that looks back at the original 1973 production.
Includes crew interviews with Tobe Hooper (Director/Co-Writer/Producer),
Kim Henkel (Co-Writer), Ted Nicolaou (Sound), Wayne Bell (Sound), Robert
A. Burns (Art Director/Production Designer) and Dorothy Pearl (Make-up).
Also the cast talk with Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) Allen Danziger (Jerry),
Marilyn Burns (Sally Hardesty), William Vail (Kirk), Jim Siedow (The Cook)
and Paul Partain (Franklin Hardesty) remembering filming the movie. It is
an extremely interesting look at 1970s low budget film making as the cast
and crew talk about the influences and history behind the story, filming
the movie and the controversy surrounding the original theatrical release.
Interview with Tobe Hooper (13.45)
Director/Co-Writer/Producer Tobe Hooper talks about the inspiration
behind the movie, the family of killers, the look of the house, filming
in the woods, chancing the sun for the end sequence, adding sound and music
and the reception the film got on release.
Interview with Kim Henkel (8.24)
The co-writer of the movie talks about what influenced him to write
the story, how he tried to reinvent the series by writing the fourth film
and he explains about film outside of the Hollywood mainstream. Deleted
Scenes and Alternative footage Six deleted scenes called The Van, The Campsite,
Make-up scene, Death of the Hitchhiker, Sally's escape and Tantrum outside
the service station. Four alternative scenes called Corpse in the Graveyard,
Original Opening, Sally in the Service Station and A Studying in Filming.
Highlights include a hilarious scene with Leatherface putting on make-up
and the original dead dog opening mentioned in the documentary.
The original 1974 trailer, the re-release trailer and the sequel trailers
Original TV Spots
The 1974 and re-release TV spots
Props and Sets (6.08)
A cinematic tour filmed on-set in 1973 of the fully dressed house. Includes
a detailed look at all the rooms and the famous bone furniture.
Film and Production Stills
56 images from the movie and behind the scenes during the production.
Posters and Promotional images
24 images including international posters.
DVD ROM content
Link to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre website.
If you love the movie then you have to buy this DVD. It has
some of the best extras ever put together for a classic movie. The Shocking
Truth documentary is worth the purchase alone. The film itself has never
looked so good and the disc is so professionally put together it sets the
standard for other films from this era to follow.
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