Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released in 1974. Touted as a “true story”, the plot follows Sally and her friends who are traveling through a small town only to run into the local family from hell. Although the plot of the movie was inspired by Wisconsin’s favorite psycho, Ed Gein, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not a true story, folks.
I have to admit… This isn’t one of my favorite films. To be honest, I have a hard time sitting through it, but I will give it credit where credit is due. I love the character of Leatherface. I find him a sympathetic character trying to break free of the chains of his family. He doesn’t really want to kill people, but his family wants him to, so he does. It’s sad. Leatherface seems to have the mental capacity of a toddler. This gives his family free rein to walk all over him.
Another aspect of the movie I did like was Hooper’s intention behind it. I haven’t found out if this is true or simply a fan theory, but the thought is interesting to me and makes me look at the movie in a deeper way. Has anyone heard that the whole movie was a subtle commentary on the political climate of the time, specifically the Vietnam War? I’ve been hearing that lately, and I’m fascinated. I even watched the film again through the lens of the commentary, and it makes sense. It also makes the movie more thought-provoking for me (as thought-provoking as a cheap slasher can get, anyway). I’m not going to get into this theory here, but if you want to read more about it, Erik McClanahan wrote a great article about it and other theories surrounding the film.
I am not a fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I can appreciate aspects of it. It is a well-made film mostly free of gore and straight violence (that is strange to be saying, but it’s true). I simply don’t care for the story. Despite this, I will probably watch it again, some summer night while hanging out with friends.