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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Blutgericht in Texas

USA 1974
produced by
Tobe Hooper, Lou Peraino, Jay Parsley (executive), Kim Henkel (associate), Richard Saenz (associate) for Vortex
directed by Tobe Hooper
starring Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A.Pertain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan
written by Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper, music by Wayne Bell, Tobe Hooper

Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface, Ed Gein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A group of teenagers - Sally (Marilyn Burns), her wheelchairbound brother Franklyn (Paul A.Pertain), her boyfriend Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail) & his girlfriend Pam (Teri McMinn) - pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal - henceforth called Hitchhiker) on their trip through rural Texas, who thanks them by freaking them out by cutting himself in the hand & Franklyn in the arm. Fortunately the kids get rid of him, but unfortunately they decide to spend the night at the abandoned house of Sally's & Franklyn's parents nearby. Not a good idea, since their neighbours there are laid-off butchers who, despite being out of work, have not given up their trade. First Kirk & Pam stumble over their house, & Kirk is soon met with the wrong end of a sledgehammer being wielded by a weird man wearing a leathermask (Gunnar Hansen - henceforth called Leatherface), while Pam accidently enters the room where the butchering family store their bones & make artworks of them - much to her horror. But much more horrific is that she is caught by Leatherface, who hands her up on a meathook & has her watch as he cuts her boyfriend apart ... Our remaining teenagers after some time grow worried over the whereabaouts of their friends, so Kirk goes looking for them - to get a taste of Leatherface's hammer firsthand. Meanwhile it has grown dark, & Sally & Franklyn are understandably worried about their friends, so they go on a search too - which ends all of a sudden when - without warning - Franklyn is cut to pieces by Leatherface's chainsaw. Sally however can escape the maniac, but her escape route leads her to the house of horrors, whicvh she flees in horror when meeting the corpses of grandpa & grandma (that grandpa [John Dugan] is not really dead we do not learn until later in the picture, he certainly looks dead though). Finally our girl reaches a gas station & considers herself in safety - until she finds out the owner (Jim Siedow - henceforth called Old Man) is actually the head of the family, and he beats her unconscious. When she re-awakens, she finds herself at the head-end of a perverse dinnertable, bound to a chair made of human remains, & considered to be the main course, with the whole murderous family - the Old Man, Grandpa, Leatherface & Hitchhiker - staring at her with appetite, & Grandpa even sucking blood from her finger. Then they come up with the idea of letting Grandpa slaughter her - he was once considered the best in the business -, but the old man is much too old to lift the slaughtering hammer, much less wield it, providing Sally with an opportunity to escape, with Hitchhiker & Leatherface in hot pursuit. Once she reaches the main road, Hitchhiker is run over by a truck while she manages to hitch a ride, with Leatherface menacingly waving his chainsaw as Sally is leaving into the rising sun.

 

Being highly controversial upon its release & considered pure trash by many, Texas Chainsaw Massacre today has the status of being one of the true classics of modern horror movie - & I happen to totally agree. Despite having the reputation of being a pure gore-flick - which it garnered from its critics upon its release - this movie shocks more by its macabre details than its - relatively restraint by today's standards - use of gore. Also great care was given to the creation of a menacing atmosphere, & by the use of weird filters so even the scenes shot in broad daylight have a certain eerie feeling. The totally depersonalized Leatherface as the main killer also adds to the horrors, as his raw presence & unpredictability totally lack the relative elegance & sophistication of even Halloween's Michael Myers. That the teenagers' characters are etched out just well enough to have us care for them without reverting to too much clichés or taking up too much screentime introducing them is another plus that does set Texas Chainsaw Massacre apart from movies of similar ilk.

Director Tobe Hooper, despite all the qualities of that movie, never managed to make another film that was even half as good. Most of his later movies were pure trash, & even those that were somewhat entertaining were so on a vastly inferior level - & often for all the wrong reasons.

But whatever Tobe Hooper's shortcomings, in 2003 the talentless Hollywood-airhead Michael Bey produced an impersonal popcorn-remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Simply put: You MUST NOT watch that movie !!!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD