Monday, 11 January 2016

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

"My family's always been in meat..."

This is the template for a certain kind of slasher and, surprisingly, whereas the budget is obviously limited, it's rather better than both of them, the film being full of incident and suspense. It's also notable that, while there are a few brief and therefore effective moments of gore, the film relies much more on the suggestion of blood and gore than in showing it in any great detail. This kind of slasher is never going to trouble the "best ever" lists, but it's one of the best of it's kind.

Much of this comes from a clever plot structure and the device of having one of the characters be a wheelchair user. The kids are picked off at regular intervals throughout the film, providing us with regular bursts of excitement, and the early scenes with the hitchhiker give us some early incident and foreboding.

It matters not that we know perfectly well that the hitchhiker will turn out to be one of the baddies, or the petrol station owner. Predictability is the point. This is a well-executed film which, while part of a genre which is somewhat limited and reliant on simple melodrama in the absence of any extra little metatextual touches, justifies its status as a pioneer within that genre.

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