Back again for another day. I need caffeine. I feel lethargic and like my muscles don’t want to work… has anyone ever felt like this? I’m also pretty thirsty, but no matter how much water I drink, nothing seems to quench my thirst.
You don’t think I’m turning into a va- nah, let’s not go there. On with- Jesus Christ, that makeshift cross I have sitting in the corner for the eventual vampire apocalypse is starting to make me feel… itchy.
TODAY’S FILM: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
It’s the goriest film people have seen that really isn’t gory. No, seriously- it’s harmless stuff! Everyone should see it! Hell, let’s start showing this one in the fourth grade for potential film students! I mean, you gotta start somewhere, right?
I could just be crazy. Trailer says what?
THE RECAP, BRICK PRIOR STYLE
NOTE: I already know that everyone in small towns are in cahoots, and not to eat the local awesome barbecue because it’s got people meat instead of animal meat. Also, I will possibly be telling things out of order and will omit things because I already can’t remember them. My brain is swiss cheese.
You know, I love the intro- it feels very Lovecraftian to me in its tone and style, until we’re headbutted with the title of the film: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
Then, of course… here come the pictures, brief little snapshots of the carnage that we think we’re in store for… the kicker?
The film isn’t graphically violent!
Sure, it’s violent- nothing like watching a hitchhiker cut himself with a knife- but the camera never lingers any welling blood or any closeups of the act itself- the shot in question is all about the glee that crazy-assed hitchhiker feels.
Here’s how it all goes down (in case you’ve never seen this movie, and if you haven’t… Netflix is your friend):
Sally and Franklin are off to see their grandfather’s grave, and Kirk, Jerry, and Pam are tagging along on one of those old-timey roadtrips where they get to see the sights and shoot the shit about the sights, et cetera, et cetera. This also involves picking up a hitchhiker, who pontificates about how using a gun is no good to kill cattle- you gotta smash their brains in with a hammer.
Keyword: cattle, for these kids are it.
The guy keeps yammering, starts cutting himself (never a good sign, dontcha know), taking pictures with a random camera, and setting one particular picture on fire. Of course, he gets even more batshit crazy after being refused $2 for a random picture he took and starts cutting up on poor Franklin (who I’ll get to later concerning how bugfuck annoying he is) so they kick him out the van, he starts smearing blood all over the side of the vehicle as the teens "leisurely" drive off (they do not floor it, which is… odd), and doing his little kooky dance, but don’t worry- we’ll be seeing him again.
SIDE NOTE: See? That’s why you shouldn’t pick up hitchhikers! They always wanna cut somebody! A movie in the Seventies had it happen, so IT MUST BE TRUE.
The kids go to the old family homestead, and since Franklin is a wheelchair user, he’s left outside to whine and complain about not having his knife, so he rolls on into the first floor and blows raspberries for twenty minutes complaining about everyone having fun upstairs, which makes me hate him.
After good times have been had, the kids head off to get gas, but there’s no gas to get. I think that’s one of them omens.
They play the Scooby-Doo game ("Let’s split up!"), and Kirk and Pam go fiddle around in and around someone else’s house in a search for gas… ya know, I understand that it’s a different era and whatnot, but I don’t get the logic behind "Hey, the door to this house is unlocked- let’s go in and see if anyone is home!"
IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!
Sorry. I can’t even force myself to type that out. Let me try again.
Say I have a marble, and there’s a marble I really want, then WHO THE FUCK CARES BECAUSE I SAY YOU SHOULDN’T GO INTO RANDOM HOUSES FOR THE HELL OF IT.
Kirk is looking around the house, and since he is Douche, Hear Him Slosh, he starts hearing all these odd pig noises coming from a closet. Since he’s concerned, he’s all "This is not the required domestic quarters for a pot-bellied pig- what manner of chicanery is this?", but out pops Leatherface (who is very spry for a big guy) and kills him with a sledgehammer to the skull.
Pam’s wondering where Kirk went off to, and starts looking around the house- she stumbles upon a room decorated with lots of bones and chicken feathers and whatnot, runs into Leatherface who chases her out the house and then DRAGS HER RIGHT BACK THE FUCK IN, picks her up, walks her into his "Guttin’ Place" and quite promptly hangs her up on a hook before he cuts Kirk’s head off.
So, we’re down to three! Those three folks are worried, so it’s up to Jerry to see what the fuck is going on. He strolls on up to the house, looks around a bit, discovers Pam’s body in a freezer (in an awesome scare, her dead body spazzes around like she was alive), and promptly takes a sledgehammer to the skull for Leatherface’s third kill in about fifteen minutes.
It’s getting dark out. Franklin and Sally (after some bickering) decide to look for everyone else, so they go bopping along in the dark woods until Franklin hears something. It just happened to be his impending death, because Leatherface pops out and introduces his chest to a chainsaw, causing Sally to hightail it through the woods and, wouldn’t you know it, SHE RUNS INTO THE GODDAMN HOUSE!
Up the steps Sally goes only to find an old man in a room, who she pleads with for help… but the man’s unresponsive. Sally’s all freaking out when, hey… there’s chicken bones and all other sorts of weird shit in this room!
She tries to give Leatherface a head fake and slip past him, but he comes running up the steps so she does the smartest thing ever.
SHE JUMPS OUT THE WINDOW!
Two stories down and she’s still running! She manages to make it back to the gas station and pleads with the owner to help her but hippy dippy shit, he’s in CAHOOTS~! with everyone else! He beats the fuck out of her with a broom and takes her back to the house where it’s dinner time!
When she comes to, Sally’s tied down and screaming- and just a note, the last twenty minutes of this movie is all screaming. I should be used to it as a language after that last viewing of Van Helsing, but for fuck’s sake, "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" has never been a coherent sentence that moves the story along.
And now, I carry on.
So, Sally’s screaming, and the whole family’s there! The hitchhiker, Leatherface, Gas Station Owner, and Grandpa! Hooray Grandpa- wait, why’s Grandpa not moving? I know what to do, gang! Cut Sally’s finger and stick it in his mouth so the red, red kroovy can get the old geezer going again!
THEY DID IT! HOORAY!
So, she’s still screaming, and somebody goes "IT’S FEEDING TIME, BOYS!" and quicker than you can say "That was a Marvel Zombies reference, wasn’t it?" they’ve got Sally over to the killing place and are smacking her in the skull with a hammer in order to finish her off. They give Grandpa the hammer to do the honors, but he hasn’t had enough blood! He’s too weak to hold it! What’s Sally gonna do?!
She’s gonna go completely crazy and run the fuck away, that’s what!
The hitchhiker gives chase, slashing the girl across her back with his straight razor about sixty-four times, but she makes it to the highway, and he makes like roadkill thanks to smacking off the front end of a truck. Score one for the good guys! Unfortunately, Leatherface shows up, chases Sally and the truck driver, but gets clocked with a wrench (+3 on Tossing Wrenches for that particular driver) and falls, dropping the chainsaw on his leg. Sally climbs into another truck, and gibbers and laughs maniacally as the truck drives away, leaving Leatherface all alone in the middle of the road doing his little special dance.
What’s the moral of this movie?
DON’T WALK AROUND IN STRANGERS’ HOUSES BECAUSE THEY WILL HAVE YOU FOR DINNER! IN PIECES! AND WITH A NICE BARBECUE SAUCE!
BRICK PRIOR’S FINAL WORDS FOR THE DAY
For what it’s worth, this is the film that started it all- it’s also something that hasn’t been replicated since- you can tout the success of Halloween when it came out and a couple of other movies here and there, but I feel like TCM holds up just a bit more. It succeeds on pretty much every level, including Most Annoying Character in Franklin. Good Lord, the only character in horror history to give him a run for the money in that category would be Shelley from Friday the 13th Part 3, but at least he’s responsible for Jason getting his hockey mask, so he’s just a smidge more tolerable.
However, there would be one character in a Tobe Hooper film that would redefine the term "bugfuck crazy".
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I'm happy that you enjoy it! Here is Day 3!
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It's like the fate of the world depends on me! Day 4!
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This is awesome. This is making me want to bust out some old zombie movies and take a mental health day. Maybe next week!