director Tobe Hooper
This viewing of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was for the kids. Like any good parent, I try to expose them to the classics. I’d last watched it 14 years ago, the first year I was keeping this film diary. It was fresh and fierce then and it still is today.
Watching movies with my kids is something I really appreciate. I enjoy experiencing things with them and often vicarious enjoyment gives off contact highs better than I would get watching them alone.
This was a bit of a mixed bag here. Though my son screamed aloud once (and immediately laughed at himself), my daughter was asking how much longer the film had during the late scene of nonstop screaming and terrorizing of Marilyn Burns. It piqued a curious point of interest for me, this elongated torture/terror. It is drawn out, and it is uncomfortable (perhaps at best). The victimization of women, though, as common a trope in horror all the way back to Edgar Allan Poe, isn’t inherently misogynist here. Especially in light of the current national dialogue as we seek to elect a president.
I recalled the first time I saw TCM, back in the 1980’s. The movie had such word-of-mouth buzz that it was almost an urban legend. It’s shocking reality was also nearly matched by its shocking 1970’s-ness (which is the Eighties seemed a bad thing). Featuring less gore than a lot of films, it was hard to appreciate the film properly. I feel that it has grown in my estimation in my adult viewings. And validated again here.
I still haven’t fully discussed it with my kids (we did a bit), so I don’t know their full take on the film. I tried not to overhype it other than to say it was a true horror classic, a solid entry in our October horror festival. It is interesting, though, to see a film from a fresh vantage, another reason watching with my kids is satisfying for me, especially now at 12 and 15, we can watch movies like this.
A brilliant film.