I think i've watched 'THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE' for the last time.

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Inspector Hammer!, Jun 14, 2003.

  1. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    First off, I have never really been a fan of the film. I realize it's highly regarded by horror fans as a classic and I can understand that, but I just never found it to be any good.

    Well, I decided to give it another shot today in a last ditch effort to like the film, it had been at least 10 years since I saw it last.

    Something quite unexpected happened.

    I still disliked the film, but not for the reasons I previously thought. Originally, I didn't care for it because I didn't care for the acting and it just wasn't as good or gory as most made it out to be. Purely superficial reasons, I didn't think hard enough about what I saw in this film the last time.

    But today, I had an attack of morals during the film and it made for a very uncomforatable and disturbing experience...and not in a good way. The film is so grotesque in it's depiction of human depravity that it offended me really. Seeing what is done to these poor kids in the film made me think of people that are important to me in my life, and how i'd feel if these terrible things were done to them.

    For instance, there is a girl that I really like, one that I care about, it hurt's me to the very core of my soul to think how i'd feel if some maniac with a chainsaw did something like that to her. Do you know what i'm saying here? Think real hard about your wife or your girlfriend and how it would effect you. To have someone you love murdered and ripped from your life. The film touches on the true meaning and impact of murder, at least for me.

    Getting too intense over this film? Perhaps I am, but these are the thing's I thought about while watching it today. Why am I getting this itense over this film? Maybe it's the fact that my mother is going in for lung cancer surgery this coming Friday, and this fact combined with this film at this particular moment in time has had a strange psychological effect on my psyche.

    It's because of this that I most certainly do not find this movie to be fun escapism, it's just plain amoral, sick and inspires bad feelings in me. It'll be days until I get the image of that wheelchair bound kid's demise out of my head! [​IMG]

    If everything i've said was Tobe Hooper's desired effect, he deserves all the praise he's garnered, the film finally worked on me. A horror film for me should contain at least a few elements of fantasy to de-fuse the violence, to allow my mind to focus on having fun with the story, film's like Halloween do this, this film does not. It's far too realistic to be fun.

    I may be going soft, but seeing the sensless slaughter of another human being in the manner that's portrayed in TTCM is just something I cannot watch now. It's a shame too, if the film weren't so damned realistic and twisted, i'd actually like it now! The last time I saw it I didn't appreciate things like cinematography and style, this film has plenty of both.
     
  2. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>Originally, I didn't care for it because I didn't care for the acting
     
  3. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    Here...this might help...ITS A MOVIE! And a horror movie at that...chill...yes its realistic...so's Silence of the Lambs...you not like that one either...
     
  4. Anthony Neilson

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    With respect, I absolutely disagree with Joshua. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is not particularly realistic. Nobody can say that a Hannibal Lecter couldn't exist but instances of incredibly urbane and empathic (which he would have to be to have such great insight into Starling) serial killers are rare at best. HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a far more truthful depiction of the subject.
    LAMBS is what I would call a CATHARTIC horror movie, where ultimately evil is vanquished and order restored. These films - and the majority of mainstream horror movies - are designed to thrill you as you watch them but they are not intended to disturb you beyond that. The ludicrous, sub-Roger Moore ending of LAMBS is the only proof you need of that.

    CHAINSAW, however, is a good example of the NIGHTMARE horror movie. These films abandon normal narrative structure for a dream structure. Events are linear but irrational and, whilst they may resolve in some way, order - and horror movies are really about the absence of order - is not fully restored. David Lynch is a great master of this, which is why his films are TRULY scary. BLAIR WITCH also falls into this category.

    I admire TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE greatly for its sheer effectiveness as a Nightmare movie but I absolutely understand what John's talking about. Knowing the amount of time and care it takes to make a movie, I'm never quite sure how an artist can spend that amount of time on a project which is basically about a young woman being hideously terrorised. The older you get, and the more empathically bonded you become to the people (and dare I say, the women) around you, the harder this film gets to watch. It's complicated by the fact that some of it is very funny, and it's difficult to reconcile these two things.

    But Joshua, don't misinterpret what John is saying as some kind of call for censorship. I don't believe he's saying that. What seems to disturb him is not the fact that the film exists, but the thinking of the artists behind it. You have to remember, though, that Hooper was a young man at the time, obviously passionate about the genre and I daresay a little less in touch with mortality. Art is a mirror for each of us, and we will each see different things in that mirror as we age. Let there be mirrors for everyone and let us each choose which ones we look into.
     
  5. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    I think the aim for Tobe Hopper was to scare the shit outta people...obviously they did that and brought a little bit of real life to the situation and maybe made a few realize that stuff such as this has happened before...after Chainsaw is based on a true story...
     
  6. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    The very first thought I had when I finished watching this movie was, "Hmmmm, he's from the state of Texas, and nobody thought to recruit Leatherface as a fullback or linebacker? Where's Mack Brown when you need him?"

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, John, stay away from I Spit on Your Grave and The Last House on the Left!
     
  8. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    It's obvious that TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is an art film in disguise as a horror movie (it resides in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection). As noted above, the film is a brilliant study in dream structure and nightmare logic, absolutely refusing to cave-in to the desire to give the audience a "good time". The fact that you are now finally being disturbed by the film only speaks to its effectiveness - that's what it's supposed to do.

    HALLOWEEN (which is a very effective picture) is a much worse offender, in that in its quest to provide escapism, it pretty much started the cycle of "knife-kill" films (Harlan Ellison's term) that equate illicit sex with sudden murder. It's one of the first films that seemingly wants you cheer for the killer, and it has a lot to answer for.
     
  9. Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Bjorn Olav Nyberg Supporting Actor

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    I once read an interview with Wes Craven, in which he said that the only two movies that really, really scared him was The exorcist and... Texas Chainsaw massacre - not necesarily so much because of the content itself, as the ideas it presented. In short what was scary was the fact that there were individuals out there capable of thinking it up. This holds true for myself as well, although I did not really figure it out in the same way before I read it...

    I must say the movies that usually has me pondering the morality of 'murder as entertainment' in movies tend to be those fun action movies though... but then I remind myself what the alternatives are [​IMG]
     
  10. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    Well it still has a basis in facts and things such as that have happened...whether its based on an actual true story or not...Bill in SOTL is based on Ed Gein and Ted Bundy I believe...so it has its place in fact as well...
     
  11. Stephen_L

    Stephen_L Supporting Actor

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    I share some of John's disquiet about films such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Speaking for myself, I think my concern is a product of being over forty years old. When you cross middle age, death becomes not an abstraction, but a reality. Parents and loved ones die, your own mortality looks you in the eye. As a result death and violence presented for entertainment becomes increasingly offensive. I'm not talking about stylized violence like the fights in martial arts pictures or gunfights in gangster pictures, but the close-up, casual realistic murder of human beings. I'll endure it for pictures of quality (Shindler's List, Saving Private Ryan) but I've lost my taste for most slasher horror pictures.

    Also as a physician who has worked in an ER, I can tell you that violence is ugly, disgusting and sad. One little watched film, Grand Canyon, by Lawrence Kasdan had one of the only real scenes of violence I've seen. Steve Martin's character is shot in the leg during a botched mugging. Unlike most films that shrug that off as a 'flesh wound' he lies in the street screaming, vomiting and pissing himself. We then see the orthopedic surgeons in surgery piecing his thigh back together. That's the real deal folks and after a while it just isn't entertaining anymore.

    I'm not knocking the folks that see the more violent films. When I was younger, thrillers were a rush for me too. But after a few years, the magic is gone in murder.
     
  12. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    Ur just an old sour-puce arent ya... [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I still love movies of this vein...Chainsaw...Last House on the Left...Halloween...I Spit on your Grave...love em to death...they kick those so called horror movies asses all over the place...
     
  13. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    John,

    It only makes sense that personal 'evolution' (for lack of a better word) may eventually cause you to like certain movies more or less as your life goes on.

    I used to think the "greedy jerks plummeting from the tower" sequence in The Towering Inferno was nastily entertaining. After seeing real people plummet from the World Trade Center, that scene leaves one nasty taste in my mouth.

    People change; their sensibilties change. If you think TCM is too realistic, that's kind of a compliment to Wes Craven - but I think your altered perespectives are completely normal.

    Most importantly, I hope everything goes well with your mother this weekend.
     
  14. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  15. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Durr on me!

    Craven

    Hooper!
     
  16. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

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    It's simple, realistic, and believable, not to mention cheap. If you know of a better formula for low budget horror I'd love to hear it. [​IMG]

    A couple interesting facts about the film...

    They let the MPAA review the script and they responded that it might be possible to get a PG rating as long as "they didn't show any blood", and that's what Tobe was shooting for. The MPAA obviously didn't realize the level of violence you could display without getting bloody.

    The dead Armadillo was initially going to be a dead dog, but Tobe thought it was too gruesome. [​IMG]
     
  17. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    As Jack and others have pointed out, I'm not sure you can limit this to TCM. I'd think if these are the reasons behind your feelings about this film, that they could be extrapolated to cover any horror film where the people in danger are always going to be someone's friends/family/spouse/children.

    Perhaps you'll just have to give up the horror genre?
     
  18. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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  19. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Scott,

    thanks for the words of encouragment.

    Jack,

    I have seen both of those films and fully intend to avoid them as well.

    Joshua,

    you missed the point of my opening post entirly. I KNOW it's only a movie, but what are movies for? To elicit a reaction, to stir emotions and make one feel a particular feeling. The way this film made me think and feel was VERY real, very real indeed, and I did not like it at all, it was ugly.

    As I said, I realize this film means a lot to horror fans, i'm a horror fan myself and don't intend to stop watching them, but one thing that was said is correct, I am definitely losing my taste for horror films like this one. I want to have a good time when I see a horror film, not feel bad and angry.

    I can live without this film. Great as it may be, i'll pass on it.
     
  20. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    I don't know why I read this thread, since I am really not a horror fan, and I have never seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But it has been interesting to read, with some good points raised in the discussion about the role of horror films.

    JOHN - Was sorry to read about your mother. You have my sympathies. My grandmother died about a year ago of cancer, and so I know that it's not an easy time. I hope and pray the surgery is successful.
     

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