nce the infamous tale's initial breakthrough with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, cannibal/serial killer Ed Gein was once again portrayed in a light that would forever set a new foundation in horror cinema.
Director Tobe Hooper took the true story of Wisconn's grisly 1950's murders and amplified the terror rating by throwing in an entire family of sadistic butchers, a chainsaw as the prominent murder mechanism and the portrait of a maniac who eventually would become a horror icon. The legacy of Leatherface was born.
The story follows a group of teens riding cross-country through the roads of rural Texas in their hipster van to resurface memories and kick back at their grandfather's old farmhouse. But contrary to their knowledge, their relaxing joyride would soon run into a killjoy they could never imagine. Their first mistake along the way: picking up a hitchhiker along a deserted road just outde a slaughterhouse. One of my personal favorite quotes from the annoying, but comical Franklin (Paul A. Partain) in the film, "I think we just picked up Dracula," summed up this sequence perfectly.
Following character development and the film’s first shock experience involving the hitchhiker, the initial execution happens with an old-fashioned cattle-style bludgeoning to the head, and our antagonist pack finds themselves shoved into the nightmare of a human slaughterhouse. Leatherface’s rampage was just beginning.
Gunnar Hansen couldn’t portray Leatherface better. Not only does his burly, tall stature get the job done alone, but his spontaneous movements and lack of actually speaking any distinguishable dialogue (the idea of Leatherface’s character is a severely mentally challenged individual) radiates the eerie, ominous features perfectly.
Marilyn Burns, who portrays Sally, is quite the “scream queen” herself with enough credible reactions, especially during the dinner sequence, to think as if she were actually living through the terror on screen. And speaking of dinner, according to the cast and crew, the dinner shot was “one of the worst experiences” shooting the film due to having real food as props tting out for weeks basting in the summer Texas heat wave. Also as a result of the project’s micro budget, Hansen had only one shirt available for the film’s approximate four weeks to complete, all without ever having it washed as Hooper wanted to prevent tampering with props and keep the film’s constency.
Overall, “Chainsaw” has that vintage feel with much emphas placed on implied violence rather than actual on-screen imagery that, in return, works to provide the ultimate thrilling experience to let your mind create its own macabre depictions. The film’s soundtrack was also intended to generate obscure sounds that an animal may hear inde a slaughterhouse.
A true clasc, forever, in my book.
LOVE THIS MOVIE. Bedes Michael Myers, Leatherface is definitely one of my fav. serial killers of all time. These movies are so creepy. Perfect setting, perfect acting, perfect plot. Love it.
Definitely an instant clasc. I also REALLY like the 2003 remake and its' sequel as well! These stories are so damn creepy. I think my favorite Texas Chainsaw movie in the entire series though would be "Leatherface". Viggo Mortinson stars in it and is PERFECT for his role in my opinion, and the family is ultra fucked up as always. Definitely a must-see in the Texas Chainsaw series.