The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (40th Anniversary restoration, 7/23)

One of the ultimate landmarks in modern horror film, Tobe Hooper’s astoundingly executed dose of visceral kineticism is the gritty look at down-home cannibalism in the outskirts of the Lone Star State that became an instant smash upon its release in 1974, and was the first film to genuinely fuse avant-garde experimental filmmaking techniques to the horror genre. Shell-shocked LSD-influenced editing, dislocating setpieces staged in searingly broad daylight and grinding musique concrète on the soundtrack all elevate The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from something merely “scary” to an indelible nightmare that never fails to freak the pants off of any viewer, first-time or otherwise. As well, the brilliant bits of scenic detail make you believe you’ve seen more than you really have, creating an atmosphere of pure hell on earth, as if the actual celluloid has been soaking in the air of a slaughterhouse for far too long. Most importantly, Hooper has more on his mind than to just give you a queasy feeling — he successfully posits that, in addition to mere entertainment, horror movies can also be works of art.
Dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974, DCP, 84 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”!
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