After hearing the news that vandals have desecrated the graveyard in which their grandfather was buried, Sally (Marilyn Burns) and Franklin (Bill A. Partain) travel out to the country with a few friends to see whether their dearly departed had been disturbed. After discovering all is well, the siblings decide to go and visit their grandpa’s old house. On the way, they pick up a weird looking hitchhiker who cuts himself and slashes Franklin before being kicked out of the camper van. When they reach the old house, a couple of the youngsters go off in search for fuel for the van and they discover another farmhouse with a working generator. They go inside and are soon murdered by the chainsaw mad man we’ve all come to know as Leatherface. When the pair fail to return home, the remaining three friends decide to go looking and, one by one, they are picked off by the neighbours.
Well, what a load of tripe this one turned out to be! The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is, apparently, world renowned as the film that changed the face of horror and was banned at the time of its release, although I’m not entirely sure why. Was it commonplace in the 70s for nuns and bishops to be on the censorship boards? The only reason I ask is because the film was harmless. I mean, I thought Saw was a let down, but that was nothing compared to the damp squid this turned out to be. After everything I’d heard about it, I half expected to not sleep for a month. The honest-to-God truth of it all was that I was actually struggling not to fall asleep through it.
I’m not even entirely sure of what to say about the performances. They largely just involved people running around screaming and then dropping down dead whenever they got hit over the head with a sledge hammer or slashed with a chainsaw. There was, of course, that one character that really irritated me (Franklin), and if I’m honest with you, the best part of the film besides the rolling of the end credits, was when he was killed. I genuinely nearly called for a day of national celebration.
Ever since watching the film, I’ve been racking my brains as to why The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was possibly banned, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that the big selling point of the film is that it is based in a true story. I’m sorry to say even that’s a washout because the only links to a real life event are the grave robberies and the human trophies. There was actually a mad man who ran around Texas cutting everyone up with his good old trusty chainsaw. There was just Ed Gein, and he didn’t do half of what happened in the film.
Overall, I really wouldn’t expect great things from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre of you are still thinking of watching it. The reasons as to why it was banned mystify me, and what bothers me even more is that it supposedly revolutionised horror films. I personally think that raises a lot of questions, the main one being what the hell were we watching before this?