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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Reviews

Though its exploitation title would suggest that THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is just another mindless gore-fest, it is in fact an intelligent, absorbing, and deeply disturbing horror film that is nearly bloodless in its depiction of violence. Using the age-old technique of suggestion, combined with a gritty, well-executed (no pun intended) visual style, the film seems much bloodier than it actually is. Disturbed by news reports that vandals have been desecrating the remote Texas cemetery where her grandfather is buried, Burns and her wheelchair-bound brother, Partain, gather some of their friends and take the family van to see if their grandfather's grave is still intact. While in the area they decide to visit the old farmhouse where Grandpa lived. Nearby is another farmhouse--one decorated with grisly items made from human and animal skin and bones--in which resides a family of unemployed slaughterhouse workers, the most frightening of whom is "Leatherface" (Hansen), who wears a mask of human flesh and has a way with a chainsaw. Obviously based on real-life Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein (whose grotesque exploits also inspired Hitchcock's PSYCHO), THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is one of the best examples of the "horror of the family" subgenre, which takes as its subject the American family--traditionally a wholesome, positive force--and examines its dark side, the side that is claustrophobic, stifling, and incestuous. Tobe Hooper's film is deeply disturbing and is meant to be. The best films in the horror genre don't exist just to "scare" people but to examine the darker impulses, fears, taboos, and repressed desires found in human beings and to purge them from our collective subconscious.