Movie Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Synopsis: After hearing reports of grave robbing and vandalism, a pair of siblings check on their grandfather's grave and, with a group of their friends, visit the now-abandoned family homestead. While their, they meet a psychotic hitchhiker and are chased by someone wearing a leather mask and carrying a chainsaw.

Who's in it? The movie stars Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Edwin Neal, Gunnar Hansen and William Vail.

Review: It had been a while since I took the time to watch the original version of this movie (I've only seen the remakes and sequels recently). So, when I had an opportunity to do so this weekend, I took the time to sit down with my wife and do just that. After seeing this film again, I must admit my opinion of it is a bit mixed.

Of all the movies with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre name attached to them, I think this one is the best of them. Part of the reason for that is I like how the movie maintains a reasonably fast pace. The killing (or at least the suspense) starts almost right away. The movie doesn't get too bogged down with character introductions.

In fact, one of the best things about this movie is the way it avoids giving us too much of a back story about Leatherface (Hansen) and his family. Many of the later films do this and make the family seem more comical than scary.

One thing I found I really didn't like about this movie was the brother (Paul A. Partain). Usually, if you have a character in a wheelchair, the movie writers make him somewhat likable. In this case, he was actually quite irritating, to the point I was hoping he would be killed early on and in the most painful way possible.

I also thought the end of this movie was drawn out a little too much. It was mostly the sister (Burns) running around screaming and, after a while, I began to wonder how funny it would be to watch that with the Benny Hill theme song playing in the background, especially when that truck driver got involved.

Final Opinion: The movie, like most horror films, has some flaws. But, as I said before, it is still the best film from this series of movies and one I would recommend taking the time to watch at least once.

My Grade: B


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