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  • Watching Old Movies on the Big Screen: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Posted on June 15th, 2018 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Most of us were born too late to watch flicks like The Maltese Falcon and Gone With The Wind in the theater. In my case, I was born too late to even see things like Jaws on the big screen.

    Luckily for us, over the years some local art house theaters showed some of the best…lucky, if you were lucky enough to live near one. For most of my life the best I could hope for was a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, although in the 90’s I did get to see Casablanca at the local 4-screen cinema, and Dracula vs. Frankenstein at an Art House.

    Now, between Fathom Events doing special viewings at out local multi-plex, and multiple art houses doing special engagements, I’ve been lucky enough to catch some great ones…and some not so great but really fun ones.

    In the past two years I FINALLY got to see The Shining on the big screen…Raiders of the Lost Ark again…The Maltese Falcon…and more recently Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Not all from the mid-century era, I know, but still cool.

    Tonight we are going to see one of my top favorite movies of all time…The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original from 1974. It’s part of the Popcorn Fright Nights Film Festival being held at Savor Cinema, aka/previously Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In a wonderful tribute to the theme of the movie, they are including a BBQ dinner. I’m not asking what kind of meat it is.

    It may seem odd to consider “Chainsaw” to be an old movie. But when you think about it…Maltese Falcon is from 1941…which means Falcon was only 33 years old when Chainsaw came out…and Chainsaw, at the time of this writing, came out 44 years ago! Mind blown yet?

    What’s the big deal about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

    When I was a kid, the movie was already a legend. This was before VHS or cable, so the only way to see old movies was on TV. And this movie, as far as I know, NEVER made it to TV. It was talked about as being so violent, so gory, that it had been banned in several countries (this turned out to be true). So kids like us never got to see it, at all.

    Then HBO came along in the 1980s, along with video tape rentals. I got to see The Shining for the first time on HBO (and it screwed with my head for years). Then I finally got to rent Chainsaw as a teenager. I was not disappointed. Not only was it a good horror movie, it was just insane. The way it was filmed, the art direction, everything about this movie was so different from Freddie and Jason and Micheal, so gritty and a REAL. Disturbingly real. The low-budget only affected the quality in so much as it made it more realistic, more insane.

    Some of the things that stood out to me, that made the film really stand out and enjoyable:

    (Spoilers ahead):

    • That claustrophobic van. It reminded me of the stifling heat riding in my Dad’s van, no AC, middle of the summer. Horrifying.
    • The creepy guy washing the bugs off the van at the gas station.
    • Realizing later in the movie what the “barbecue” they ate at the gas station actually was.
    • Creepy abandoned looking house with dozens of cars parked close together, under camo. Who’s cars are they?
    • That sliding steel door.
    • The body jumping around as his nervous system reacted and died out.
    • Are those real chickens? Are those real bones?
    • Nice sofa.
    • Girl on a hook.
    • Finally killed that annoying guy in the wheel chair.
    • Poking the girl with the broom handle and laughing.
    • Whack on the head with the hammer.
    • Are those dead bodies mummified in those chairs?
    • Holy cow that guy isn’t a mummy, he’s still alive!
    • Who’s your interior decorator? Oh, right.
    • Guy getting run over with all the wheels of the truck.
    • Chainsaw on the leg!

    I can go on and on, but I think you get the idea. If you’re a fan of the movie, you’re saying, “Oh yeah!”, if you haven’t seen it, you’re saying, “Whut?” That’s ok. You need to see it. Here’s the trailer:

     

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the Screening Room at Tiki Lounge Talk

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of 1000 Corpses for Mod Movie Monday!

    Posted on September 21st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    house-chainsaw-postersContinuing our Creature Double Feature series from now until Halloween…Here’s two of the most horrific films ever made:

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974

    and

    House of 1000 Corpses, 2003

    The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was done on a shoestring budget by a group of mostly inexperienced film makers who wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before 1974: A truly gruesome horror film. Because of the low budget and other factors…like the type of film they got cheap, the fact that the couldn’t afford plastic prop bones and were trying to get a PG rating…the film turned out to be an extremely realistic, disturbing movie with visuals that will stick in your brain for years.

    Texast Chainsaw Massacre

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    House of 1000 Corpses is Rob Zombie’s ode to Chainsaw. Using digital technology and an additional 25 years of film-making expertise, he recreated the style right down to the over-exposed daylight scenes and realistically insane characters…just  not with a low budget. Chainsaw was over-the-top and disturbing in 1974…Corpses blows by it without any stops, quintupling the gore, blood, insanity and fantasy in such a realistic way you’ll be believing in monsters by the end.

    House of 1000 Corpses

    House of 1000 Corpses

    There are more similarities between these two movies than just the style. Chainsaw is about a group of young friends traveling through Texas that get unintentionally drawn into world of a family of insane, inbred wackadoos that torture, kill, etc etc. Corpses is about a group of young friends traveling to discover the truth behind the legend of famed murderer, who unintentionally get drawn into…ok, you get the picture. The main difference between the two is how Zombie went all out, with dead cheerleaders, carnival freaks, intense violence and gallons of blood, whereas Chainsaw is more focused, more direct and down to earth about the horrors.

    Texast Chainsaw Massacre

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Some interesting notes on Chainsaw: Because of the low budge the film makers couldn’t afford plastic prop skeletons. Instead, they bought real human skeletons and bones from India. There are also a lot of animal bones, feathers, etc. in the film. These are real. They acquired remains from animal shelters and burned the carcasses in the back yard where they were filming. The black cloud of smoke and the stench caused the sheriff to close off the highway near the filming location, and almost got the film closed down with it. Oh, and by the way…the money used to make this film was basically laundered from the profits of Deep Throat. Ain’t life crazy?

    thetexaschainsawbench

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    My take: I didn’t get to see chainsaw until I was in my 20s. I’m glad I didn’t see it sooner. I’m pretty sure I would have had nightmares for years. I was actually afraid…yes, afraid…to see Corpses in the movies when it came out. I had to psych myself up for months to watch it on DVD, and it still disturbed the hell out of me. The imagery is so intense, so out there that unless you’re a seasoned horror film addict it will probably blow your mind.

    A funny note: I actually saw Texas Chainsaw II on HBO not long after it came out in the early 1980s. It was nothing like the original. The fact that they had a decent budget worked against them, and it just turned out to be another run-of-the-mill 80s slasher flick. HOWEVER…I just happened to be watching while making a pot of my famous Texas Chili for an upcoming Halloween party. Here’s the funny part: Chainsaw II is about the nuts using human meat to make Chili for a Chili contest, and as I was mixing up my Chili, they were mixing up theirs. Needless to say, I’ve served Texas Chainsaw Chili at every Halloween party since.

    House of 1000 Corpses

    House of 1000 Corpses

    Food & Booze: Well, what else…Chili. Made with people, if you can murder yourself some young chicks. For drinks I’d recommend a nice Chianti. As for Corpses…you’re not going to want to eat anything while watching this flick. If anything, you’ll want to have a bucket handy.

    -Spooky Tiki Chris reporting from the barbecue pit behind the smokeshack at Tiki Lounge Talk, the hep & happenin’ joint for Halloween-lovin’ kats and kittens.