I discovered a love of horror movies during the summer between 5th and 6th grade. I was lucky enough to not just love Halloween but to also have been born in October. What this ended up meaning was that whenever my birthday rolled around I’d have a horror movie marathon with my friends. The first versions of these movie marathons were sleepovers. It was at one of these sleepovers that I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
At that point in my life I was all about gore. Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Toxic Avenger... those were the movies that I was interested in. Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s slow pace and lack of gore basically just meant I was bored as were everyone that attended the party.
In high school I found an old VHS copy for sale for a $1. It was the day before halloween and I decided to pick up a copy strictly to watch that year while kids were trick-r-treating. It was a slow burn that particular year, so instead of handing out candy, I was just enjoying the movie. All the things that made me dislike it those many years ago where the exact reason I loved it.
It’s atmospheric, it’s eerie and it’s brilliantly paced. Gun to my head I’d even vote it the greatest horror movie ever made. The final 20 minutes are a prime example of how editing can create tension. The film went from being long static shots to a chaotic cut every other second. When mixed with the soundtrack and the screaming you get a nightmarish quality not seen in modern horror.
If you call yourself a horror fan and you’ve never watched this low-budget masterpiece, you need to fix that.