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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Special Edition) (18)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD FEATURES: 72-minute documentary 'The Shocking Truth'; Director and cast interviews; 16-page collectors booklet; Full length commentary with Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and actor Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface); Deleted scenes and alternate footage; Original theatrical trailers; Original TV ads; Sequel trailers; Stills, posters and lobby cards; DVD-ROM link.

DESCRIBED in certain quarters as 'the most purely horrifying horror movie ever made', Tobe Hooper's 1974 shocker, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, remains one of the most talked about films of all time.

Rather like its equally chilling successor, The Blair Witch Project, Hooper's movie unravelled its terrifying tale by pretending that it was based in fact, drawing audiences into a nightmarish world in which a vanload of kids wander off the highway in rural Texas and trespass on the wrong farm.

The property in question is owned by a family of hideously grotesque degenerates, led by the chainsaw wielding Leatherface, who waste no time in killing the male members of the teenagers, before subjecting the remaining screaming women to all manner of hideous torture (witness the extremely creepy dinner party scene, or the climactic, drawn out chase).

Along the way, audiences have to contend with sledgehammers and meathooks, as well as the aforementioned chainsaw, all of which ensure a stomach-churning descent into hell - although, in truth, the film is not as violent as its long-time ban suggests.

 

What really does disturb, however, is the low-budget feel to proceedings, which lends the film its documentary-style edge, while the imagery which lingers throughout is especially warped, from the corpse wired to a grave which opens the movie, to the horror house itself, filled with human and animal bones - all used as furniture.

Though short (a mere 83 minutes), the film rarely lets up throughout, while the scream-fest which ends the movie is as nerve-shredding as anything you are likely to see in modern-day, special effects-driven horror fare.

Hooper's movie remains, to this day, one of the definitive horror movies of all time, a chilling folk tale that is hard to shake from the memory once witnessed. It spawned two sequels, neither of which were any good, and is set to be remade, big-budget style; but it is doubtful whether this will come close to recapturing the sense of dread and unease which permeates the original.

Stylish or subtle it may not be, but downright warped and disturbed it remains. One for the horror purists only, it comes in a DVD packed with extras that any fan will want to see, from the 72-minute documentary exposing 'the shocking truth' behind the story, to the director and cast interviews, and deleted/alternate scenes.

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