Friday, October 17, 2014

Favorite Scene Friday! The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Meet Leatherface

Our newest horror-themed FSF is by none other than the horror-averse Nick from French Toast Sunday! Yes, one of Nick's favorite genres is "not horror". When not watching scary movies, you can find Nick on the FTS podcast or reviewing new flicks over on their site. You can check out all of Nick's FTS posts here. Follow him on twitter - @therehak.

French Toast Sunday

To be honest, I don’t know why I asked to participate in this series. If you know me, I’m very vocal about my fear of horror films. I just can’t do it. I even hide my face during horror movie trailers (ask any member of FTS, they’ll tell you). My problem is, when I watch something, my brain holds onto those images, and then I can’t fall asleep at night without my brain showing me those images every time I close my eyes. The only way to combat that is to stay up all night until it’s daytime OR I turn all the lights on in the house. Why all the lights? Well, as we all know, monsters don’t come out in the light, they only come out when it’s dark. I whole-heartedly believed that until I saw Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). This film was a terrifying exclamation that horror doesn’t happen at night, it can happen anytime.

Vogler Art via JoBlo

About 32 or so minutes into the film, Kirk and Pam set off to find a local swimming hole, as you do in the middle of nowhere Texas. They discover that the swimming hole is all dried up, but they see a generator running, maybe someone nearby can point them in the direction of a proper swimming hole? Wrong. Absolutely wrong. They come across a generic non-descript looking house. Kirk knocks a few times and finds himself inside, leaving Pam outside. He hears some squeals coming from the back of the house. Probably a pig right? I mean, they did drive past a slaughterhouse earlier. Kirk explores the hallway and attempts to walk through a doorway. All of a sudden, Leatherface. The scare causes Kirk to trip and fall, and while on the ground, Leatherface bashes Kirk’s head in with a hammer. It’s a soft, almost mute thud sound as Kirk is struck not once, but several times. It’s not this over the top crunch or smack effect sound, it’s natural and real. You can feel the bones in his skull breaking with every hammer hit. Kirk's body goes into shock and he spasms and bleeds like a slaughtered pig. Leatherface drags him away and slams a metal door behind him, cue music.

Let that set in a second. In the middle of the day, in broad fucking daylight, inside a normal-seeming home, a man’s skull is brutally bashed in with a hammer and is dragged away, THEN the music happens. There is nothing to prepare you for the kill. No build-up. It attacks you and catches you off guard much like Leatherface catches Kirk. Wham! It happens, you accept it, then realize Leatherface, and this film, are not fucking around. You are not going to make it out alive.

So you’d think the scene would be over, right? WRONG! Pam, sitting on a swing outside, calls to Kirk. No answer. She enters the home and all we hear is the generator outside running. Pam walks around the home and falls into a room filled with chicken feathers and bones. The music kicks in, a low dull humbuzz rattle that builds. She screams and is immediately greeted by Leatherface who runs after her and catches her just as she makes it out the door. He RUNS. He doesn’t walk. He doesn’t say something funny or campy. He bolts after, catches her, and laughs, LAUGHS, as he carries her into the kitchen and hangs her from a meat hook. Did I mention Leatherface is laughing? All of this is accentuated by the humbuzz rattle that builds, a semitone at a time, twisting and turning your stomach at the unknown horror still to come.

Scene’s over, right? NOPE. Like any sundae, it’s not complete without the cherry. And the cherry on top of this psycho-nightmare is Pam, hanging from a meat hook, watching and screaming in horror as Leatherface revs up his chainsaw and begins to dismember Kirk right in front of her. Cut to weather vane.

What's your favorite scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

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