The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Film that Terrified a Rattled Nation
Published by Skyhorse, 2019. 304 pages.
By Joseph Lanza
For those that are thinking this is just another book about the Tobe Hooper classic, reading more tales of the notorious film, they are in for a big surprise. I grew up in the early ’70s but am surprised to read about all the stuff going on in the world that I was apparently oblivious too because I was so young. With all the chaos on in the world back then, I’m kind of glad I was too young to know or care about. So a good portion of this book is about just that, all the craziness throughout the world, from gas shortages, meat shortages, trouble overseas, different political scandals and nefarious deeds, serial killers, all coming from the decade of peace and love.
Lanza knows his history and lays it out for the reader to intake, setting the times that Hooper’s film was coming to life and how it was effecting the production, not just in Hooper, but the entire cast and crew. While this book is not going to fill you with more and more details about the actual making of it, you will read about the possible influences that had a hand in shaping this film, then you will find this book very intriguing. There are some things that might be taking a stretch when it comes to hidden subtext, such as the signage at the gas station/BBQ joint the cook runs. But there are more than a few things that seemed like it definitely was the reasoning behind it, such as when the cook is worried about making sure the lights are turned off to save electricity. Continue reading
With the holiday season approaching, we are always seeking out just the right gift for that special person in our lives. Now this may come as a bit of a surprise, but I’m a pretty big proponent of books. Yeah, I know….shocker, huh? But honestly, why buy something like a movie for this person (when chances are they might already have it!?!?!) that is just going to sit on a shelf until they get around to watching it. Okay…same could be said for a book…especially in my house. But honestly, a book will stay longer with them, by teaching them something they didn’t know before, which will allow a few different things to happen. For instances, if you get them a biography, they will learn about this particular person, be it a director or actor, which will help them appreciate and understand their work each and every time they watch one of their movies. If it is a simple film guide, it could open up a bunch of titles to them that they might not have known about yet. Or even if it is a book about the genre in general, it could open up some understanding as a whole, which always helps you appreciate it even more, getting you to think about these films possibly a little different than you had before.
Earlier this year, when Christopher Lee passed away, he was really the last of the great horror icons from my generation. Along with Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, playing updated versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and a variety of other different monsters, these were the famous actors known for their horror roles that I grew up on. The next generation grew up on the likes of Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, and of course, Leatherface.
Gunnar Hansen was the first one to wear the human skin mask, chase dumb kids who wandered on his property, and dance with the chain saw. And no one did with such style as Hansen. He showed us fans, that Leatherface was much more than a huge brute with a deadly saw, but a disturbed and troubled young man, with some obvious social issues. But this came out in Hansen’s performance, which is even more incredible when you know what these poor actors went through to get this film actually made.