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
Next weekend we will be heading out the Midway Drive-In for their annual Dust-to-Dawn Horrorfest, and this year they have one hell of a lineup. Then again, they always do! This year’s lineup consists of the following titles:
- The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s incredible remake that has never lost its impact!
- The Blob (1988) – Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont’s excellent remake of this great classic, and one that still holds up.
- The Funhouse (1981) – One of Tobe Hooper’s lesser known films but that is a great chapter to his long career.
- Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) – With a title like that, can you tell it was directed by Fred Olen Ray? Starring Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. As the ads say, “They Charge an Arm and a Leg!”
Mark your calendars! September 22nd is the day for this year’s Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorfest at the Midway Drive-In, in Dixon, IL. If you haven’t ever experienced an all night horror movie marathon at a drive-in theater, then now is your chance.
As horror fans, we lost some huge icons this last year. Some were older and some went way too soon. But because of their work in cinema, they will never entirely be gone from us. We can always pop in a DVD or Blu-ray and they will be just as alive as we remembered, giving us even more entertainment than before.
Being a fan of cinema for any length of time, you would think one could get used to losing some of their movie heroes and idols, but it still hurts when you ponder “what if they were to make just one more film?” Being a fan of cinema also helps keep their memory of what they did make alive and well. And by continuing to sing their praises, we can introduce them to the next generation of cinema lovers, so they can experience the same joy that we did, and still do, each and every time we bust out one of their movies.
There are certain names in the horror genre that are known as icons, or one of the Masters of Horrors. And yesterday, the genre and the fans lost another one of them, Tobe Hooper. Regardless of the ups and downs of his filmography, he will always be remembered for directing the infamous 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which still is as gritty, scary, and damn entertaining as it was when it first assaulted movie audiences over forty years ago. His adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1979) still remains as one of the best made-for-TV movies of that decade, not to mention other entertaining titles in his filmography, such as The Funhouse (1981), Lifeforce (1985), and of course, the bat-shit-crazy sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).
Hooper passed away yesterday at the age of 74. For as long as there are horror movie fans, there will be screenings of TCM. And with each of those viewings, there will be some watching it for the first time that will be amazed and entranced at what they see on screen, possibly even inspiring them to try and do what Hooper and company did all those years ago in the dead heat of a Texas summer all those years ago.
You definitely will never be forgotten, Mr. Hooper. Thank you for the scares. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
Taking the very risky job of the lead role in the sequel to one of the most famous horror movies ever made, Caroline Williams put 110% into her role as Stretch, the radio DJ who has a run in with the Sawyer family. Williams is one of the sweetest and nicest people you could talk to. She goes way out of her way to make her fans know her appreciation for what she has been giving. While at the Flashback Weekend in June of 2008, we sat down with Caroline to talk about chainsaws, Leprechauns, and those wacky creators that helped bring this sequel to life.
Kitley’s Krypt: How did you become involved with Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2?