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Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekly Top Five

Scary Movie Edition!

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Starring: Gunnar Hansen

Beyond a doubt nothing has ever scared the living crap out of me quite like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I watched this film for the first time on Halloween when I was 13 years old* and from the opening shot of a dead armadillo on the side of the road I knew that there was something different, something terrible about this movie. Supposedly based on a true story** director Tobe Hooper enhances the realism by filming the whole thing in a documentary style, which for a 13-year-old boy only made the experience that much more terrifying.

While the film met mixed critical reception upon release it has since gained a reputation as one of the most influential horror films of all time, primarily because it both invented and eschewed simultaneously several of horror’s greatest clichés. Much of the film centers on chainsaw-wielding maniac, Leatherface, chasing various horny teenagers around the torched Texas countryside, which would seem clichéd if it weren’t for the fact that Hooper practically invented this scenario. On top of that, by having so much of the action take place in broad daylight, the sense of realistic dread is only reinforced. I mean, who can say that they didn’t jump out of their pants when Kirk walks into the abandoned house and Leatherface jumps out of nowhere and hacks him to pieces? There weren’t even any soundtrack cues for the impending doom. It just happened. And never mind Sally’s cringe-worthy torture scenes.

All in all, even after several additional viewings, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the most terrifying movie I have ever seen. Hands down.

5. Pumpkinhead
4. Aliens
3. The Ring
2. The Orphanage
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

*As you can see 12-13 was a big year for watching horror movies for me.
**No doubt this was about 98% of what drew me to the movie in the first place, the sense that I was watching something actually happen.