Combustible Celluloid
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With: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan, Robert Courtin, William Creamer, John Henry Faulk, Jerry Green, Ed Guinn, Joe Bill Hogan, Perry Lorenz, John Larroquette
Written by: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 83
Date: 10/01/1974

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

4 Stars (out of 4)

See 'Saw'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre again recently has convinced me that it's quite a bit better than I initially judged. From the startling opening sequence with its popping flashbulbs to the jarring finale (mixing Marilyn Burns' blood-curdling screams with the sound of the chainsaw), it's an incredibly sturdy piece of work.

Director Tobe Hooper uses broad daylight to matter-of-factly show horrors that earlier films kept in the shadows and darkness. His approach has been called documentary-like, and that's almost correct, except that he has an exceptional use of space and timing (the moment in which Leatherface slams the door is still shocking).

It's a movie worthy of serious consideration, not just the drive-in/cult status assigned to it over the years. John Larroquette provides the opening narration. The film had its world premiere at San Francisco's Empire Theater, which is still open for business as of 2007.

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