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TiggaTrigga





  • #961
  • Posted: 08/01/2022 23:06
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AfterHours wrote:
Both were major touchstones and influences upon the slasher subgenre of horror.


I get how Halloween was impressive but I personally don't get the greatness of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sure it was scary, but it seemed kind of amateur to me when I saw it. Perhaps I'm missing something?
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AfterHours



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Location: originally from scaruffi.com ;-)

  • #962
  • Posted: 08/02/2022 21:59
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TiggaTrigga wrote:
I get how Halloween was impressive but I personally don't get the greatness of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sure it was scary, but it seemed kind of amateur to me when I saw it. Perhaps I'm missing something?


I think so, yes. It finds a remarkable pseudo-doc spontaneity, particularly with the onset of it's antagonist(s), that has rarely been matched in cinema history.

Throughout the film and leading up to Leatherface's introductory scene are many harbingers/symbols of danger, death, demise, devastation. Beginning with opening credits and the dead armadillo in the foreground, to (for instance) the insane hitchhiker (later an antagonist), to shots featuring dilapidated environments, property, housing, etc. All are death warnings, harbingers of what's coming. All exacerbated by the grotesque equipment and belongings, the madhouse (the hook, the skeletal remains, etc) inside Leatherface's home.

Many shots throughout the first half of the film (particularly) feature a low or extended/distorted angle, with either the perspective (or a protagonist) at/near the foreground (the shot framed and pointedly "extending" in distorted or wide perspective from there). These all seem to indicate a "future" that still lies ahead, is still possible, a danger that is still perceivable for the protagonist(s) (to be able to change their minds and determine the course of events instead of getting murdered). As Leatherface enters the picture, these sorts of shots tend to now be collapsed/devastated/"cut down" into (at best) "even" perspectives, and often "closed in" perspectives or even total nightmarish claustrophobia (terrified close ups of hysteria).

The apparently extreme violence is much more alluded to than seems possible by how visceral its last half is, masterfully left half to the imagination, half explicit. Exactly enough is shown to heighten the suspense and terror to a maximum, but the staging and shots are frequently brilliant so as to "force" the viewer's imagination into a state of immersion that tends to pit oneself (at least partially, and then partially in concert with the character on-screen) into said positions/circumstances and fill in the gaps oneself. Stunning examples include when the brother in wheelchair is chainsawed to death, shown at extreme angle and reversed perspective that we see the chainsaw executing its violence (but no actual explicit violence seen), to leave half of it to one's imagination/nightmares.

Further, much of the violence and evil has an utterly grotesque and, essentially, a very manic (VERY BLACK) comic element. There is an absurd outrageousness to the wheelchair bound brother being chainsawed with such mania and insouciance (aided by the fact that, being relatively helpless, he should be the most sympathetic protagonist -- and most films probably wouldn't even show him being killed but would just cut away from it as soon as it is clear what's going to happen -- but yet meets the most delirious, absurd, blackly comic death). The way Leatherface runs around so openly with a chainsaw, giddy to kill. How his brother and father act when they all team up. Etc. The film is a remarkable balancing act between hyper-realistic nightmarish horror and outrageously black comedy (a very difficult combo to pull off sincerely). The mixture of tones of its violence and craziness, particularly its "spontaneity" (that doesn't seem planned, staged, like say, the meticulous "form" of the work of Hitchcock) may be the most remarkable accomplishment of all.

To top all that off, several interspersed shots in between and as background to the ongoing violence and events (such as those lingering on into the deep horizon, burning hues of browns and reds and yellowish, burnt colors) have a rustic beauty to them that lends a virtually metaphysical element to the proceedings, especially those juxtaposed by the insane ferocity of Leatherface. A major example being the finale with Leatherface and the escaping girl screaming in terror against the backdropped dawn. These shots are ambiguously both waking nightmare and a glimmer of hope, and perhaps offer an almost strangely "holy" feeling or even "ascendance" to the arc of the film, where the surviving girl, blood drenched, has gone through a sort of spiritual "cleansing" or "ritual" (in the insane eyes of Leatherface and his family).
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Last edited by AfterHours on 08/03/2022 19:19; edited 3 times in total
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Facetious



Gender: Male
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Pakistan

  • #963
  • Posted: 08/03/2022 03:15
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Never looked into the Psycho sequels but I'm intrigued now. What makes Psycho II great for you?
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AfterHours



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Location: originally from scaruffi.com ;-)

  • #964
  • Posted: 5 days ago
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Facetious wrote:
Never looked into the Psycho sequels but I'm intrigued now. What makes Psycho II great for you?


Below only De Palma's masterpieces, it perhaps does the best job I've ever seen of directly resurrecting (and truly honoring) the art of Hitchcock (although I would maybe say that De Palma seems to express a more "love-hate" relationship with this, as if being done half-begrudgingly, cynically). It uses many of the same (or similar) shots, scenes of deja vu, from the original masterpiece, to symbolize and express Bates' trauma, as he returns home and attempts to withstand the urges of his past. It isn't quite as subtle or efficient (an almost impossible expectation; with the original practically every move, motivation, scene carries peculiar, sinister, blackly comic and manipulative meaning on its own and interlocked with the rest), but "technically" is on par with the first (surprisingly) with many shots and sequences that would've made the master proud. It is also a bit more convoluted than the original (approaching the extra-absurd territory of Hitchcock descendants like Aldrich and De Palma, and Losey), with an overdose of "twists" (that is both fun, playful, mocking, but also maybe a little overboard, thus losing a meticulous balancing act with subtlety the original strikes? I'm not sure yet, I almost gave it 7.2 or 7.3+ and will need to see again). Some of the main characters (mother and daughter) motivations are a bit hard to believe but they are mostly in good fun and acted with conviction and theatricality that honors the original's tones (in alignment with its own attempt to mock the viewer's expectations even if somewhat forced), so it's not a big deal. I'll have to see how it all holds up on a future revisit. It attempts to capture the supreme "mocking tone" of the original (but maybe tries a little too hard, falls short, if admirably) and probably doesn't quite match it (the black and white cinematography, the lighting, of the original, plays a role, and then the intricate form of its "shifting" compositional layout, from every angle of the story and characters, the constant ways Hitch plays with the viewer from the very opening to the end; this is almost impossible to match). Simultaneously to its surprising ability to resurrect Hitchcock (and even though generally a strength here), it perhaps loses something of its own vision by doing so (so it's both a major plus, but maybe a limiting factor in carving its own creativity, its own "extraordinary ground"?). The jury is still out -- again, my temptation for its potential rating reached up to a possible 7.3-7.4 (but more likely 7.1-7.2) on this initial viewing. I, too, had never bothered to see the sequels and have been pleasantly surprised that they're much better than is usual for horror follow ups. Even the 3rd has merits, especially its opening (a stunning homage to Vertigo) and then especially, as well, over its final act. In both, Perkins performance is superb, building off and adding to the original with the same conviction as he began with a constant, strangely, awkwardly creepy suspense of character/motivational/tone fluctuation that is always someone we would definitely be wary of, yet also sympathetic no matter what we see him do or think he might be about to do. The films tend to beckon us to root for him (not wanting him to get caught, manipulation towards wanting to see him escape or commit more gruesome acts against whoever may threaten him), constantly pitting the viewer in his plight (through the immersive, manipulative craft expressing his characterization, actions). The 2nd and 3rd films expound upon this as a major theme and dilemma (for him and the audience).
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