Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!

TCSM vs. the BBFC

Texas Chain Saw Massacre quad

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. Many films have clashed with British censors over the years but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre does have its own unique place in the weird and wonderful history of censorship in the UK, having been present at several significant points in that story over the last four decades. In 1974, the Secretary of the British Board of Film Classification James Ferman condemned TCSM as "...the pornography of terror," but his plans to keep it completely out of UK cinemas were foiled on its initial release. Then, despite the best efforts of the BBFC to keep the film off the small screen, it went on to be a black market video nasty hit in the '80s, before the powers-that-be threw in the towel in the '90s, and granted it a legitimate, uncut release. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a perfect example of a film that undermines their whole method of, and approach to, censorship as well as showing the extent to which the process is arbitrary, driven by political and media pressure, and riddled with class prejudice.

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The Goriest Film You Never Saw

Brutal Feature: Texas Chain Saw Massacre 1974

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. When it comes to endless savagery and violence in cinema, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a film that usually comes up during the conversation. People shiver as they recount how a madman wearing the faces of others chases down a group of stranded young folk, always eager to carve them to pieces like Thanksgiving dinner (not the worst metaphor either, as the killer and his family enjoy feasting on the remains of the fallen). Those who can recall their own grueling viewing experiences remember all these morbid tidbits in lurid detail. And those who have not seen it, in turn, are taken by the film's reputation and either become hesitant to watch it or convinced that the film is another mindless gorefest.

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Oil and a Dangerous South: Alternate Geopolitical Readings of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"

Texas Chain Saw Massacre poster (French)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. I know, I know. Provocative interpretations of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (TCSM) abound. I was reminded of that once again after reading Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film while writing an essay (that had nothing to do with TCSM) for another publication. And of course, our articles and reviews this month served notice once again: TCSM may be the most provocative horror film in American history. (read more...)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Revenge of the Silent Majority

The Dinner Scene in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is an intense, bare-knuckled assault on the senses. In it we see sadism, brutality, and violence as we had never seen it before. What is sometimes overlooked is that one can see in the film a grotesque mirror being held up to the social struggles of the era. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a stressful time for America. The Freedom Struggle, the tragic war in Vietnam, the epidemic of violence in the country, the bloody trend of political assassinations; all of these things had led by the mid '70s to a sense of fatigue and despondence in the country. In 1969, Richard Nixon used the term "silent majority" to encompass those Americans who had become uncomfortable with all of the drastic changes that the country had come through. He gave a name to those not claiming membership in the left-leaning Counterculture or who participated in demonstrations. The excesses of the past decade had built up a sense of victimization and resentment within the Silent Majority. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre can be seen as a reflection and parody of the clash between these two groups.

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Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation poster

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. In 1974, Tobe Hooper created what would prove to be one of the most memorable and enduring horror films of the late 20th century: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Like so many memorable and enduring horror films, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre spawned a franchise of sequels, most of them worse than the one preceding it. The worst of the bunch, however, has got to be Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. A sad, anemic parody of the original film, TCM:TNG is an awe-inspiring confluence of bad dialog, absurd storytelling and epileptic pacing that is almost painful to watch. But, like any good train wreck, it's hard to look away.

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Rare Horror Released on DVD Via Columbia's Screen Classics on Request

Soul of a Monster poster

Following in the footsteps of the Warner Archive Collection, Columbia/Sony has announced its own burn-on-demand DVD service, Screen Classics on Request. Among the 100 initially available titles are several of interest to horror fans, including the rarely-seen The Soul of a Monster (1944), a brand-new transfer of The Spiritualist (1948, previously available in cheap movie multi-packs as The Amazing Mr. X), and Arthur Hiller's killer bat movie Nightwing (1979). All titles are available for purchase (typically at around $19.94 a pop) at the Columbia Classics website.  A full list of horror-related titles appears after the jump.(read more...)

Roger Bartlett ("Texas Chain Saw Massacre" musician) Interview

Roger Bartlett

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. When we talk about sound in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, what usually comes up is the bizarre cacophony that Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell put together for the musical score. However, there's another aural element that plays an important part in TCSM. The use of country and bluegrass tunes that play on radios within the world of the movie add another layer of reality to the already gritty presentation. One of those songs, playing during the Hitch-hiker's introduction, is "Fool for a Blonde" by Roger Bartlett. Classic-Horror.com guest correspondent John Wisniewski had a chance to ask Bartlett about his career and the inspirations that lead to the song's creation.(read more...)

Cold Reads: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

If you'll come with me now, we'll take a journey to a strange land. But this land really isn't all that peculiar. As we wrestle our way through the brambles and hedges, one becomes aware of the faint scent of nostalgia clinging to the trees. There are memories here, in the earth and the sky. This is a land we've been to before. That's because it is a place that belongs to the dream world, that realm we visit on a nightly basis when we give in to the cool embraces of slumber. Washington Irving is our dream master, his tale of spooks and schoolteachers weaving an enchanting tapestry of myths, magic and, of course, that immortal "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."(read more...)

Review: Deranged (1974)

Deranged poster

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. It would be hard enough to make a horror movie where the audience is asked to connect with the villain if he or she sticks merely to bloody butchering. Throw in some necrophilia, and it becomes a whole new level of difficulty. Deranged, from Karr International Pictures, delves into that subject in addition to offering both a thinly-disguised take on Ed Gein and his exploits as well as an exploration of the theme of compassion for the killer.(read more...)

Ed Gein: Pop Star

edgein_0

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. I don't know what makes men like Ed Gein superstars, when all they leave behind them is suffering, loss and madness. Maybe it's that their stories are so bizarrely gothic and so filled with lurid details that no movie could make up. Ironically movies about these creatures will later appear - the weird parts repackaged for general consumption. After this we can relax, take a breath and tell ourselves, "Well heck, it's only a movie." When this happens enough, when we've seen the film, read the books and got the pez dispenser, men like Gein become no more real to us than a Leatherface, a Freddy Krueger or King Kong. Soon they have a separate 'star image' and while they still give most of us the chills, for others they are 'anti-heroes' or symbols of rebellion. Perhaps this is the only way we can make life bearable, by fictionalizing them, making fun and denying anything really ever happened. But it did happen and Gein was real. So were his victims.(read more...)

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