Forty years later and there’s still nothing like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Not a single film no matter how brutal has managed to be as unsettling and nerve rattling as Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece. It’s astonishing how Hooper’s master work hasn’t aged a day and still retains much of its raw guerilla filmmaking aura. The man and the cast suffered to make his horror thriller about maniacs in the South, and it shows through every single film cell.
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is a horror film I not only respect, but revere, if only because it bears such a realism to it that feels as if Tobe Hooper let loose a bunch of lunatics on an unwitting cast of actors. Much in the realm of Ruggero Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust,” there’s the sense that Hooper clings very closely to reality, and covers every single aspect of this vicious environment. You can sense the thick stifling heat, the horrific confusion and chaos, and Leatherface. Leatherface is still the wild insane rabid dog let off of his collar, free to roam as he pleases. Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface is still a terrible force of nature who spares no one, and inflicts immense punishment on the flower children.
It’s interesting to see how Tobe Hooper doesn’t just provide a flawless masterwork of horror, but also manages to depict a very rotten and disgusting environment by sight alone. Every aspect of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” feels very aged and filled with years of decay, and Hooper is a master at creating so much out of very little. Hooper’s horror film is still an iconic artifact in grade A horror filmmaking, as well as building an entire narrative around chaos and pure anxiety. From Sally’s forced attendance at the family dinner, to her insane cackling in the final scene of the film as she bathes in blood, director Tobe Hooper’s film takes on a pulse all its own that’s yet to be duplicated or rivaled to this day.
The 40th Anniversary Edition comes with four audio commentaries. There are about six hours worth of commentaries, with director Hooper sitting down with the surviving cast and crew of the film. There’s an audio commentary with Director/Writer/Producer Tobe Hooper, Actor Gunnar Hansen, and Cinematrographer Daniel Pearl, there’s a second commentary with Production Designer Robert Burns and cast members Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, and Paul A. Partain. There’s an audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, and finally a commentary with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Editor J. Larry Carroll, and Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou.