Posts Tagged ‘united states

16
Oct
14

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) 40 Years with a Whole Family of Draculas

 

Patric Reynolds

Patric Reynolds

 

In Loving Memory of Marilyn Burns 

A Primal Root Written Review

Our experience begins in the void of darkness, we are blind to the world around us, yet we can hear the nearby sound of a shovel burrowing into the soil. The sounds of heavy breathing, exertion. Our senses are heightened alright as our minds race with the possibilities, as we are made to feel uncomfortable, trapped, anxious…And then our very first image. The visage of a thoroughly rotten, glistening, corpse that eerily resembles a batch of General Tso’s chicken, illuminated by a camera’s flashbulb, accentuated by the startling sound on the film;s soundtrack rumored to be anything from a cello to Tobe Hooper running a pitchfork down a piece of metal. Either way, in the span of mere seconds, the audience viewing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is experiencing one thing above all else, fear.

The premise is simple. Throw a pack of kids in their late teens and early twenties into the heart of darkness, watch them die and then cheer on that one young woman who remains as she struggles for survival. We would call it cliched if it weren’t for the fact that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the very first. To call Texas Chainsaw Massacre a milestone in horror cinema is justified. Like absolutely nothing that came before it in the film’s attempt to truly obliterate the sanity of anyone who views it, Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired a generation of horror filmmakers and decades worth of copy cats who could never dream of coming close to Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s raw, uncompromising, power. Though many sequels and cash-in’s follows in Chainsaw’s wake, there is no other horror film like it.

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Tobe Hooper, a young filmmaker out of Texas,  was inspired by, as legend has it,  tales of serial killer Ed Gein and his penitent for digging up corpses to steal their skin and wear it as well as the man’s hobby of turning the remnants of the dead into furniture and serving dishes. Another inspiration came in the form of a holiday shopping trip to Sears. As hooper stood in the hardware aisle int he midst of the holiday shopping madness, his eyes fell upon a rack of chainsaws when the thought came to him, “I know of a way to get out of this place in a hurry!” According to Hooper, within second, the premise for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was born.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre might be the most innovative and enduring piece of cinema to come out of the hippie movement, it has become a touchstone for the end of the movement an highlighting the sick, subversive nature or our American culture and society itself. In the wake of JFK, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations, the failed war in Vietnam, the brutality of The Civil Rights movement and The Tate-Labianca murders, it was no wonder such a ferocious, merciless, hopeless piece of cinema was the product. Many other horror films of the era, like Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left and Bob Clark’s Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and Deathdream, all dealt with the frustrations, horror and disheartening of a generation of idealists, who struck out to change things, and watching as that struggle got buried, and never actually took hold. By the late 60’s and early 70’s we had become a nation haunted by that period in time when so many believed in a dream, only to watch it fall apart, like a person being chopped to pieces under a whirring chainsaw. None matched the unbridled fury, the primal scream of disgust and anger that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre delivered. All at once, the young people of a generation are painted as idiots, ego-centric assholes willing to mock one another and leave those less fortunate behind as they seek their own personal pleasures. And by films end, we are reminded, that it’s all just business as usual as an ancient old man in a suit and tie sucks the blood from the tip of the new generation’s finger tip. The message is clear, welcome to the American Nightmare, don’t expect to ever wake up.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a true work of absolute terror. A story pitch perfectly told, well acted, beautifully shot and fantastically edited. I could go on all day about Texas Chainsaw Massacre being one of the premiere achievements in outlaw independent filmmaking, but the results speak for themselves.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now, 40 years later, considered a film classic and a masterpiece of the horror genre. All these decades later and it has not lost an ounce of it’s power to drive it’s audience to the brink of their sanity. To this day, as Leatherface dances with his chainsaw and the sun rises over rural America, just as the film cuts to black, dead silence, I still have to catch my breath every time.  40 years on, and we’re still feeling the the influence of that idyllic summer afternoon drive that became a nightmare. The most bizarre crime in the annals of American history. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I’m giving The Texas Chainsaw Massacre LEGENDARY status aka: Infinite Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root

21
Jul
11

‘(It’s a) Complex World’: God told us to laugh at you.

a Primal Root review

In a world where rock music, rampant drug use and promiscuous sex is destroying the moral fiber of today’s youth there can be only one solution. Stick some plastic explosives in a keg and blow up a filthy club filled with degenerates! Of course, this is the world of 1992 and the hot bed for this moral degradation is The Heartbreak Hotel in Providence which happens to be owned by the son of a political talking head who is running for the office of the President of the United States of America. Can you say, “conspiracy?”

Well, in this case you would be right. From the very beginning ‘Complex World’ makes it’s intentions clear and let’s you in on what’s happening much like the suspenseful dynamite in the trunk opening of Orson Wells’ classic, ‘Touch of Evil’. Only here, the outcome isn’t made clear till the very end when exhaustive collection of characters and plot lines all come together and lead to a stand-off that will either blow your mind or haunt your nightmares. A political killing is underway as the communist hating, paranoid, presidential nominee has send out an elite terrorist hit squad to wipe The Heartbreak Hotel and all it’s inhabitants off the face of the earth, but first, they try to get a little ransom money out of the club’s manager and presidential nominees son, Jeff. That is, if they can get him to give a shit or fear death…

‘Complex World’ takes place over the course of one night at The Heartbreak Hotel over the back drop of a double billed concert.  Folk-singer/terrorist, Morris Brock, who revels in creating the most negative, violence inducing songs possible (‘Why Do We Feed the Broads?’, ‘New Jersey’), is opening up for an experimental metal band called The Young Adults who sing the ridiculously uncatchy title track, ‘Complex World’ as well as a love song about a man and a bush entitled ‘I married a Tree’,  a hopeful  endorsement of committing suicide when your life is at it’s worst simply called, ‘Kill Yourself’, and my personal favorite, ‘Christmas in Japan in July.’

What I describe to you here is really the bare minimum of the plot. To describe anymore would not only spoil a lot of the fun and magic that is ‘Complex World’, but I doubt me telling you about it would really do the film justice. Take my word for it, the film is a twisted, hilarious trip back to the early days of the 90’s that perfectly captures the strange shift in attitude and music that would come to define the early-mid part of the decade. It’s a movie that also takes a good hard look at the political industrial complex with intense disdain, then shrugs it’s shoulders and walks away from all it’s bullshit. Ultimately saying, if you don’t give into their brand of control and bullying, that only then will we ever truly be free.

‘Complex World’ is well worth tracking down and giving it a go. We happen to have a copy on VHS at Video 21 in Tallahassee if you ever happen to be in the area for an extended stay. I highly recommend you check this one out.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

Here’s a clip from ‘Complex World’ featuring Morris Brock performing ‘New Jersey.’




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