Sunday, October 20, 2013

Phil hosts the Camera Cinema's Cult Movie Screening of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose-October 17, 2013

Hello again everybody and welcome to Month Ten of the 2013 Cult Movie series at the Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose! Now for those of you who are late to the game, let me explain this cool series. In 2011 the Camera Cinemas started up the Cult Movie series (which for years had been called the Midnight Movie series). They would show one cult film twice a month (Thursday nights at 9:30 and Saturday nights at midnight) from February through November. This past Thursday night just in time for the Halloween season, we screened director Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror classic THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Once again yours truly was back as the host for tonight's screening. Prizes were donated by Streetlight Records and by Time Tunnel Toys, both located here in San Jose. There were also yummy donuts to eat, courtesy of Psycho Donuts located in the lobby.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1974)
Despite what the voice over narrator (the great John Larroquette) states in opening credits, there was no chainsaw massacre in Texas to which the film is based on. However, Tobe Hooper has stated that the inspiration for the film came from several different sources. One story he has told several times is that one time years ago while waiting in a very long line in a department store, he saw that he was by the hardware section and they had a display of chainsaws. This made him wish that he could take one and cut thru the line he was stuck in. Hilarious story, don't you think?

The second source for the film came from a man named Ed Gein. If you don't know who he is, Gein was a grave robber who dugged up corpses in the cemetery in his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin. He also made cups, bowls, clothes, and such out of human bones and skins. He was also responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Bernice Worden, who the police found in his barn strung up upside down, gutted, and beheaded. His case would also inspire the characters Norman Bates from the PSYCHO series, Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and of course, Leatherface.

Hooper also cited the changes in the cultural and political landscape as influences on the film as well: including the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, the 1973 Oil Crisis, and the American public's distrust in their government were part of the movie's social commentary.

Filmed during the summer of 1973 during the sweltering Texas heat, the movie was shot on 16mm and the budget was less than $300,000. Hopper co-wrote the script with Kim Henkel and the cinematographer was Daniel Pearl, who later photograph the 2003 remake.

After trying to get a distribution deal, the movie was picked and distributed by Bryanston Pictures, which was owned and operated by the mob family the Perainos. Fun fact, they also funded and released the 1972 adult film DEEP THROAT.

The film was released to theaters on October 1, 1974 and would go on to gross over $30 million dollars, despite being banned in several states. It would forever change the horror genre and it also made Leatherface (portrayed by Gunnar Hansen) into a horror icon and a pop culture phenomenon, seeing him pop up in comic books, action figures, models, and so forth.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is one of the scariest horror films of all time, and it is considered a true classic in the genre. It has spawned three sequels, a remake, a prequel, and a 3D sequel just released to theaters earlier this year. As the old slogan goes, "The Saw is Family." 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is now available on both Blu-ray and DVD. To purchase a copy, visit your local retailer, or visit the Amazon website.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the show!

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