Autumn Through Three Mediums: Film

Fall is such a quintessentially northeast American experience to me. Having lived here for my whole life, I can’t compare it to living through the season anywhere else. But, it’s always the time I’m most likely to explore things around me, and this means hiking and biking and walking to places that look so incomparably beautiful when they exist in the fall. I bust out my ornithology book and look at all the birds I won’t be able to see come the first snowfall. I cherish being outside a little more. This indescribable feeling of being connected to a place, for me the northeast, because you seasonally enjoy it more also means I also enjoy certain things a little more when the leaves start to change color and die. These three are just a few of those things I feel a little more sentimental toward during autumn. 

the_texas_chain_saw_massacre_1974_theatrical_poster

There’s a lot of reasons why modern remakes of horror classics are almost universally derided. Horrible direction, bad acting, and the self-inflicted disadvantage of trying to recapture the spirit of the original are all valid answers. But most of them also fail to understand the concept of “the banality of evil.” They’re too self-serious enough to realize that Leatherface is someone’s next-door neighbor. The suspense and terror comes from inorganic sound cues or gratuitous violence. These essentially babysit the viewer, telling them when they need to get scared. Even more egregiously, they almost always forget they’re making a movie that kinda sorta has to have a narrative. This all adds up to the deflation of characters and movies like Leatherface and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as nothing more than vehicles of cheap scares that don’t resonate past the movie’s ending.

All this is to point out what I think the strongest part of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is, and why it’ll always be my favorite horror movie. There’s something so simple about its treatment of Leatherface that’s so compelling. He’s literally just a dude with human skin for a face-mask and a chainsaw. The inclusion of his in-bred, cannibalistic family gives us some backstory, but that serves more as a narrative tool than a lazy scare tactic. Leatherface and his family are scary intrinsically and on their own, not because some director explicated his entire psychological motivations.We don’t need more of a reason to be scared of a seven-foot-tall monster wielding a chainsaw.

The lesson is, don’t remake horror movies. Especially the really good ones. And you should also probably stay away from your grandfather’s vandalized gravestone. And hitchhikers. And dried-up local swimming holes. Might as well just avoid the whole state of Texas.

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