There are many things to talk about when we talk about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Many fixate on Leatherface, and rightly so. He’s one of the most recognizable slashers in horror cinema, but also the one that evokes the most empathy. How can you hate a man who obviously has mental issues? He is clearly not in control of his actions. He’s basically the attack dog for his vindictive father, and that’s a very sad existence.
We could talk about the brutal nature of the movie. It’s one that still manages to make me uncomfortable every time I watch it. It feels real. It’s a nasty movie, and that nastiness never feels dated.
But, when I talk about Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I focus on one thing: the superb acting by the late Marilyn Burns. Simply put, it’s one of the finest performances in the history of horror films. Her scene at the dinner table is absolutely stunning, but her performance all the way through is incredible.
Because of this (and because of what her character went through), Sally Hardesty is rightfully considered to be one of the all-time best final girls.
This is a movie that still has the ability to shatter your nerves. For a film that’s 40 years old, that’s a major accomplishment. Throw this movie on. Let’s get uncomfortable.
I’ve written a bit about this movie and the death of Marilyn Burns in this piece. While you’re at it, make sure you read the interview LC Fremont did with Marilyn here.