Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 140 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.

The Pick

The Franklin place? Well, now look, you boys don’t wanna go messin’ around no old house. Those things is dangerous. You’re liable to get hurt. Look, I got some good barbecue here. Why don’t you fellas stick around here awhile? Maybe relax and take in a pitcher show. I hear they’re playin’ The Texas Chain Saw Massacre!

40 years ago, Tobe Hooper unleashed one of the all-time great scary movies on an unsuspecting public, and the world hasn’t been the same since. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was not only a huge success, but hugely controversial. This kind of deeply disturbing, no-hand-holding, and very human horror was something the world just hadn’t seen yet. Well, not at the movies.

Did you get a chance to watch along with us this week? Want to recommend a great (or not so great) film for the whole gang to cover? Comment below or post on our Facebook or hit us up on Twitter!

Next Week’s Pick:

Stick with us as we continue our Trick Or Treat Two Cents event. For the entire month of October (which has generously gifted us with five Thursdays), we’re checking out several awesome horror picks curated together by Liam and Austin — neither of whom has seen all five. Why “Trick Or Treat”? To mix things up a bit, every review will close with a verdict of “Trick” or “Treat”.

Next up is one of the most unbelievable horror films of all time; one that should register much higher on the collective cult consciousness but languishes in obscurity for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom. It’s another slice of 70s craziness released by Bryanston (TCM, Coonskin). Root for William Shatner and Tom Skerritt as they tangle with the dark forces of Satan, aka Ernest Borgnine! This is not a joke! Of course I’m talking about The Devil’s Rain!

Don’t believe me? Check out the trailer, which is a masterpiece in its own right.

We hope you’ll join us on our month-long journey through these horror selections! Here’s the whole lineup:

Oct 9 — The Devil’s Rain
 Oct 16 — Eyes Without A Face
 Oct 23 — Demons
 Oct 30 — Prince Of Darkness

Would you like to be a featured guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your 140 word review to twocents(at)!

The Team

James Carey:

Tobe Hooper’s horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre expertly takes us on a nightmarish journey into the culinary habits of a group of backwater, inbred rednecks. Showcasing a refreshing lack of morality, a palpable sense of no escape, and a surfeit of screaming chainsaw fodder dispatched in disturbingly matter-of-fact ways, TCM was unfairly lumped with all the other cut-rate video nasties banned in the UK during the needlessly reactionary 80s, its notorious reputation enhanced by its based-on-a-true-story claims.

But from the snapshots of avant-garde art constructed from corpses, to the final, sun-dappled frames of relentless, psychotic juggernaut Leatherface furiously swinging his weapon of choice around, it’s less cheap splatter-fest and more creepy and unsettling commentary on the pros of vegetarianism… or the cons of capitalism’s catastrophic effects on the local economy. Never has the term ‘Meat is Murder’ been more apt.

Verdict: Treat (@jconthagrid)

Brendan Foley:

There was a reverend who claimed that the Devil was living in the celluloid of The Exorcist. While this statement may have been a tad… overzealous, let us say, it speaks to the way in which a truly great horror film can involve and disturb an audience on a level that seems to go beyond the capacity a fictional film should maintain. And so it is with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which captures a level of madness that emanates off the screen. It’s like the movie is giving off a stench from the TV, a stench of sweat and boiling meat. There may not be a more powerful, stark depiction of fear and terror than this film, and while it runs under ninety minutes, the experience of watching it is tantamount to experiencing a long, punishing night alone in the woods.

Verdict: Treat (@TheTrueBrendanF)

Liam O’Donnell:

TCM is like some sort of brutal nightmare you will never wake up from. Unsentimental in every way, entirely chaotic, the film feels new and dangerous now, a full 40 years later. More than most of the films it spawned, TCM is about death. In this world we are introduced to, death is ever present, haunting every corner of our visual and audio field. Death is so much a part of this reality, we may see Leatherface and family simply as its faithful servants. Uniquely, TCM spends all of its character focus on our killers while giving us almost no information about them. Their young victims are fleshed out just enough for us to understand there is no reason for them to die. Reason does not rule in this world, and this film makes me afraid it rules nowhere.

Verdict: Treat (@liamrulz)

Victor Pryor:

This is what it sounds like.
A rotting house in a sweltering heat.
A young man, exploring a place he should never have come to.
A door slides open, a hammer falls.
There is a crack and a wet, dull thud.
A sack of meat falls, spasms frantically, and is gone forever.
And in that moment I realize that all these years, I’ve had it completely wrong.
Horror isn’t the cartoonish splattering of blood and guts.
Horror isn’t the thing in the dark, too terrible to imagine.
Horror isn’t the unanswered screams of its innocent victims.
Those are merely the things that we pretend to be horror, in order to protect ourselves from the awful truth:

…Horror is a crack and a wet, dull thud.
This is what it sounds like.

Verdict: Treat (V.N. Pryor)

Austin Vashaw:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a deeply unsettling film that changed movies forever. Particularly noteworthy is a wonderful attention to sound that really makes the film what it is — the jangly, dischordant musical tones, the inhuman shrieks and yelps of Leatherface, the wet thud of a mallet connecting with human skull, the thunderous roar of a giant metal sliding door slamming shut, and of course the angry buzzing of a hungry chainsaw — nearer, then farther, then nearer…

The film’s sequels, while entertaining in their own right, have been unable to replicate what makes the original so special. The grainy 70s stock and eerily deranged set decoration both give off a stench of filth that is deeply unnerving and singular, even with the many films that it has since inspired.

The craziest part to me though, is when the family drags out Grandpa. Truly creepy.

Verdict: Treat (@VforVashaw)

Our Guests

Trey Lawson:

The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths…” From the macabre opening by John Larroquette to its abrupt conclusion, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a touchstone against which other horror films are compared. However, the film’s impact isn’t due to gore but rather may be attributed to its raw, visceral style (plus its use of real locations and mostly unknown actors). By avoiding explicit gore, the film makes us fill in the blanks ourselves and, in doing so, participate in the family’s bloodlust. The film touches themes of regionalism, isolation, and class — yet never pushes beyond suggestion, denying us the chance to put the pieces together. TCM is an apocalyptic vision of Americana, and the postwar nuclear family is eating society from the inside out.

Verdict: Treat (@T_Lawson)

Nick Spacek:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is remarkably non-gory, yet still absolutely shocking. It’s got grime all over it. Every time I watch, I shudder.

Verdict: Treat (@NutHousePunks)

The Verdict

Trick: 0 | Treat: 7
 Unanimous Verdict: Treat

Did you all get a chance to watch along with us? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

Get it at Amazon:
[CE Blu-ray] | [Blu-ray] | [DVD] | [Amazon Video]

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