B-movies have been around for years, from the Universal horror films to the 1950’s science fiction thrillers. In the 1960’s the grindhouse and exploitation flicks continued the trend but with more graphic content including blood and nudity. Films like Blood Feast, Night of the Living Dead, The Defilers, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, among others gained cult status. Then the 1970’s drive-in flicks carried the torch. Films like I Drink Your Blood, Foxy Brown, and The Big Bird Cage were a handful, and some even became more than cult films … they became classics.
One such film was the 1974 movie, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. With its shocking title, its promised exploitation, and its “based on a true story” claim, the film immediately gained notoriety. Yet the tight and unsettling story by co-writers Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, the brilliant directing by Hooper, and the top notch acting by (at the time) unknowns, let the film catch on and today it is considered not just a drive-in horror film but an all time classic, no matter the genre.
With the passing of star Gunnar Hansen, in tribute, Dark Discussions has decided to do an episode on this groundbreaking film that brought the grindhouse through the “front door” and eventually into the mainstream. Last year the lead actress, Marilyn Burns, also passed away. The film happens to be 41 years old now, and your co-hosts reflect on its legacy, what it meant to horror (and exploitation) cinema, and their personal feelings on what some say may be the greatest horror film ever made.