Thursday, March 10, 2011

Iconic Horror Scene: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

This scene, from the 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is one of the most iconic scenes in horror history. It is the first appearance of Leatherface on film, and is one of the more chilling scenes in the movie. What makes it interesting is that there is no score. You really only hear Kirk's voice, the sound of pigs, and other various background noises. Even when Leatherface arrives, there is no swell of dramatic music, he is just there. You see a quick glimpse of him, then it cuts back to Kirk. Then there is the iconic close-up of Leatherface lifting his weapon.

You see many similar shots like this in films such as Silence of the Lambs (during Lecter's escape scene) and Misery (during that film's most iconic scene.)

Then you just hear an awful CRACK sound when Leatherface hits him in the head and Kirk starts shaking on the ground. The fact that there is no use of nondiegetic sounds in this scene makes much more unsettling, since it gives it a sense of realism. Then, of course, is the most frightening part of the whole scene. Leatherface pulls Kirk into the room and slides the door closed. It is very disturbing because it is so sudden. He slowly pulls him in and then BAM! You don't know why he shut the door, you don't know what happens next or what he's going to do to him, but the image of this scary, mask-wearing man sliding this metal door shut is just frightening!

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