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Thu. October 30th 2003 8:00 pm
Shock Corridor Cinema Presents our
special Halloween Screening:

Tobe Hooper's Original,

Presented in Drive-in W-i-d-e-screen;
screened in our make-shift slaughterhouse.
Costumes encouraged!. Prizes to be won!
BB-Q meat (and veggie dogs) to be consumed!

Thursday, October 30th.
Screening @ 9PM.
Monster Mash to follow.

only @ the fifty fifty arts collective
416 Craigflower Rd.

"The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre grows nastier and more metaphorically explosive with each passing year, due to the all-too-convincing 1970s daylight as much as to the cannibal family vaudeville"
--the village voice (2003)

Considered by most art house cinephiles and film historians (even respectable ones) to be the granddaddy of the independent American horror film! Marked by an unmistakably misguided reputation for being "too nasty to watch," the Texas Chainsaw Massacre surpasses most horror films by way of its meticulous pacing, angular cinematography, brooding texas setting and horrific scenarios that are, contrary to popular belief, detached from excessive gore. To be sure, there really is no blood to be seen at all here; it is merely what's (symbolically) suggested throughout the film that creates two hours of chills for the viewer and has earned this film's infamous reputation for being "far too scary". It should be said that the TCM was produced on a low budget at a time when the American horror film was not merely testing viewer's endurance but additionally preoccupied with thematic sketches of an apocalyptic vision of the social world. 70s horror like The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead and the one being screened tonite work so well to shock because they expose repressed social anxieties through a monstrous Otherness that is significantly associated with "normal" institutions such as the bourgeois family, the church, the government etc. It is through this subversion that gives these unique films their charm and is the very thing that subtly works to scare the hell out of audiences - for the first time the monster no longer comes from "out there" (i.e. outer space) but from here, within the suburban community.

The studios have, of recent years, diffused such subversive horror themes, sadly turing them into candy bar "thrillers". While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's narrative is standard slasher fare, albeit one that would imprint the genre's birth and inspire countless imitations to this day (five teenagers get lost in the rural landscape of Texas and are individually dispatched by a cannibalist family of unemployed slaughterhouse workers), its magic lies in both its oblique visualization of this simple plot and its post-apocalyptic sentiments towards Vietnam, commerce and class antagonism. The film can, perhaps should, at this point in history, be read as an allegory for the potential backlash of class repression in America and the effects of corporate downsizing as the exploited factory workers take revenge on America's middle class youth. "It was also released during the last full year of [America's] official involvement in Southeast Asia, at a time when the spectacle of American teenagers blithely dismembered by conspiratorial, Middle American dads, was burned onto everyone's eyeballs. Sequeled to hell and back since, the movie has lost little of its acidity." Additional subversive themes figure into the equation here. See:

- Leatherface (perhaps the most infamous and influential of all horror villains), a meat cutter from the defunct factory whose ambiguous sexuality actually allows us to sympathize with the monster (a composite Hannibal Lecter/Buffalo Bill figure).

-a patriarchal family who has gone crazy as a result of a linearity of male violence and class repression.

- suggested cannibalism, acting as a metaphor for the dog eat dog world of capitalism; the revenge of the working class on a society that accumulates wealth through their labour.

Should you decide not to read the text analytically, there is still much to be enjoyed here and, if you have seen the recent remake, much to learn about the studios misguided co-optation of such classics. Still not convinced? Consider this pitch: an entertaining, psychologically developed cast of characters who at times seem belong in a Scooby Doo cartoon, get lost under a Texas sun (yup, half the film is shot in daylight - unheard of in this genre) and meet their inevitably fate simply because they are ignorant and middle class. What more can you ask of from a film that spawned countless imitations and, like Hitchcock's Psycho, or the roller coaster at the PNE, continue to provide thrills, remakes and thoughtful discussion some 30 years after its initial release?

Remember to wear a costume and bring an appetite.

questions?: [email protected]