Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Why it's wrong to ask: "Should I see the original first?"

Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Carrie, The Evil Dead. All amazing films, and all being remade. I’m looking forward to all of them, and I’m certain they will all be big box-office hits. But one thing that is troubling me about the remakes coming out this year is this; the amount of people who’ve asked me, or just asked in general, if they should see the original first.

Of course, a film can be enjoyed without knowing anything about it. But if you’re asking this question, you KNOW there is an original. You KNOW this film had a predecessor. And what you’re essentially asking is if it’s okay to skip a piece of work that was so good, memorable or otherwise genius that it spawned one or more remakes/sequels, because you can’t be bothered to watch something that’s more than a couple of years old. It’s the same as writing a book report but deciding to see the film instead. You get the general gist of what’s going on, but you won’t develop a love for the material, and you certainly won’t capture the feeling that was so lovingly crafted for the piece.

You might not HAVE to see the original Texas Chain Saw to understand what’s going on in the 2013 version. You don’t need to have watched with delight Ash’s 1980’s shenanigans to enjoy the remake. But to not do so is indicative of a lot of the problems facing the movie industry, particularly horror, today. It typifies the audiences who go crazy over Paranormal Activity 72 but ignore completely anything original or indie, until some ‘trendy’ blogger declares it ‘Must-See!’

You should always see the original first. Without the original, the new version would not exist. Without seeing the original, you can’t possibly get a sense of what the director was trying to achieve with the film, what it meant or the point it was trying to make.

I know some people will disagree with this article, and say that all movies can be enjoyed without context, and I guess at a base level that is true. But what we’re talking about here is laziness, dumbing down and a general disinterest in anything that isn’t ‘now’ or current. Newsflash - some pretty epic things happened before you were born! Just because a film is 30 years old, or it’s in black & white, or it’s foreign doesn’t mean it isn’t worth seeing! In a lot of cases, you will find a film that is so much better than 90% of the films that will be released this year.

Don’t just see things because everyone else is doing it, or they are the new ‘big thing’, forgotten by next year. See movies that are genuinely good, that will make you think, that will frighten you for real and not just give you a cheap jump thrill. Do me a favour and watch the original first. They are classics for a reason.


I've just got back from an amazing holiday in Florida, which is the reason for the lack of updates in the past week. I had an unbelievably fantastic time, and now that I'm back I have A LOT of catching up to do with my films!

So far in 2013 I've seen 5 horror movies:

Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Tenebrae (1982)
La Chiesa (1989)
Sleepaway Camp (1982)
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

The reviews for the rest of these films will be up this week, along with the other films I'm planning on watching before next week.

By the end of next week everything will be all updated! And remember to check my twitter - for current updates on what I'm watching



Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Movie #1 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) - Review

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Year of Horror - Movie 1
 photo TCM_zpscc8b5b22.jpg


Sub-Genre: Slasher

Director: Tobe Hooper

Main Cast: Gunnar Hansen (as Leatherface), Marilyn Burns (as Sally Hardesty), Allen Danziger (as Jerry)

I wanted the first film I watched as part of my Year of Horror campaign to be a classic, and it doesn't come much more classic than Tobe Hooper's 1974 masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The plot is simple; five friends, driving through Texas, happen upon a deranged family, equipped with deep psychosis and chainsaws. What ensues is a desperate fight for survival, one which epitomises horror and provides some truly memorable scares.

The isolation of the setting provides the basis for the chill of terror the audience is going to feel during this movie. We sympathise with Sally; in the middle of nowhere, far away from home and slowly losing her only anchor to the outside world, her friends, she becomes a character we grow to care about and root for.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Leatherface is chasing Sally through the fields outside the house. As sally runs toward you, the fear is palpable; Leatherface is behind her, closing in and all you can do is watch as she becomes closer and closer to her tormentor. The tension reaches fever pitch and know what? You'll have to watch it to find out what happens next! If you've seen this film then you'll know that the ending is just glorious. An amazing, haunting ending that you'll never forget.

With the Texas Chainsaw remake looking like it will be huge, I think this is an opportunity for people who have never seen this movie to turn off the lights, settle down and prepare be terrified. Or at least revel in the utter fear-drenched delight of this film. I'd hate for someone's first experience of Chainsaw to be a remake, good or bad, when, if experienced properly, the 1974 piece of art can become one of your all time favourite horror experiences. If you have seen it before, relive it. Even when you know what's coming, the film is a captivating, enthralling experience.

A truly fantastic film, I'd recommend it to everyone.