Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Keep on Runnin’!

Texas Chainsaw VHS

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is horrifying.  I’ve watched so many of my favorites so many times that they lose some of the effectiveness that was their original appeal.  I know all the beats too well to be genuinely upset or scared.  I keep revisiting them more for nostalgia or appreciation of craft than for that visceral feeling that I may have first gotten.  I know all the beats of Chainsaw as well, but I still find it unsettling.

This isn’t the place though for me to be telling you how great the movie is.  There are some awesome reviews out there that do a much better job than I ever could.

Instead, I want to talk about a moment of levity amidst the final few frenzied minutes.

Here’s how it went down.  Lone survivor Sally breaks out of a window and escapes with the Sawyer family in hot pursuit.  The crazy hitchhiker gets run over by an 18 wheeler called Black Maria.  Black Maria’s driver is understandably upset by this and pulls over to see what’s going on.  He’s greeted by a blood caked Sally and an enraged Leatherface.

Mr. Maria pulls Sally in and closes the door on Leatherface.  Fortunately, Leatherface doesn’t think of sticking his chainsaw through the open window.  Instead, he scratches up the door’s paint job.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 7.46.24 PM

The driver and Sally escape out the passenger side and grab a wrench on the way.  After running a few yards, the driver turns and throws the wrench.  It’s a good throw too; he hits Leatherface square in the middle of the forehead.  Leatherface goes down long enough for Sally to escape into the bed of a passing pick up truck.

What about the driver though?  That’s the moment that I want to add to my collection today.  There’s one long shot where the pick up dodges Sally and then turns around.  As it makes the turn, we see the Black Maria driver continuing to run off in the opposite direction.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 7.50.22 PM

There’s nothing wrong with the logic here.  I’d run too.  I just find the shot of him running notable for a few reasons.  First, he’s overweight.  And it’s the funny kind of overweight too.  The kind of overweight that features tight t-shirts and a whole lot of soft jiggling.

Second, he’s agile.  Watch his hands as he tries unsuccessfully to steer out of the way as Sally is in the middle of the road struggling with the hitchhiker.  His moving his hands furiously, but the Black Maria doesn’t seem to be all that responsive of a vehicle.  Also note how he changes directions when he realizes there’s a maniac running after him with a running chainsaw.  Those are survival instincts you can’t teach.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 7.55.52 PM

This is what a survivor looks like.

 

Finally, he just keeps on running!  His purpose in the movie is to provide an exciting interlude that dispatched the hitchhiker and give Sally an opportunity to get on the pick up truck.  After that purpose has been served, there’s little left for him to do.  Hooper can’t just have him disappear, so he runs out of frame.

Again, this is plausible enough.  Leatherface doesn’t chase him because he’s running in the opposite direction.  But the shot of him running makes me wonder what happens to him after he leaves the frame?  Is he still running to this day?  Probably not.  I am betting he had a hell of a story when he got home though.  I wish there was a deleted scene showing him at home explaining it to his family.  It would be even better if he got his own spinoff movie, possibly with Bobby Rhodes’s pimp character from Demons.

Demons BR

That is some crazy shit!

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre has so many unforgettable moments but curious moments like this are easy to miss amidst all the chaos.

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10 Responses to Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Keep on Runnin’!

  1. Tony Parsons says:

    Who’s that, that just ran past my house? … I’d forgotten that whole spanner to the head scene … great stuff. It really is such a great film … even the very end, the distorted sound of the chainsaw, as Leatherface twirls it in frustration is disturbing … Tobe Hooper never really topped it this masterpiece. Another fine entry, Good Doctor!

    Like

    • drhumpp says:

      Was it him?! He’s probably a lot thinner by now.

      There’s very few movies that still touch a nerve after so many repeated viewings. Whether it’s the way that the guy twitches or the way Leatherface slams the door after he drags him away, the movie always feels dangerous.

      You’re right about the sound design too. Everything is designed to unnerve. I think Chainsaw 2 works wonderfully as well, but for entirely different reasons.

      Thanks for keeping up with this stuff!

      Like

  2. markmc2012 says:

    I’ve actually never watched this film. Like the Shining and the Exorcist it’s one of those popular horror films that I never got around to seeing. Now the hype would be so large that I think I’d be disappointed by it so I avoid it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      There are a few of the big ones that I’ve never seen either. Of the three you mentioned, The Exorcist does very little for me. That’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ve met some people that have been completely disturbed by it. I thought it was a pretty good story, but haven’t lost any sleep over it.

      Like

      • markmc2012 says:

        Another part of my problem with these films is that I loved British horror from the likes of Hammer and Amicus. The popularity of films TCM and the Exorcist in the 70’s killed off the style of horror that I liked. So yeah I guess I blame those films for that.

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      • drhumpp says:

        That’s an interesting point. In some ways I feel the same way about 90s grunge music. In retrospect, it’s not as bad as I initially thought but it’s the polar opposite of what I grew up liking up to that point.

        That stuff that came out in the 70s is probably my favorite era of film. It felt like anything could happen. Doesn’t hurt that the women of that era are the most attractive to me as well.

        Hammer and Amicus were stuff that I got into much later in the game. I didn’t see many until the late 90s because I was curios about that era of horror that I wasn’t familiar with. Even now, my knowledge of this stuff is very limited.

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      • markmc2012 says:

        I like 70’s horror as much as say the 80’s. I tend to like the 30’s through the 60’s horror the most though.

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      • drhumpp says:

        That’s cool to be able to read someone else’s perspective. 70s are my favorite followed closely by the 80s. Everything seemed so forbidden when I was a kid. I also noticed that I’m much more forgiving with older stuff than I am from say Scream and anything after.

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  3. Great Post! I too have often wondered what became of that poor truck-driver after his brief encounter with Leatherface. Your idea of a follow-up scene would have been gold. Plus he would have to explain to his superiors why he abandoned his truck in the middle of nowhere. “You see, there was this large guy in a suit whose face looked like strips of chicken skin….he had a chainsaw…Shut Up!…This is the truth!”

    Like

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