The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies, and others like them, are what I like to consider true horror movies, or even terror movies. They have the ability to really put a fear into someone. At least they're the type that puts a fear into me. Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, these movies are of the fantastic, not what is real; therefore they have little scare power. They may be able to get you to jump, if my wife sneaks up on me she'll be able to momentarily frighten me, but she's not scary. Quick thrills, or quick scares are not horror movies to be. Horror is beyond such simple tricks, to truly be horrified you have to care, and who cares about a bunch of pot smoking punks taking a summer off to have sex when they should be working to pay for school!
You may be thinking to yourself how the Texas Chainsaw movies are any different. They're not real either, and you're right they aren't technically real. But what they represent is an actual part of society. Tobe Hooper, the creator of the Texas Chainsaw, based on main horror figure on a real life person. Ed Gains. Now Hooper was young when he first learned of Gains and the image of him became distorted, Hooper based Leatherface (the manic who wears womens faces and skins) on what he picture Gains to be like. Now of course Gains looked normal, but he was very similar to Leatherface. Gains would rob graves for body parts to make almost anything, furniture, soup bowls, whatever he wanted. He also did some other things that are much worse but I won't delve into too much detail on those. These people actually do exist. Murders who haven't been caught, mass murders that haven't been caught.
Sure the original Friday the 13th was based on a concept that might be true, child drowns, mother seeks revenge, sure it's possible. But what about the next 10 movies? The characters in these movies are indestructible, or so it seems, by the end they have some kind of plan that will usually work. In the Texas Chainsaw movies however, most don't even get a chance to fight, the family knows they are regular people who can be damaged just like anyone else. It is realistic.
Fear to me only exists if I think it is possible that what I'm afraid of might exist. I don't think it's possible that a psycho family in Texas will kill me, but maybe there's a psycho family right next door to me, or down the street, or in the next place I intend to visit. These are practical fears in my mind. Of course I'm not as worried of being murdered as I am of getting into a car accident or something much more probable, but when I'm watching the movie I let myself be drawn into the fear, that's the fun. Movies that don't even stand a chance of being even remotely true just don't do it for me. The Ring for example, yes some good effects but when I got home that night I wasn't bothered by the TV. However I watched the Blair Witch Project at a cottage and the forest was suddenly frightening, not because I thought a witch might live in it, but because I could easily get lost in it.
True terror, and maybe you don't want to experience true terror, but if you do, watch the Texas Chainsaw with an open mind, think how you would handle yourself in that situation. The good thing that comes from horror movies is that we get to experience an emotion that we really don't want to experience in real life. I don't want to be in a position that causes real fear, but I want to get a rough idea of it, and true horror movies do just that. They give you a taste of the real thing. There are two very good reasons for wanting to feel what it's like to be afraid, one, it can be a huge rush adrenaline is the best drug, the movie is the method, roller coasters accomplish the same feat. The second reason is that you may have some insight into how you'll react in a real life situation. Obviously you'll never really know until you are in a bad situation and hopefully most of us won't even be in such a situation. If you even have a taste though, you may know if you're a fight or flight kind of person.
Understanding why your brain is reacting in any given way will allow you to make rational decisions in irrational situations. You may want to run but if you know why you want to run you may be inclined to stay when staying it really the right thing to do. This does not only apply to life or death situations it can apply to almost anything. Have you ever felt bullied by a car salesman? These are confident people you're dealing with and if you're not as confident as they are, you should still be able to walk out without being ripped off. So what am I saying? I guess I'm saying if you want a deal on a car, go shopping after you watch a good horror flick. Saw II is in the theaters as of the writing of this article that would be a good example of what I call a true horror movie. Go show that car dealer who's boss, just don't bring your chainsaw.