Sunday, November 8, 2015

We Are The Sprocket Holes vol. 224

R.I.P. Gunnar Hansen, the Original Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

shit dude, what can be said?

even after years of viewing /collecting ultra obscure hyper disturbing mega gore torture rape surrealist nightmare films from across the globe, when i'm asked "what's your favorite horror film?" (fuck, "what's your favorite film") the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is still the first name that pops in my head.

i can't remember how old i was, but i was in a comic book shop looking at model kits. before McFarlane Toys kicked off the golden age of Horror themed action figures with the Movie Maniacs line, the only way you could get scaled down replicas of your favorite horror movie characters was through model kits (most of them by Screamin), which you had to build and paint yourself. my regular comic shop had a shelf in the back filled with Jasons, Freddys, Michaels, Pinheads, and one character i hadn't yet seen on the USA Network, a beast of a dude in a crusty butcher smock holding a massive chainsaw over his head. the box said "LEATHERFACE", a reference to the stitched up mask adoring the character; something that looked like a catcher's mitt that had been sliced up, sculpted, and re-purposed into a muzzle.

i later discovered this character was one of the villains in a film called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where he and his backwoods brothers (and mostly enfeebled grandfather) hack-up some youngins' and grind them into supper. i had already become bored with Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the rest that saturated the basic cable blocks that i lived off of back then, and this looked and sounded like something so much more than those. my local video store didn't have a copy of this film, so i made do with articles, reviews, interviews, any information i could find on this film. when i finally saw (seewhatididthere) a copy of the VHS available at The Wall, i bought it immediately and proceeded to spend the weekend with it.

everything i had seen and heard about this film didn't even begin to do it justice.

at the grimy heart of this near-corporeal experience was Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface in a performance both subtle and visceral. monstrous and childlike, abused and abuser, determined and unwieldy, Hansen created a character that has yet to be rivaled or eclipsed in the genre. yet underneath the human jerky mandible was a soft spoken, pleasant natured man with the soul of a great author, more in his element at a library than a slaughterhouse.

i got nothing else. for more watch the movie  or read Hansen's fine account Chainsaw Confidential 



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