This year I didn’t watch quite so many. See, I’ve been building up this new site, thefinalgirl.com, which deals exclusively with Slasher horror films so, of course, I’ve been watching tons of those movies, good, bad, and so, so awful. Given that, I’m a tad horror movied out. That’s not to say I won’t be watching a horror movie tonight, no, it is Halloween after all. It just means that I feel the need to be more discerning in my viewing choices.
For example, every Halloween I watch what I consider to be one of the best, most important Slasher films ever made: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, I’d say TCM is not just one of the greatest Slasher films of all time but easily one of the greatest horror films of all time.
I still remember the first time I watched it, just about ten years ago—which, for a guy who runs a Slasher movie site, is really not that long ago. I had just gotten a job at a video store and TCM was my first purchase using my employee discount.
I don’t remember why, but that Halloween I traveled from Montreal to my parents’ place in Ottawa and so ended up watching TCM alone in their basement. That sounds way creepier than it actually was. My parents’ basement isn’t some unfinished room with bare walls, a concrete floor, and single flickering bulb dangling from a ceiling of exposed pipes and wiring. Well, actually, parts of the basement are exactly like that, but the part I was in is fully finished and furnished.
My memories of actually watching the film for the first time are hazy, but I do remember how I felt when it was over. The credits began to roll and I realized, slowly, steadily, that I was holding my breath and that my fingers were gripping the arms of my chair. I released my breath, relaxed my hands, and grinned.
Few movies have had such an effect on me. Spoorloos, or, in English, The Vanishing, freaked me out but good, and The Hills Run Red came very close to matching the intensity of TCM, but not quite. For me, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre stands apart and, for this reason, I have reserved it a hallowed spot as my go-to Halloween movie.