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Saturday, 22 January 2011

WS - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974)

To see the IMDB page for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, click here
 Estimated Budget: $84,000 (estimated)
Gross: $30,859,000 (USA)

The film opening attempts to come across like a documentary. It starts with a couple of credits, such as the director's name, and then goes to a rolling text which is narrated. The narration informs the audience of what is to come in the film, and sets the tone of the film. It is presented as a documentary, which makes the audience feel like they are watching something about real events, which adds to the fear the film will create. The writing is in a serif font. Before images start after the documentary style speech, the film anchors the date, August 18,1973.

Throughout the opening there is a voiceover. Once the images start there is a radio style voiceover (or a newsreader) talking about some bodies been removed from their graves. Before the voiceover starts there is about a minute where the action flicks between black, blank screen and short images, like they are been taken by a camera. The short images we see are of a decomposed body, which could be quite disturbing to some viewers. The noise is quite eerie, and sounds possibly like an old camera taking photos, which the flash could backup. When the voiceover starts the camera is on another decomposed body that is out in the open. It starts with a close up of a body, but as the voiceover continues, the camera zooms out revealing a second body, and also shows more of the background: a graveyard. The early setting and mise-en-scene sets the scene for quite a scary and strange film.

The sound is mainly used to inform the audience in this opening, although the camera is quite a strange and old-fashioned noise. The sound isn't the most eerie part about this film opening, and doesn't really build any tension, however what the voiceovers are saying could be quite scary and worrying for what is going to come later in the film. The sound of digging during the blank screen is also quite concerning or scary. There is quite a subtle non-diegetic during the opening.

The film opening is quite strange in that it doesn't begin with an equilibrium, the killer is already on the loose. The first shot also doesn't occur until 1 minute 22 seconds, which maintains the narrative enigma and makes the audience create the fear for themselves through unrest and panic. It's also quite a strange film opening because we don't meet any main characters, again making the audience think for themselves, creating their own fear and anxiety.

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