****/**** Image A Sound A Extras A+
starring Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow
screenplay by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper
directed by Tobe Hooper
by Walter Chaw If we start from the position that Sally (Marilyn Burns) is burdened from the get-go by two misfit monsters, then we can look at Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as not only a keen autopsy of a particular moment in our country's history (circa 1974), but also a profoundly sensitive look at social prejudices and the toll said prejudices take on the human social organism. More than the typical rise-of-the-bumpkins horror conceit, it is, along with John Boorman's Deliverance from two years earlier, the classic example of a film that isn't about what it's ostensibly about. Look at the assiduous reduction of wheelchair-bound outcast Franklin (Paul A. Partain), a character who remains for the efforts of Hooper and Partain (apparently so irritating in real life that his cohorts were relieved by his on-screen demise) one of the most unapologetically irritating and pathetic figures in film and find noteworthy not that a handicapped person is allowed to be a self-pitying asshole, but that we're not let off the hook (as it were) for our own prejudices. Franklin is an anchor--and we're glad that he's dead, too.
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