Artist and friend of the Scariest Things, Matt Howl goes full-on grindhouse for his #1 selection in his top 25 horror movies of all time!
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“Texas chain saw massacre, they took my baby away from me.
But she’ll never get out of there, she’ll never get out of there.
I don’t care.”
“Chain Saw” – The Ramones
I must have heard this song about a thousand times before I ever saw the movie.
Buzzsaw guitars under a sweetly apathetic voice bemoaning the violent murder of his girlfriend. Sure, it’s a major bummer she was dismembered. And I *should* care. But then again, maybe I won’t.
To my pre-teen, pre-girlfriend (and pre-nihilism) ears all I could think was, “What is this?!”
In that pre-Tipper Gore era which allowed horror music to be more accessible than horror movies, it would still be a few years before I got my hands on a grimy VHS dub of a dub of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (written in smeared blue ballpoint ink on the Maxell label, naturally)
To say expectations were high would be a massive understatement.
But as you know, Texas Chainsaw does not disappoint. It cannot disappoint. It only inspires. From its absurdist underpinnings of a rural ‘Merican family of human headcheese aficionados to its gorgeous wide shots inspired by French New Wave cinema to its visual tribute to John Ford’s The Searchers, it’s a film like no other.
And it’s also a gateway.
Texas Chainsaw provides a high that no other genre can satisfy. And in many ways, the 24 horror films that follow it on my list will live forever in its wake. Often equally satisfying but forever chasing the dragon.
Now when I look back to that first Ramones album, I realize that every song could be the logline for a ‘70s horror movie. Jackie and Judy join the SLA, perhaps die. Dee Dee doesn’t wanna go down to the basement because there’s somethin’ down there. A New York street hustler kills a john at 53rd and 3rd and goes on the lamb.
Forget Slayer. Hell awaits on a Ramones record.
Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World,
Matt Howl is an illustrator and graphic designer in Portland, Oregon, whose misspent youth has led to a mostly misspent adult life. Why change a good thing? More at matthowl.com.
#1 Favorite Movie of ALL TIME!: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Movie #2: Alien (1979)
Movie #3: The Thing (1982)
Movie #4: Phantasm (1979)
Movie #5: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Movie #6: The Shining (1980)
Movie #7: Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Movie #8: Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Movie #9: Suspiria (1977)
Movie #10: Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Movie #11: The Last House on the Left (1972)
Movie #12: Zombieland (2009)
Movie #13: Army of Darkness (1992)
Movie #14: Martyrs (2008)
Movie #15: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Movie #16: Kill List (2011)
Movie #17: Cat People (1942)
Movie #18: Tesis (1996)
Movie #19: The Loved Ones (2009)
Movie #20: I’ll Drink Your Blood (1970)
Movie #21: Race with the Devil (1975)
Movie #22: Night of the Demon (1957)
Movie #23: Don’t Breathe (2016)
Movie #24: [REC] 3: Genesis (2012)
Movie #25: Doomsday (2008)