While pop culture turned Leatherface and his family into something truly absurd, the fact still stands that the original film brought something to the table that people just hadn’t seen before– a horror film that was truly horrific. The atmosphere of the film is just north of nightmarish, and the whole thing is so bleak and gritty it’s like a buzzard fucking a tumbleweed.
And there are tons of arguments about how it’s a reflection of Vietnam or that it’s anti-capitalist (because Leatherface’s family lost their jobs at the slaughterhouse thanks to technological advance), but the most compelling thing, in my opinion, is that it was the first film in American cinema to present the idea that there are some things in this natural world that we just totally can’t comprehend or fight back against because it’s so beyond our scope of recognition. For example, Al Qaeda presumably has some logic behind what they’ve done, but it’s so far outside of our experiences that we can’t even begin to comprehend it. It’s just some insane, blind anger that turns into evil. It has no real redeeming quality, it just is, and there’s little we can do to confront it. And that’s scary as hell.
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