The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
(1974, Dir. by Tobe Hooper.)
Why It's Here:
Too low? This is probably too low, right? You can say it, I won't blame you.
One of the most intense films ever made, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of those movies that you could throw at someone who doesn't know what a horror movie is and say "Here, watch this. This is a horror movie." An unrelenting and unpolished opus of terror, Tobe Hooper's film features several of the best shocks you'll find and pairs them with memorable (and sometimes terribly annoying) interactions between the characters and moments of pure torture. It might be the horror film that is most taxing to watch...which is actually a good thing.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
All I need to say is "the part where he slams the steel door". And if you've seen it, you know. Seriously, I can't think of a single moment in horror that has as much shock value as that one does.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
This is one of many films loosely based on the exploits of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. Most famously, Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs borrow from the same case. But a film released a couple of years prior to Massacre, Deranged is a lesser known companion to Hooper's film. It's dark in it's own ways - though it'll probably play like Shaun of the Dead next to Leatherface - and it features a one-of-a-kind performance from Roberts Blossom (aka, old scary guy who's actually nice from Home Alone) as the killer.
What It Means To Me:
If I had to guess why I rank a movie that I know is so important and I know shocks me to my core so low on this list (then again, it's not like 25 out of every horror movie I've ever seen is "low"), it's probably because this film is truly a chore to watch sometimes. It's so brutal and it's so unforgiving and sometimes it's even a bit shrill and...well, sometimes that's just not as fun to watch as something else. Of course, that just means it's doing its job really well. When it's time to bring horror at its most vicious, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the movie I turn to.