Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Difference between Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 and 2003.

1973 Directed by Tobe Hooper

  • The final girl is Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns), who is shown as a survivor; whereas Erin is a heroine, in the new version. This Shows how women’s roles have changed.
  • We empathise with Sally because deep down we know we would probably behave like her.
  • In the original film the ‘family’ is shown to be closely knit and exclusively patriarchal, with the roudy, rude younger son (Edwin Neal), his older, monstrous child-like brother Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), the father figure (Jim Siedow), and the aged Southern patriarch Grandpa (John Dugan).
  • In the classic Hooper’s direction (extreme close-ups, frantic cuts, zoom shots, suffocating mise en scène, and grating sound effects) help give an harrowing effect example being when Pam falls into the horrible house living room.
  • We can sympathize with economic destruction as old, manual labor style slaughterhouse methods are over-shadowes by big industry, mechanised factory methods. In fact, some of the more memorable moments from the original derive from this satirical subtext. Example, how ‘breadwinning’ father figure expresses financial concerns amidst horrifying chaos: After knocking Sally unconscious, stuffing her into a potato sack and throwing her into his pickup truck, he goes back to shut off the gas station lights, “Had to lock up and get the lights. The cost of electricity is enough to drive a man out of business.” Or, in the subsequent scene, he returns home after Leatherface has chainsawed way through front door, and bellows to the younger brother, “Look what you’re brother’s done to the door!”
  • In the original film Hooper achieves a sense of claustrophobia mainly through his mise en scène (wide angle lenses, extreme close-ups, zoom shots, hand held camera movements, etc).
  • The original movie relied as much on spooky quiet and its extraordinary production design — a-clutter with bones, skulls and feathers — for its shocks.
  • The thing missing between the two films is the proverbial calm before the carnage — the silence just before the chain saw starts whirring.

2003- Directed by Marcus Nispel

  • A modernized remake of film is made to appeal to a broader audience.
  • The look is slicker, the pace is much quicker, gore is more direct and obvious, and the characterisations are modelled on Hollywood ‘realism’ rather than Reality.
  • This film opens with a ‘flashback’ whilst a cop is checking the crime scene, taking us back to 18th August 1973.
  • In this version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from the opening frame character Erin (played by Jessica Biel), is already given the role of the final girl.
  • Women’s roles changed in this version as Erin is shown as a heroine, and strong; she’s shown hot wiring a car, Erin is courageous enough to commit euthanasia using a foot long carving knife, when her friend asks her to take him out of his misery.
  • We identify with Erin because we would like to think we would behave like her.
  • In the remake, the crazy family is less defined, both locally and genetically. One constant is of course Leatherface. Remake adds a matronly grandmother (Marietta Marich)who looks like a matriarchal homesteader from a John Ford western, the waif-like child craving younger woman (Heather Kafka) and obese rocking chair 'tea lady’(Kathy Lamkin).
  • Remake includes women everywhere in scenario, while in original there’s not one female character seen anywhere outside of the two emanating from the van, Sally and Pam.
  • Remake creates a sense of claustrophobia mainly through physical placement of characters, like the scenes where Leatherface chases Erin into spaces, or she is trapped into them: the front seat of vehicles, closet in the abandoned farmhouse.
  • Another important difference is that the remake is entirely stripped of the original’s social satire on rampant consumerism (reflected in the act of cannibalism) and the economical effects of industrialisation and also has none of its original black humour and nuanced switches in tone.
  • The new "Massacre" works hard to scare the pants off the audience and mostly succeeds through slamming edits, loud noises and lots of realistic-looking blood.
  • Remake does maintain continuity with the original by featuring the same cinematographer (Daniel Pearl) and the same narrator (John Larroquette), not to mention keeping the story set in the same early 70’s time period.

The Similarities between the two.

  • They both have a final girl.
  • The cinematography help keep the audience in suspense on the the edge of their seats.
  • The story is set in the 70's time period.
  • Issues and debates such as, captialism, canniblaism, is emphasised.

The wider contextual factors that have influenced any changes.

  • womens role in society has changed this can be seen through the different era's of time in which TCM is made in. In the 1973 TCM the final girl is presented as a survivor and the 2003 final girl is represented as a heroine. Showing how women have come far since 1973, and are more independent and can think logically instead of just running around and screaming.
  • Also in the new version, women have been added into the crazy family this shows that women are capable to be and do whatever men do, may it be working in a office or killing someone. Also in the 1973 version the crazy family is shown to be patriachal, even though there is a grandma shown she is not shown to actually participate in the family, showing how women were shown to be inferior to men. Instead in the new version, the final girl commits euthanisia whilst helping her firend ben get out of his misery by killing. This shows how men have changed their role and need men in order to help them out.

Ideas and Theories about ways genres repeat themselves:

  • Audience theory is similar in the texts as the audience may watch the film in order to escape the world they live in, and maybe because they may be able to relate to a character. As most woman would like to think that they would behave in the similar way the final girls within the two versions of Texas Chainsaw Massacre have acted; heroine, and the survivor. Men on the other hand may criticise this and say they would of benn better at the final person.
  • Also the genre of horror means having a final girl this ideology is used within both the films, even though women and represented in a different way. In the 1973 TCM the final girl (Sally Hardersty) is represented as a bimbo, who is helpless in front of 'latherface' and his crazy family. Yet escapes as a coincidence. Whereas in the latest version in 2003, the final girl (Erin) is represneted as a more independent and braver girl. She is shown hotwiring a car, showing that she knows what she's doing and that she can look after herself and not just run around hoping leatherface would leave her alone.
  • The settings within the two films causes catastrophe which also causes the audience to be on the edge of their seats always wondering whats going to happen next.

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