After a night filled with wonderful nightmares and vivid visions of the opening day of FrightFest I couldn’t wait to awaken and head straight back to the Empire for day two of London’s premiere horror festival to start.
After a quick wash, a quick bite and the time consuming selection of an appropriate horror related t-shirt I was back on the tube heading for a date with destiny and the Total Icon special guest Tobe Hooper. The Total Icon idea is new to FrighFest 2010 and who better to focus it on but Hooper whose The Texas Chainsaw Massacre changed horror forever.
The day kicked off with Hooper’s rarely seen, restored and re-mastered 1969 debut, Eggshells. A spaced out psychotropic trip of a movie it contains many portents to his latter works especially The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Best described by the man himself Hooper said: “It’s a real movie about 1969, kind of verite but with a little push, improvisation mixed with magic. It was about the beginning and end of the subculture. Most of it takes place in a commune house. But what they don’t know is that in the basement is a crypto-embryonic hyper-electric presence that managed to influence the house and the people in it. The presence has embedded itself in the walls and grows into this big bulb, half-electronic, half organic. Almost like an eye, but like a big light, it comes out of the wall, manipulating and animating. I’ve always described it as being a mixture of Andy Warhol’s Trash and Walt Disney’s Fantasia”.
After taking some time to let my mind recover from what felt like an acid trip it was onto a special screening of the movie that made Hooper’s name The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Legendary for many reasons the 1974 movie, which was only granted a certificate from the British Board of Film Classification for its 25th Anniversary release in 1999, is a timeless piece of terrifying cinema even more effective when seen on the big screen.
Based on the real life serial killer Ed Gein the story tells the tale of five hippies who happen upon the wrong house on their travels, a house inhabited by a family of murderous cannibals including their chainsaw wielding son Leatherface. Merging documentary style filming with some truly disturbing and brutal moments it plays on the audience’s anticipation upping the tension to a level rarely gained by other movies.
Leatherface, played by Gunner Hansen, sliced his way through the movie becoming one of horror’s most famous characters gaining massive cult status along with the film. Rated as a five star movie by our reviewers here on LoveHorror and in the Top Ten Horror Movies on our site you can read more here.
And so it was onto the Q and A with Hooper himself conducted by Total Film’s deputy editor Jamie Graham. The first time Hooper had visited the UK in 18 years he entertained the audience and took the time to right some wrongs and clear up some rumours along with telling stories from his career including his work on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Steven Spielberg penned Poltergeist.
After some old films we where treated to some new ones with the world premiere of Isle of Dogs a story of gangs, sex, murder and revenge heavily influenced by Giallo and Westerns in its style and themes.
In the audience Q and A afterwards one question “is the director of photography a foot fetishist” met with a great deal of laughter from the audience and the revelation that the director Tammi Sutton used to be a foot model. She also described how she had made the low budget horror in 18 days in Devon working and living with the cast and crew the whole time as if they where in Big Brother.
Read LoveHorror at Frightfest 2010 – Day 2 / Part 2 Here
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Trailer: