8. The Finale. And of course, all of this imagery is tied together by one of the more powerful closing sequences I've seen in any film. I've watched Chainsaw with people who did not enjoy it at all, and even they couldn't help but applaud after seeing the final seconds. Sally emerges from the bowels of hell to a thin artery of civilization, Texas Highway 172. A passing trucker helps her escape by running over The Hitchhiker and slowing Leatherface down with a wrench to his head. She jumps in the back of another passing truck and escapes, which spurns Leatherface into an epic dance of frustration. As she speeds away, she laughs like a maniac at the monster's demonstration. Yes, she has been forced into a totally deranged state, but there's hope in the laughter too; maybe part of her is still able to feel victorious.
      But cut back to Leatherface and his chainsaw ballet. What happens now? Does another truck come speeding over the hill, taking care of Leatherface too? Does Sally go to the nearest town and tell the police her story, so that the family can be brought to justice? It doesn't matter; the world is now a different place. As Leatherface pirouettes in rage, his form bleeding into the backdrop of a blood-red Texas sunset, the picture stops cold and credits roll. Evil survives. Pure poetry. Give Gunnar Hansen an Oscar for the dance alone.


Best of all,
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Companion

by Stefan Jaworzyn is out now on Titan Books.