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Is it possible…?

Is it possible to get the creepy factor of, say, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Tobe Hooper’s original) or I Spit on Your Grave, that kind of ’70s horror (which you could include Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes) and combine it with the aesthetic of Blade Runner or Seven (or any David Fincher film for that matter)? Are they two entirely incompatible beasts? Does the cinema-saavy aesthetic kill the realness of the what’s going on?

Imagine The Texas Chain Saw Massacre being shot by David Fincher (Okay, that’s not too difficult since it – like The Hills Have Eyes and too many other retro-favorites has been remade). Well, maybe that makes this whole thing easier. What, in the remake, was absent from the original? Set aside originality.

I’m writing this as I’m watching the original TCM and am still amazed the film is rated PG. The tone alone (which is what the MPAA cited as the reason for The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover being rated NC-17) warrants a hard R at least. Just the scene (just on) of the chick who is about to get meathooked, her looking around the room at the bones, skulls, body parts, all that… that in itself is an R.

But I digress.

What is it about these films that makes them truly disturbing? There was more gore in Hostel, but I laughed at that one. It was nothing like I imagined. Whenever I watch the original TCM it’s worse than I remember.

Why is that?

What makes it that disturbing of a film? Most of the horrific moments happen in daylight. Is that it? Everything happens in a very matter-of-fact way. Is that it?

What makes it less so? Jessica Biel, fresh from 7th Heaven? Flashy camera work? Anachronisms?

Shortly after finishing the edit on “The Bet” I caught the dinner scene from TCM on cable, where Marilyn Burns is screaming her head off non-stop and I thought, “Is this what The Girl was supposed to be doing? Is this what makes it horror? Disturbing?” I thought her lying there almost catatonic and not even trying to do a thing was far scarier, or at least more stressful, more nightmarish, than a non-stop screamfest.

If someone has some insight, please feel free to share.

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