Alternate Titles : none. but note that the correct spelling has "Chain Saw" as two words (which is wrong) - the sequils and remake all corrected this.
Reviews / Author Comments due: 05/01/2013
Reason for Inclusion: After being shown in the UK for 1 year with an 'X' rating, it was then banned by the BBFC for over 20 years. it upset the censors so much that the word "Chainsaw" was banned from use in any movie title in the UK for a while.
BBFC Status: Passed uncut in 1999 (reference impossible to find on new look BBFC website)
I'll be quick this week as we have a house full of lurgy, a migrane ridden husband and a sick child.
I'm torn yet again with what I thought about this weeks movie. I can definately see the appeal to the masses. It's a typical 80's slasher movie. Young boy (Billy) witnesses a tragedy that is the murder of his parents and rape of his mother by a criminal dressed as Santa Claus (who he already has a fear of Santa anyway following a rather sinister conversation with his 'supposedly' catatonic grandfather in a home - who it turns out is far from catatonic). This leaves him and his brother Ricky as orphans. This already warped young mind is further twisted by nuns in the orphanage where he is placed. Evil catholic nuns is a favourite in horrors.
As an adult, for reasons best known to himself, Billy ends up working in a toy store. For a boy/young man who has such a problem with Santa/Christmas its possibly not the best choice of career. Predictably he ends up having to stand in for the store Santa and spends the day scaring the bejezus out of all the kids.
Here Billys killing spress starts after he witnesses the girl he thinks he is in love with that he works with getting off with someone else.. another horror staple for pushing the guy over the edge. There is plenty of opportunity for topless women, another staple.... you can see why I'm not jumping up and down about this one....
I've been threatening to watch this one for about 10 years, but never got around to it until a (self imposed) rule on a blog told me I 'Had' to... I don't know what that says about me, but "I'll watch one day..." it is one of the reasons I decided to start blogging the Video Nasties in the first place, and it great that not only did it work, but it's now continuing to work with non DPP movies!
The premise is simple: Age 5, Ricky sees his parents murdered (and his mother molested) by a man in a Santa suit (an armed robber on the run as it happens, but that's by-the-by). 13 years later, having grown up with a hatred of Christmas, and a dread fear of Santa Clause, he is roped into playing Santa when the grotto-santa at the shop he works at calls in sick; This is enough to push Ricky over the edge and (still suited up) goes on a killing spree.
I start this review still a bit gaping mouthed and hope I make more sense to you than I do to myself in this review. To be honest, I still haven't decided whether or not I liked the movie. One thing I do know for sure, is that it is not most peoples cup of tea. I think I got about three quarters of the way through and was on the 'not liking it' camp, but as it reached its climax, I began to appreciate a lot of aspects of the movie.
As the movie starts, it is very clear we're dealing with an arty one. Now I'm far from a fan of this kind of movie, so I don't expect to make much in the way of sense of the storyline. I do like how the movie is filmed though, I like the use of black and white. I like the separation of the movie into several different titled chapters. In places, I loved the almost musical flow of the script and the beauty of the location. Alongside the beauty we witness, there is incomprehensible violence and nastiness, which is very difficult to understand. It is shocking definately and had my eyebrows raised on a number of occasions, which I will go into later in the review.
As for whats going on in the movie. As we start, the couple who we follow through the movie (they are never named) are making love (all real sex apparently.. we can see why Willem Dafoe has been cast). As this is happening, their toddler son has climbed out of his cot, opened his baby gate and wandered to an open window. He climbs up and falls to the ground below. This opening scene is heartbreaking. As a mother, I probably found it the most difficult part of the movie as its a constant fear of mine and the sheer thought of anything happening to my son, almost drives me insane. This made me better understand the mothers actions as the movie progressed. The way the scene is shot, in black and white and slow motion, with a beautiful piece of music in the background adds to the tragic nature of what's happening. Its snowing outside and we can better visually see the toddler hit the ground below (although this isn't portrayed in a graphic or bloody way thankfully), we also see his stuffed toy bounce off the snow beside him. I had a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.
Here we are on the first week of our 'Beyond Nasty' launch. Fresh from the accomplishment of completing the 72 'Nasties' List, we're pushing on to other movies in a similar vein.
This weeks offering is 'Freaks'. I knew nothing of this movie when I started to watch it, so was surprised that it was made in 1932!! That probably makes it the oldest movie I've ever seen. From a bit of background reading I find out it was made with actual real-life circus performers who had deformations or where seen as 'freaks' at the time. It was commonplace to use makeup and costumes to achieve this look, so the use of real people caused a bit of a furore at the time, consequently leading to its banning for 30 years. I don't see the problem. Surely if you want to see these people as equal to us (which they are), then they should be able to make a bit of money from the situation, rather than a role go to a much less suited actor? Anyways...
I loved the style of this movie. It was indeed very odd, but captivating at the same time. I found the story pulled me right in and kept me transfixed all the way through. It didn't feel like I was watching out of any sort of morbid curiosity, but because the characters were real, the story interesting and I simply wanted to see how it all panned out. Another aspect I loved was the musical score in the movie. It reminded me of really old cartoons.
Sadly, the directors cut of Freaks no longer exists; 30 mins or so were cut after a disastrous test screaming... One woman even threatens to sue MGM claiming that the movie caused her to miscarry!
Whether that's why the version that exists today seems a little oddly passed in the middle is hard to say; many films from that era seem to be missing a middle segment (how did they get King Kong back to New York anyway?) so the jump from flirtation to wedding may possibly have always existed.
What we do know that we are missing is an extended 'revenge' sequence, which originally included a castration!
In any case, Freaks, in it 63 min version was STILL banned in the UK for 30 years!
The most striking thing about the movie, is where it's sympathies lay: dislike it's sensationalist title and tag line ("Can a full sized woman ever truly love a MIDGET?") from the opening crawl the film sides firmly with the eponymous sideshow workers.