Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

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Victim of The Night
#35. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
(Tobe Hooper, 1974)



"My family's always been in meat."

My unifying theory of horror movies is that the best ones are still worth watching even after the initial shock and terror of seeing them has worn off - watching is rewatching and all that. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is arguably my prime example of such a film because it is so dedicated to creating a relentless horror experience, but at the same time there is something so artistically pure in how it builds upon what sounds like yet another crass exploitation premise. The tale of five youths running afoul of a family of cannibalistic serial killers is inspired by true crime and stages itself less as re-enactment than as documentary, lingering on everything from mundane conversations to unpleasant interior decoration in order to drown a viewer in such backroads horror. That much is certainly accomplished by the film's minimal production value lending everything a tactile guerrilla feel that is most definitely felt in everything from the blistering cinematography to the groaning atonal score, giving the film an atmosphere you could drink whether you want it or not. It's not technically a slasher and is early enough in horror history to avoid conforming too directly to established tropes, making this less a matter of cosmic punishment than a raw emission from an uncaring universe. What it all adds up to ends up being a matter of some conjecture - Vietnam War allegory? Capitalist critique? Kill all hippies? - but that's definitely a sign that a film that looks like it exists only to titillate viewers with blood and guts ultimately elides it in order to go for raw-nerve discomfort and frame it in an impressively abstract light. That's what it is to be a masterpiece.

2005 ranking: N/A
2013 ranking: #99
Ah. The Masterpiece finally lands.



Victim of The Night
Just wondering, I've always been curious by what people mean when TCM isn't a slasher. Maybe it's because we have a distinctive killer, but I just always think of it as being a slasher. The biggest difference in formula that I can think of is, the killer didn't come stumbling upon them looking for someone to kill, but rather, the youths stumble upon the killer's hideout and now he has to dispose of them.
Never thought of it as a slasher. Slasher, to me, is not a movie that has a human killer in it, that is so insanely broad it could include thousands of movies going back a hundred years. For many, one could say "I can't define a Slasher but I know it when I see it", and that is fine too, I kinda feel that way a bit, and I don't see it with TCM. But I really subscribe to a more specific point of view on this particular topic.
To me, Slasher is a form, like the sonnet or the Blues. Certainly, hundreds of films fit into this form and we've come to know it so well that "we know it when we see it".
And TCM sure ain't in that form.



In short, yes. And some people like to watch clowns spin plates on sticks.

Spinning plates on sticks, as in giving the general audience exactly what it already knew it was getting? Operating on a regimented tradition. Relying on little than muscle memory and maybe a little flourish and bow to the crowd at the end of it all?


Hmmmm. Doesn't sound like something I would like much either.



Never thought of it as a slasher. Slasher, to me, is not a movie that has a human killer in it, that is so insanely broad it could include thousands of movies going back a hundred years. For many, one could say "I can't define a Slasher but I know it when I see it", and that is fine too, I kinda feel that way a bit, and I don't see it with TCM. But I really subscribe to a more specific point of view on this particular topic.
To me, Slasher is a form, like the sonnet or the Blues. Certainly, hundreds of films fit into this form and we've come to know it so well that "we know it when we see it".
And TCM sure ain't in that form.
Weird. For me, it's like, "Yup, this feels like a slasher to me. I don't even know why it doesn't feel like one to other people."
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Victim of The Night
Weird. For me, it's like, "Yup, this feels like a slasher to me. I don't even know why it doesn't feel like one to other people."
Well, that, as my mother used to say, is what makes the World go 'round.



The trick is not minding
Even though I have lost any love I had for Tarantino and am with crumbsroom in wishing he had grown up and not had his directorial maturity forever stunted by success, I still try hard to understand why so many people 'round these parts have Jackie Brown has their favorite.
To me it is the bottom of his good films. For all the things that do work in the film for me, there are just as many that don't. Especially DeNiro, but that's really just one thing over and over. There are more. I like the movie enough but it really feels like the script needed a couple more re-writes before they shot or maybe it could have been "saved in the edit". And by saved I just mean elevated from a pretty good movie to a great one.
Anyway, it's certainly better than the likes of Django Unchained, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and The Hateful Eight, or for that matter, even the ridiculous Inglourious Basterds, but I would have to put it behind PF, RD, KB, and I actually enjoy Death Proof more as well, to be honest, though I certainly wouldn't try to call it a better movie.
For me, JB is his most restrained work, with his usual penchant for over self indulgence that we would see in in his later films, absent.

Probably would rank his films something like this:
Jackie Brown
Pulp Fiction
Inglorious Basterds (donít hate!)
Kill Bill vol 1
Kill Bill vol 2
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Hateful Eight
Django
Death Proof

I abstained from adding Reservoir Dogs, as itís been around 25 years since Iíve seen it and I am long overdue for a rewatch. Time has wiped it mostly clean from my memory banks.



1) Kill Bill
2) Pulp Fiction
3) Jackie Brown

4) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
5) Django Unchained

6) Hateful 8
7) Death Proof
8) Reservoir Dogs
9) Inglorious Basterds



Welcome to the human race...
Just wondering, I've always been curious by what people mean when TCM isn't a slasher. Maybe it's because we have a distinctive killer, but I just always think of it as being a slasher. The biggest difference in formula that I can think of is, the killer didn't come stumbling upon them looking for someone to kill, but rather, the youths stumble upon the killer's hideout and now he has to dispose of them.
For me, the key point of distinction is that most of the other iconic slashers tend to operate alone (e.g. Michael, Freddy, Jason) whereas Leatherface is always part of a family unit - not only that, he's frequently characterised as a mentally challenged manchild who follows the whims of his much more lucid (if still criminally insane) relatives while other slashers have more personal motives.
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Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0



[center]#35. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Again, I think it's a very stylishly-directed movie, but there's still only so much Hooper could do to keep it from becoming tiresome when literally half of it is nothing but watching one character screaming, getting chased around, and tortured the whole time, you know?



[center]#36. Jackie Brown[/size]
Anyway, to do some catching up here, I also have to say that I'm super-happy to see Jackie Brown in this thread, being that it's my current favorite Tarantino (as you can see here), since it's the least self-indulgent of his movies to date, and has the most of what he's best at (that being character development), and I really wish he had continued more in this direction post-millinieum, instead of regressing and doubling down on embracing some of his worst tendencies since then, even though he has made a couple of good movies post-2000.



Quick question. How many of those who see TCM as a slasher are from N. America?

I suspect there might be a cultural side to this as there is with other 'horror' films (not that I'm saying TCM isn't a horror) but in the early years of my internet experience I had quite a few discussions about Silence Of The Lambs and whether it's a horror film. It isn't, btw. And in later years, Se7en (which really isn't) and Aliens (which I've said more than enough on over the years and, for the love of God trust me on this one, it isn't) but most of the people I've had these discussions with were from N. America. I don't know if it's to do with the way we consumed movies back then (in N. America you had big chains across the continent, so everything was categorised the same. I don't know about elsewhere but in the UK it was primarily independent video shops), that more N. Americans were online back then, the way they were written about or something else?

It might just be a time thing and as US entertainment and standards have spread, so has their view of what things are. Or it could simply be that sub-genres are even less defined than genres and, therefore, people have different standards/restrictions as to what fits where? I don't know, but I do find it interesting. Unlike TCM, which I don't.

Never has the line "Shut that ****s mouth before I come over there and ****-start her head." been more apt.
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5-time MoFo Award winner.



If we want to be technically precise (and why would we want to be that in a discussion about an art form), Silence of the Lambs and Seven are thrillers. Aliens is an action movie.



But art is all about cross-pollination, and all three of those movies have picked up seeds from the horror genre. Meaning that, fans of horror can find something of interest in them.



Fighting battles over defending genre boundaries has always been a bit of a waste of time as far as I'm concerned. Labels are for marketers. Sure, they can be a guideline on what we might want to watch on any given night, but the greater overall effect they have is to divide audiences up into subgroups. Makes people dogmatic about what they want to see their genre films do. Which is what allows genres to stagnate. Which opens the door for us who are fans of horror (or comedy or romance or whatever it may be) to just keep our mouths open while they keep shovelling us the same shit over and over again.


No thanks.


Also TCM is effectively a slasher, in that people who enjoy slashers are going to find a lot of what they want in it. But it came long before, so it doesn't really conform to any of those stupid rules. What TCM actually is is an art film, borderline experimental tonally. A mood piece. Which is why Stu is always going to be wrong about his complaint that there is too much running and screaming



Stu is always going to be wrong about his complaint that there is too much running and screaming
I don't know, when my friends and I are being chainsaw-massacred, I like to take an occasional breather. Take in the situation, have a granola bar or something. The running and screaming is another option of course, but I prefer to be chainsaw-massacred quietly. Who has the energy to be running from chainsaws all day and night?
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My Collection



If we want to be technically precise (and why would we want to be that in a discussion about an art form), Silence of the Lambs and Seven are thrillers. Aliens is an action movie.

But art is all about cross-pollination, and all three of those movies have picked up seeds from the horror genre. Meaning that, fans of horror can find something of interest in them.
Well, I mean, if by technically precise, we refuse to use slashes when applying our genre tag descriptions. Sounds like someone did a poor job programming a movie site if they did that though.

Also TCM is effectively a slasher, in that people who enjoy slashers are going to find a lot of what they want in it. But it came long before, so it doesn't really conform to any of those stupid rules. What TCM actually is is an art film, borderline experimental tonally. A mood piece. Which is why Stu is always going to be wrong about his complaint that there is too much running and screaming
Also the entire movie is on land, which is the lesser part of the film compared to the non-existent part of the movie that's out in the ocean.



Quick question. How many of those who see TCM as a slasher are from N. America?
Wooly and I are both United Statesers. I think it's more because I associate Leatherface with Jason, Michael, and Freddy (and I always hear those three listed as slashers), and I can't take the term 'slasher' literally in the instrument of death because of Jason* and Freddy.

*: The amount of head crushing, pitchfork stabbing, axe-cleaving, and harpoon firing he does in the early ones...

I suspect there might be a cultural side to this as there is with other 'horror' films (not that I'm saying TCM isn't a horror) but in the early years of my internet experience I had quite a few discussions about Silence Of The Lambs and whether it's a horror film. It isn't, btw. And in later years, Se7en (which really isn't) and Aliens (which I've said more than enough on over the years and, for the love of God trust me on this one, it isn't) but most of the people I've had these discussions with were from N. America. I don't know if it's to do with the way we consumed movies back then (in N. America you had big chains across the continent, so everything was categorised the same. I don't know about elsewhere but in the UK it was primarily independent video shops), that more N. Americans were online back then, the way they were written about or something else?

It might just be a time thing and as US entertainment and standards have spread, so has their view of what things are. Or it could simply be that sub-genres are even less defined than genres and, therefore, people have different standards/restrictions as to what fits where? I don't know, but I do find it interesting. Unlike TCM, which I don't.

Never has the line "Shut that ****s mouth before I come over there and ****-start her head." been more apt.
Puts Honeykid on list of people who I don't trust for genre-classification.
Apparently not nearly as bad as Wooly when it comes to comedy though.



Welcome to the human race...
#34. Stop Making Sense
(Jonathan Demme, 1984)



"Hi, I've got a tape I want to play."

I've been fortunate enough to see David Byrne perform live twice, both times involving a considerable cross-section of songs from his time as frontman of iconic art-rock outfit Talking Heads. Both times made for some of the best live music I've ever experienced, but I can't help but wonder how it would've felt to experience the Heads at the peak of their powers. At least we have Stop Making Sense to serve as a vibrant document of the band touring their commercial breakout album Speaking in Tongues. Not content to simply intensify their genre-bending approach to New Wave through an electrifying performance by an expanded nine-piece ensemble, Byrne collaborates with Demme to develop a distinctly cinematic approach to the concert film that begins with the musicians slowly trickling in over the first few numbers and then crafting all manner of elaborate (or even pointedly minimal in the case of "Once in a Lifetime") numbers that are designed to be captured in as visually arresting a manner as possible. The oversized business suit used in "Girlfriend Is Better" rightfully became iconic for emphasising the nervy and absurd nature of the band's lyrics, but Byrne dancing with a floor lamp in "This Must Be The Place" underscores that song's own simple delights so very well. There's not even any slowing down proceedings for interviews or backstage footage, just a pure replication of the concert experience. Story time: I saw this in theatres a couple of years ago and heard some people try to clap after every number - at first nobody else joined in, but it didn't take long before everyone decided to stop making sense and clap for a forty-year-old concert. That's movie (and music) magic right there.

2005 ranking: N/A
2013 ranking: #48



Victim of The Night
Wooly and I are both United Statesers. I think it's more because I associate Leatherface with Jason, Michael, and Freddy (and I always hear those three listed as slashers), and I can't take the term 'slasher' literally in the instrument of death because of Jason* and Freddy.

*: The amount of head crushing, pitchfork stabbing, axe-cleaving, and harpoon firing he does in the early ones...



Puts Honeykid on list of people who I don't trust for genre-classification.
Apparently not nearly as bad as Wooly when it comes to comedy though.
I guess, Jason, Michael, and Freddy all came after Leatherface and they are the sole antagonists in their films. What Leatherface is is something else entirely. I think the other three have a lot more in common and are part of the Slasher movement while I think Leatherface and TCM pre-dates it and is something else entirely.



Victim of The Night
#34. Stop Making Sense
(Jonathan Demme, 1984)



"Hi, I've got a tape I want to play."

I've been fortunate enough to see David Byrne perform live twice, both times involving a considerable cross-section of songs from his time as frontman of iconic art-rock outfit Talking Heads. Both times made for some of the best live music I've ever experienced, but I can't help but wonder how it would've felt to experience the Heads at the peak of their powers. At least we have Stop Making Sense to serve as a vibrant document of the band touring their commercial breakout album Speaking in Tongues. Not content to simply intensify their genre-bending approach to New Wave through an electrifying performance by an expanded nine-piece ensemble, Byrne collaborates with Demme to develop a distinctly cinematic approach to the concert film that begins with the musicians slowly trickling in over the first few numbers and then crafting all manner of elaborate (or even pointedly minimal in the case of "Once in a Lifetime") numbers that are designed to be captured in as visually arresting a manner as possible. The oversized business suit used in "Girlfriend Is Better" rightfully became iconic for emphasising the nervy and absurd nature of the band's lyrics, but Byrne dancing with a floor lamp in "This Must Be The Place" underscores that song's own simple delights so very well. There's not even any slowing down proceedings for interviews or backstage footage, just a pure replication of the concert experience. Story time: I saw this in theatres a couple of years ago and heard some people try to clap after every number - at first nobody else joined in, but it didn't take long before everyone decided to stop making sense and clap for a forty-year-old concert. That's movie (and music) magic right there.

2005 ranking: N/A
2013 ranking: #48
I have so much love for this film.