Like many kids in the 1970s, I learned about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic of Grand Ole Guignol, on the playground in sixth grade. The self-appointed cinema professor (and bullshit artist) who described the opening scene swore it consisted of a man being split from head to crotch with one swift drop of a chainsaw while still standing, his body quaking in a ghastly jitterbug to the roar of a two-stroke engine symphony.
Of course the real movie could never match the carnival of carnage conjured up by an 11-year-old horror fan’s imagination. But that’s not to say that it didn’t pack plenty of shocks all its own. Unsurprisingly, the most memorable parts of the original TCM actually involve very little on-screen gore. One of the creepiest has the Saw Dynasty haul their patriarch downstairs for a tasty snack, courtesy of a captured hippie chick (as seen in the clip above). Even after repeated viewings, it’s a scene that’s unsettling and difficult to watch.
Tonight the big daddy of the Chainsaw Clan, actor John Dugan — who’s still much younger than the ancient ghoul he portrayed back in 1974 — will be making a special guest appearance at East Nashville’s clubhouse of cinematic cool, the Cult Fiction Underground beneath Logue’s Black Raven Emporium, 2915 Gallatin Rd. Dugan will be greeting fans, signing autographs and answering questions about his film career. He’ll also be introducing two screenings of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre at 8 and 10 p.m. Seating is limited and tickets are $7.
For a totally different type of “family” adventure, the Cult Fiction Underground screens Pee-Wee's Big Adventure 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. Sorry, but there will be no bicycle parking in the basement.