Martin Harris - Leatherface Vs Tricky Dick: The Texas Chain Saw Ma [Headpress - 2021]
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was shot and released in 1974, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. Written by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, the film appeared in cinemas just weeks after Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States. Watergate had been Nixon’s horror show and what better way to satirize it than with a horror movie. Both Hooper and Henkel are on record as having spoken out against the ills of contemporary politics, and both have acknowledged the influence contemporary politics played in the screenplay for the low budget masterpiece, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
So, imagine my delight when this book dropped through my letterbox a few weeks ago. This paperback unpicks the political underpinnings of Hooper’s classic horror gem and brings it into full view. I have to admit that a big part of me expected it to be a load of tenuous nonsense, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-researched, study of political satire disguised as horror. Leatherface vs Tricky Dick: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as Political Satire is a smart, well written and well-researched book.
Writer, Martin Harris has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the times and of the film itself. This really comes through as he dissects the film’s political subtext so beautifully. The way the book is laid out, is quite unique in itself. Rather than being set out in chapters, it’s laid out in accordance with specific scenes within the movie. Each scene follows the movies running order and provides a fascinating and thorough analysis of the aforementioned political subtext, as well as some pretty amusing moments of satire. Sadly, I’ve not had time to read the book and watch the film together, but I am looking forward to doing so in the not-so-distant future.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Leatherface vs Tricky Dick. Did I believe it all? I’m not so sure about everything in the book, but Harris really does make a good case for what he writes and I would suggest anyone with an interest in modern political history and horror movies gives this one a read. It’s an interesting and innovative style of writing and one that I would like to see more of in the future. To buy direct from the publishers Headpress drop by hereDarren Charles