In the groundbreaking book Men, Women, and Chainsaws, author Carol Clover brought a groundbreaking feminist perspective to her examination of horror movies from the 1970s and 1980s. Her observations have since gained acceptance among critics, academics, and fans alike, exposing both obvious and hidden subtexts regarding violence and gender dynamics in film. She makes it clear that sharp penetrating objects represent phalluses and the act of being murdered on film is a metaphor for rape.
Clover primarily examined revenge and occult horror movies, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre was analyzed at length. For an example of genre violence being used as a metaphor for rape, just check out the featured image [Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, 1982] above! The poster for the next installment in the TCM franchise, a prequel called Leatherface, definitely echoes these symbolic elements. Have a look-see:
Leatherface, directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury from a script penned by Seth M. Sherwood, arrives on VOD exclusively via DirecTV this September. Check out the trailer and synopsis below.
Official Synopsis: Prequel about teenage Leatherface who escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnaps a young nurse and takes her on a road trip from hell. Along the way, they are pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge, one of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy his mind, molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.
Leatherface film stars Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, and Nicole Andrews.
You can learn more about Men, Women, and Chainsaws in the video below.
Official Synopsis: From its first publication in 1992, Men, Women, and Chain Saws has offered a groundbreaking perspective on the creativity and influence of horror cinema since the mid-1970s. Investigating the popularity of the low-budget tradition, Carol Clover looks in particular at slasher, occult, and rape-revenge films. Although such movies have been traditionally understood as offering only sadistic pleasures to their mostly male audiences, Clover demonstrates that they align spectators not with the male tormentor, but with the females tormented―notably the slasher movie’s “final girls”―as they endure fear and degradation before rising to save themselves. The lesson was not lost on the mainstream industry, which was soon turning out the formula in well-made thrillers.