Two movies: “Precious” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”

(Note: Spoilers for both movies, but nothing that everyone probably has already been exposed to)

I saw both these movies this weekend. One I thought was very good but disturbing, the other I thought was so so, kind of sick, but I did watch it to the end. Yet thinking about it, is there a core theme in common and what does my reaction say about my biases?

Precious shows the plight of a teenage mother, pregnant with another child, in desperate straights: she lives with an  abusive mother, she is kicked out of school, people have told  her that she is stupid and worthless, she is desperately poor.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre shows several middle class teenagers with time on their hands exploring a derelict old house and encountering a family of (sorry:) cannibals who proceed to dine on these teenagers.

Ok: so you can tell which one I thought was good and which one I thought was sick. But what do they maybe have in common?  In each case the movie shows, closeup, events that happens, has happened, or could happen in real life which is horrible.

You can ask: what purpose can be served – what point is there – to spending your time making or watching such a film? It makes the viewer uncomfortable to see it and glorifies or at least gives a platform to the bad guys who are causing this misery.

Still my reaction to each movie was radically different, and I am thinking more about the commonalities that I think I see between the movies. What do you think?

0 thoughts on “Two movies: “Precious” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”

  1. What do they have in common?Hmmmmm….They are movies.You paid money to see them.You sat through them.I’ll be curious to read your thoughts since yourbiases are not immediately obvious from thismissive so far.Seems to me they are more different than alike both inpurpose and execution.Personally, I am unattracted to most all Horror Type filmsbut I understand their purpose. Bruno Bettleheim would describedthe value of the “horrible” in children’s literature. He said that givingverbal/visual imagery to the fears lodged in the childhood imaginationgives them a way to work through the fear rather than be dominated byit. Perhaps that explains the fact that the average age of those attractedto “Horror” films, is in the adolescent range.Bettleheim might not regard the TCM as “sick” since it served a purpose forthose who consumed it. ( of course that doesn’t make it a good movie ; > )I am confused and intrigued by your commonalities.Since there aren’t many cannibals and there are many poor, ignorant and mentally sick in urban settings it seems clear that one film used the unreal for shock value and the other used the real but I did not feel it was simply to shock.Gotta run. Fill me/us in on your thoughts.Best in the New Year.

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  2. I purposely (tried to) hide my biases in the previous post. Like you, I presume that cannibalism is uncommon, but there TCM also depicts horrible violence — torture, decapitation, dismemberment — which do occur … I was thinking about Daniel Pearle for example. I am not saying that the movies are similar, just expressing my surprise that I saw any thread of a common theme in two movies so different from each other.

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