Tobe Hooper, 1974
Opening duration: 4:43
Using a radio or media like that to relay information to the audience.
Matching the music to things happening on screen for example the title cards changing.
Showing short snippets of scene or not revealing the whole scene straight away to add tension.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 American slasher film. It follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. It was marketed as a true story but is fictional.
There are no idents in this movie.
|first set of titles|
After the opening there are the rest of the titles, which are set out how you would usually see the end credits today but it was quite common to have the titles look like this in older movies. However, the titles are in the usual order of company names, director, cast, crew, then director again.
|second set of titles|
The colours are mainly red and black, with yellow writing to make it stand out from the background. It looks like blood is leaking everywhere in the background of the titles. This gives anchorage that the movie is a slasher. The music also signifies that the movie is a slasher because when the titles change there is a drum sound which makes you jump a little bit, putting you on edge for the rest of the movie.
|... and a decomposing foot on the floor|
|Decomposing fingers flash on screen...|
|The dead body attached to a gravestone in a graveyard|
Narrative, Genre, and Exposition
We can find out a lot about the setting/exposition of the film through this opening. The film camera tells us that it was set in the 20th century. The radio presenter's voice is American and this tells us it is set in America. The colour of the graveyard scene is quite yellow, which makes it look hot and could tell us that it is set in a hotter part of the USA. The darkness at the start tells us that that scene is set at night, because it is dark even though they are outside.
The main purpose of this film opening is setting up the dis-equilibrium in the narrative. It shows us that something is wrong, an incident has happened which will affect the main character in some way. The fact that it is reported on the radio tells us it is a big event for the town and this tells us it will be a big event in the movie too.
There are lots of genre signifiers. The soundtrack is very tense and jumpy which signifies a horror movie. There are gory pictures of dead bodies which tells us it will be quite bloody and graphic i.e. a slasher movie. The titles show us that it is a slasher movie too because of the bloody background and shaky-ness of the background too.
There is an audio bridge between the titles and the opening.
The audio starts with diegetic sounds of chopping, digging, cutting, and a mumbling person. The screen is black so you can only hear what's happening. The flash of a film camera can be heard which corresponds to flashes on the screen of images of decomposing flesh. (This makes it look like the camera has taken a photo). There are continued diegetic sounds of slicing, and a radio is fading in talking about a crime that has happened.
Non-diegetic music has also faded in, and as the scene changes the diegetic sound stops and only the radio and music remain. We see now that the radio is talking about a specific crime that is shown on screen. The radio is the main focus so we get exposition about the scene that we are seeing.
The music is long notes with tingling sounds every so often that reminded me of heartbeats because there was usually two jingles in a row. Some drums come in, slowly building up until the second set of titles show. There is lots of music e.g. drums and long notes. The radio is talking about something else like it is just being played in the background and no one is paying attention to it.