Dead Ends: Ruin, Redundancy, and the Horrors of Precarity in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and It Follows

Abstract

While Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (2014) ostensibly focalise their films’ narratives upon the imminent threat of bodily violence which endangers their respective protagonists’ lives, a deeper analysis of both films illuminates the terror at the heart of the narratives: economic precarity and immobility. Both Hooper and Mitchell deliberately situate their horror films within settings that are haunted by the past hope of prosperity and which have corroded into ruins, left to rust and rot under the hostile conditions of post-industrial capitalism. These rents in the socio- economic fabric are intimately registered on a corporeal level, as the bodies of both Chain Saw protagonist Sally Hardesty and It Follows protagonist Jay Height become the sites onto which the capitalist horrors of unequal prosperity and labour redundancy are violently enacted. In Hooper’s film, the rural backwoods of Texas play host to a brutal confrontation between a working-class family—made redundant by the rise of automation and thus embodying the industrial atrophy of the American South—and a group of drifting, unfettered young people, represented by Sally and her friends.

How to Cite

Round, E., (2024) “Dead Ends: Ruin, Redundancy, and the Horrors of Precarity in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and It Follows”, Moveable Type 15(1), 18-27. doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.1755-4527.1770

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Emily Round

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