As part of their “Made in Austin” series this weekend, Los Angeles’ Cinefamily presents two slabs of Texas weirdness from director Tobe Hooper. First is Eggshells, a 1969 experimental film that had been considered lost until its discovery in 2009. Hooper describes the film as a cross between "Andy Warhol's Trash and Walt Disney's Fantasia."
Splicing New Wave cinema with American psychedelia, Hooper polished his skills with Eggshells to better create the strange, haunted imagery he so notoriously employed in 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The latter film, a crude, shocking portrait of a severely dysfunctional family and their chainsaw-wielding son was made for almost nothing compared to today’s budgets, even by the standards of indie cinema. Massacre is all the better for it, with the saturated colors of the Texas landscape serving as the perfect backdrop for those unfortunate travelers who happen upon Leatherface and his fam. Some say it’s a veiled plea for universal vegetarianism; others claim hidden political messages. Either way, it’s one of the most copied scenarios in the dull gorefests of contemporary horror, but accomplished here without precedent.