Plenty of critics will dedicate paragraphs to the latter three of the bunch, but horror rarely gets to hold onto the spotlight, so it’s a balm to see such lowbrow genre representation on Quentin Tarantino’s quick-fire roundup of perfection. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” has been influential from the jump; not only has the slasher classic had a major impact on subsequent scary movies like Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” but it has remained a gold standard for horror with its taffy-pulled dread, repulsive aesthetics, and visceral dissection of the American family unit. This is why Tarantino choses to speculate on Tobe Hooper’s post-“TCM” filmography instead – it’s such “a one-of-a-kind beast,” he argues, that no subsequent work of Hooper’s could surpass it.
As for the movie that made you think twice about going into the water, “Jaws” is observed in the book with a feverish reverence. Tarantino writes:
“When ‘Jaws’ came out in 1975 it might not have been the best film ever made. But it was easily the best movie ever made. Nothing ever made before it came close. Because for the first time the man at the helm wasn’t a Richard Fleischer or a Jack Smight or a Michael Anderson executing a studio assignment. But a natural born filmmaker genius who grooved on exactly this kind of movie and would kill himself to deliver the exact vision that was in his head.
More on Steven Spielberg’s steadfast vision for the Peter Benchley book adaptation can be found here.
As for William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” Tarantino doesn’t have much to say in “Cinema Speculation.” But in the past, he’s teased that he wants to do a scary movie on the level of the demonic-possession film — something fans have been begging for ever since that creepy Spahn Movie Ranch sequence in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.”