The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Hero Everyone Forgets About

In my last post, I mentioned how inconsistent the original four-part Texas Chainsaw Massacre series is and said they should have reused more characters/actors to better connect the stories, instead of introducing so many new ones each time. Obviously, they could have done more with Sally. She’s written off as catatonic in Part 2, then killed in Leatherface without appearing in either. Teri McMinn believes her character, Pam, survived being hung on the meathook and frozen, which isn’t completely impossible. She posted some creative writing to Facebook in 2013 (in response to the first requel, I’m guessing) where Pam wakes up and sneaks out the backdoor to freedom. And what about Stretch? What happens to her? The same goes for the Sawyer clan. Leatherface is played by four different actors of varying size and winds up with no less than seven “brothers”, a mom, a daughter, at least one desiccated grandfather figure, and several accomplices. It’s hella confusing. I think we can all agree, Leatherface and The Next Generation would be stronger sequels if some of the lesser family members were swapped out for the Cook, the Hitchhiker, or Chop Top. I know they die, but that’s never stopped horror villains before.

One character I wish they would have brought back is the unsung hero of Part 1, Cattle Truck Driver. Sally’s unnamed savior arrives at just the right moment to eliminate one family member and help her escape another. The actor’s name is Ed Guinn, which sounds suspiciously similar to “Ed Gein”, who the movie was loosely based on. Guinn had an uncredited cameo in Part 2 as a chili cook-off judge — you can see him on the left side of the screen when Drayton accepts his award — however, what I want is a full-fledged reprisal of Cattle Truck Driver. Guinn is still going strong and is active on the convention circuit, so let’s make this happen.

At the end of Part 1, Sally “[breaks] out of a window in Hell”, as Part 2 puts it, and starts down the cannibal family’s neverending driveway toward the road, pursued by the Hitchhiker and Leatherface. The Hitchhiker is close enough to grab her whenever he wants, but savors the hunt, giggling and slashing her back with a razor. He chases her right into traffic, where he’s unexpectedly run down by an 18-wheeler named Black Maria. I love how the movie starts with roadkill and ends with roadkill. It really ties it together. The driver of the truck gets out to verify that what he hit was a human and sees Sally limping toward him screaming bloody murder. Leatherface rounds the back of his truck with a running chainsaw, prompting the driver to pivot and pull Sally into his cab. Fortunately, Leatherface just stands there for a few seconds dinging up the door instead of trying the handle or jabbing his weapon through the open window.

Credit: Tubi TV

Nobody thinks clearly here. The truck driver and Sally should speed off, but hop out the gay passenger side (it says “G-AY” on it) and continue on foot. The driver becomes the only character to get a shot in at Leatherface when he turns and bonks him square in the forehead with a pipe wrench, causing Leatherface to fall backward and saw through his leg — according to Guinn, a slab of meat atop a metal plate inside Gunnar Hansen’s pants. The driver’s quick thinking allows Sally to hop in the bed of a pickup, surviving long enough to tell her tale to police.

As for him, well, he keeps on running, right out of frame. Some say he’s still running to this day. It would be awesome to see him randomly run through the background of a sequel or even an unrelated movie, stopping to throw wrenches when needed.

The makers of Texas Chainsaw 3D failed to see the potential. They tried to do him dirty. In an alternate scene contained on the DVD, he’s shown hanging from a meathook in the farmhouse slaughter room. Thankfully, someone had the sense to cut that sacrilege from the final film, meaning it never happened and Cattle Truck Driver lives on.

I’m not saying he should have a big role if he ever comes back. One scene is all I ask. Realistically, I’m envisioning him being interviewed by a reporter. So, how ’bout it, Hollywood? Give the people what they want and do the character justice this time.

“Let me tell you, that shit was cracker crazy.”

I Like Boobs

It’s no secret that (straight) preteen boys enjoy ogling women’s bodies in various states of undress. They can’t help it. They’re hardwired to do so at a biological level. And of course curiosity plays a big part. You might not want to believe that a well-respected member of society like myself would partake, but even I’ve glimpsed a bosom or two in my day. Don’t blame me, blame the guy who made science.

Today’s youth are spoiled. They have a literal unlimited supply of free porn at their fingertips. They can look up naked women whenever they want on their iPhones. My generation could only dream of a future where such things were possible. I mean, the internet was around, but not everybody had it at home, and certainly not on their phones. I acquired most of my knowledge of female anatomy from cult, exploitation, and horror movie VHSs (later, DVDs) and the occasional Playboy that my brother stole from the bookstore. My pause and rewind buttons got a good workout. Ever wonder why the nude scenes had the most tracking lines? Yeah, that was me. Whoever invented the A-B repeat function on DVD players, god bless.

Credit: A Goofy Movie, Disney DVD

There are obviously less penises in movies than there are breasts, but they still pop up now and then (pun intended). Man butts, on the other hand, are in no short supply. I’d be willing to bet girls paused and rewound just as much as we boys did. They’d never admit it, though.

One of the cool things about Amazon is that there’s not really an age verification system in place, which means that at a few years later, when I got my first job, I was able to order explicitly pornographic movies like Tinto Brass’ Salon Kitty and Caligula from the high school computer lab straight to my doorstep. Big win for me.

I can’t recall where I first read about Salon Kitty, or what made me want to buy it, but there’s a 99.99% chance it had to do with the butt cheeks on the cover of Blue Underground’s standard DVD edition. Caligula‘s reputation precedes it as an epic, triple x-rated garbage fire, so of course I bought that one too.

Of the two, I recommend that you check out Salon Kitty ASAP. It’s an Italian Nazi exploitation drama/cabaret musical (!) set during World War II, based on a real-life whorehouse which members of the SS intelligence agency rigged to spy on each other. It’s one of the sleaziest pieces of trash ever conceived, yet it’s totally classy and well-produced too, if that makes any sense. A lot of that’s due to production designer Ken Adam (Dr. Strangelove, Moonraker).

Highlights — actually, “lowlights” would be the more appropriate term — include multiple song and dance numbers, slaughterhouse footage of pigs being killed, dwarf penis, double amputee penis, tons of “normal guy” penis, a whimsical pube shaving & ass powdering montage, and the single greatest shot in the history of the medium, one which trucks over twenty-five bare-naked beauts standing shoulder to shoulder on a stage while a Nazi officer looks them over. The shot has it all — perky boobies, circular boobies, swangin’ boobies, side-set boobies, lopsided boobies…

As far as top iconic shots of all time go, you’ve got the the shadow ascending the staircase in Nosferatu, the burning windmill in Frankenstein, the dolly zoom down the stairwell in Vertigo… Then, above all those, you’ve got this

Credit: Blue Underground DVD

Credit: Blue Underground DVD

Perfection. After the last print of Salon Kitty was sent out to cinemas, cameras everywhere should have been seized and their blueprints destroyed because nothing else has compared to this shot in the forty-three years since, and nothing ever will.

The rest of the movie is pretty great too. In one bizarre scene, a man tells a woman to place a loaf of bread shaped like a dingus between her legs. The man proceeds to go down on the bread while a projection of a Hitler speech plays over their bodies. Without warning, he bites the bread in half. The woman screams in abject terror, gets up, and goose-steps across the room, having suffered an apparent mental breakdown. Next thing you know, she’s being carried out on a stretcher while foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. Hilariously, someone picks up the broken bits of bread and piles them on her chest as if they held special significance to her. Hold on! Can’t forget these!

I literally skipped school to watch Salon Kitty and Caligula. My mom left for work before I left for the bus, so I called her those mornings and told her I overslept because I was sick. She phoned in my absences, no questions asked. The perfect crime. Take that, the establishment!

Another one of my first sleazy purchases was Thriller: A Cruel Picture. I picked up my red, “Limited Edition” version from a book store called Borders. It was marked up to, like, $27.99, but money was no object. The back cover reads, and I quote:

[Frigga] rebels against her captor only to have one of her eyes gouged out as punishment (in a scene rumored to have been filmed with an actual corpse)… THRILLER is presented here with all the graphic sex, violence, and action intact. Over 20 minutes of additional footage has been restored!

How could anybody resist that? It was a must-own. One problem, though. The back cover also states quite explicitly not to sell it to minors. Who puts those warnings there? You’re ruining lives. Fortunately, my older brother was with me, so I sent him up to the checkout.

Thriller was everything that I hoped it would be and more. It tells a tale as old as time. A girl is sexually assaulted by a stranger in a park and grows up to be mute Christina Lindberg. Toward the beginning, she’s driven away by a second stranger, injected with heroin, and forced into a life of prostitution. Forty-eight hours without a fix and she’ll die, he tells her (pretty sure that wouldn’t happen, at least not after a few days or weeks). Frigga tries to run, but as mentioned above, gets one of her eyeballs sliced open with a scalpel as punishment.

I’ll save you the trouble of a Google search — Ms. Lindberg has stated several times in interviews that a recently-deceased young woman was in fact used for the scene, which was shot in a morgue.

Frigga’s parents later kill themselves when they read a letter penned by her captor. In a bid to exact revenge, Frigga uses her tips to enroll in martial arts courses, firearm training and driving lessons between John (and Jane) appointments. Eventually, she gets her hands on a sawed-off shotgun, a car, and a ton of her own heroin. Let’s just say, “They called her One Eye, then ran for their lives!”

NOTE: When watching the movie in English, the main character’s name is Frigga. When watching the movie in Swedish with English subs, her name is Madeleine. Same character, different name. Kinda confusing.

Thriller is somewhat notorious because it contains hardcore inserts and most of its sex is presented as rape. The material in question only amounts to about seventy-five seconds of film, but can definitely be classified as “pornographic.” Before you ask, the no-nos were played by a body double. Whether or not said footage is truly necessary has been debated. On one hand, it deepens the impact of the violation endured by Frigga. On the other, it could have been added solely to incite controversy. Upon its initial US release, Thriller was re-titled They Call Her One Eye and sheared of approximately twenty-two minutes of action (well over the seventy-five seconds of inserts). As such, the film exists in two forms, R-rated and X-rated ⁠— the latter of which would be my suggestion, simply because it’s what the director intended.

For me, the most shocking part is when it shows a man glazing Frigga’s butthole like a donut, in full graphic detail. You’ll never look at a Krispy Kreme the same way again.

Thriller is one of those films that you hear about again and again until you finally track it down and watch it. If cheap 70s action served with a side of Kung Fu and sex sounds intriguing, you won’t be disappointed. Go buy it.

A drawing I did in my one of my high school English classes.

Even though I only really enjoy two of these movies, all three played an important part in corrupting my innocence. So, uh… Thanks, I guess? Have you seen any of these? What were your first dirty movies? Leave a comment below.

“Wet Wilderness” (1975)

Directed By
Lee Cooper

Version Reviewed
Exploitation TV version

Total Runtime
~54:40

Synopsis
Bernard Hermann’s score from Psycho plays over the film’s opening credits. The music is warped and jumps every few seconds. It sounds like it’s dying. Four people walk into frame. A mother, her son & daughter, and the daughter’s girlfriend. They’re all about the same age and seem high. One of them mumbles something about a cabin. They walk up to a cabin.

Hermann’s legacy lives on.
Credit: Exploitation.tv

The daughter and her girlfriend wander off to a clearing. The girlfriend takes pictures of the daughter. They start making out and have sex. There’s a lot of overdone moaning dubbed in. A bad motherfucker walks in from the background. He’s wearing golf pants, an unbuttoned shirt, and an orange ski mask with the word LOVE written across it in permanent marker. There’s black makeup around his eyes, which makes him look like a budget Deadpool. He’s holding a machete. “Well, now isn’t that nice?” he asks while the daughter goes down on the girlfriend. Five seconds later, they hear him.

Oh shit!
Credit: Exploitation.tv

“So, you girls like each other, huh? Ever had a man?” the about-to-be-rapist inquires. “You, take off my pants.” he says, motioning to one. “Do it! Come on, take ’em down.” His small-to-average size boner flops out of his underwear. “Now that’s what a real man looks like. Suck it. You, come over here and help her.” he demands of the other. “That’s right, one on one side and one on the other. Use your tongues, girls.”

[continued below]

Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
The daughter scampers away. The rapist turns his attention to the girlfriend. “Alright,” he says, “lay down there, cunt. I got a surprise for you. Spread your legs out. Close your eyes. Hehehe.” He proceeds to kill her by jabbing his machete into her pelvis.

I’m pretty sure I have that same camera bag.
Credit: Exploitation.tv

The daughter runs up to her mother and brother. The killer heads them off. “My goodness, we got the whole fan damily here, don’t we?”

WHOLE.

FAN.

DAMILY.

DON’T WE?

Then, he clarifies, “I mean take off your clothes, bitch!”

The masked murderer forces the sister to suck off her brother while he fucks the mom. Then he makes the mom suck the son. The most disturbing part is that this family doesn’t seem to be too distressed about all the forced incest. The daughter runs off. Again. It’s sunset when she makes her getaway. The next moment, it’s magically midday and the killer is shown watching on from a distance with a different mask — this time an orange and black mask with a second black mask underneath it. It’s unclear if the brother dies here, but I think he does. RIP.

Some fans subscribe to the “two killer theory” — just kidding, this movie doesn’t have fans.
Credit: Exploitation.tv

The daughter stops running long enough to untie a black guy from a tree. Oh yeah, there’s a black guy tied to a tree. While she does that, the killer drags the mom through the woods by an arm. Somehow, they catch up to the daughter. The killer makes the mom watch as the daughter goes down on the black guy. Once again, the lighting is wrong. The sex scene that follows was filmed during the day, while the cutaway shots of the mom looking mortified take place at night.

At the 37 minute mark, the killer’s voice changes. Like, it’s clearly a different actor.

At that point, the killer makes the mom join in. The second time — I repeat, the second time — the black guy ejaculates, he yells “You ain’t supposed to cum!” and strikes him in the chest with a hatchet. Blood sprays all over the women. They appear to be startled, but not overly bothered by it.

After that, the killer commands the two women to go down to a river and wash up. It doesn’t show them doing this, but they come back clean, so I guess they did. The killer makes them both suck him off again. While his eyes are closed, the daughter grabs his machete and swings it at him. The screen goes black. He screams. It’s implied that his penis is chopped off, but nothing is shown, leaving the door wide open for a sequel.

There are no end credits.

Surveillance footage of the East Area Rapist in action.
Credit: Exploitation.tv

There’s very little info available on this movie outside of a short Wikipedia article. And by “little” I mean none. All I can find is that director Lee Cooper made another movie with the same cast called Winnebango (clever), and one without called A Fantasy Fulfilled.

Wet Wilderness is what’s known as a “roughie”. I’m no porn connoisseur, but the term as I understand it refers to films of the 60s and 70s that infused sex with violence and sadism.

Put simply, Wet Wilderness is a poorly-made, mean-spirited porno full of murder, forced incest, and rape… And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s an element of racism to it as well. Some of the stuff the killer spouts — like “big black son of a bitch” — is probably not cool. On top of that, the black guy is given the most brutal death. Wet Wilderness would be really offensive, were it not so comically bad. One of the users on Exploitation.tv christened it the Troll 2 of roughies. I think that’s fair.

One thing that astounds me about it is how point-and-shoot it is. Everything is in close-up or medium shot. The camera moves maybe twice. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it has the fewest unique shots of any movie I’ve seen in my life. There’s almost no B-roll. I didn’t notice any long shots or establishing shots whatsoever. Laziness. Maximum laziness.

Technically and artistically, Wet Wilderness is the shits, the nadir of filmmaking. There isn’t much worse. It’s also a great human achievement. Great because I’ve never seen something so brazenly half-assed and offensive. That’s a feat all its own. No one has the guts to make outlaw garbage like this anymore. And if they did, it would feel phony. It was a different time back in 1975, that’s for sure.

Something else that astounds me about it is how closely it follows the slasher formula. Bear in mind, Wet Wilderness came out three whole years before that subgenre hit its stride with Halloween. Take a look at the plot here — masked murderer hacks up over-sexed young people at a campground with an axe and machete. Ring any bells? In all seriousness, this might be the first camp slasher ever produced. It predates the earliest examples I can think of offhand… Friday the 13th (1980), The Burning (1981), Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone! (1981), Madman (1981), and Sleepaway Camp (1983). I’m not saying it influenced or laid the groundwork for those bigger, better productions, just pointing out that it did come before them. Something to think about.

I watched this pre-slasher slasher on Exploitation TV at the suggestion of my trusted physician, Dr. Hummp. Sadly, that streaming service shut down over the summer. I grabbed my screen shots from there before it went offline because I knew I wanted to cover this. I just had to find time to sit down and type out my notes.

According to my research, Wet Wilderness is available in a “Rapist Rampage” two-pack DVD put out by After Hours Cinema. The other movie it comes with is titled Come Deadly (1973). At least one review of the disc claims the whole soundtrack, Psycho music, dialogue, sound effects, everything, was scrapped and re-dubbed to avoid copyright issues. As far as I know, Exploitation TV was the only way to watch the original version, short of owning an actual film print.

Someone should start an Indiegogo campaign or Change.org petition to raise enough money to license the music from Universal and put out a “proper” release. I’d contribute forty bucks for a Blu-ray and stickers. No, really, I would…

In closing, balls.

Body Count
2, maybe 4.

Bod Count
3 men, 3 women.

Overall Enjoyability
3 Psycho soundtracks out of 5.

I Got My Copy From
N/A

Recommendations
these other roughies I’ve heard of:

Widow Blue! (1970)
The Zodiac Rapist (1972)
Forced Entry (1973)
Come Deadly (1973)
A Climax of Blue Power (1975)
The Defiance of Good (1975)
The Image (1975)
The Story of Joanna (1975)
The Farmer’s Daughters (1976)
Femmes de Sade (1976)
Hardgore (1976)
Hot Summer in the City (1976)
Sex Wish (1976)
The Taking of Christina (1976)
The Devil Inside Her (1977)
Unwilling Lovers (1977)
Water Power (1977)
Expensive Tastes (1978)
Summer Heat (1979)
Her Name Was Lisa (1980)
The Story of Prunella (1982)
The Taming of Rebecca (1982)