Ti West really brought on the 1970s horror nostalgia with X, which paid heavy homage to 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The look of the film was gritty, it leaned into a grindhouse feel, and it was even set in the ‘70s.
A group of aspiring filmmakers book a boarding house owned by elderly couple Howard and Pearl, neglecting to tell the owners that they will be filming an X-rated movie on the property. Producer Wayne is convinced that they can make a respected flick and hit it big, just like happened with Debbie Does Dallas.
Maxine and Bobby-Lynn (Mia Goth and Brittany Snow) are the starlets, the appropriately named Jackson Hole (Kid Cudi) is the studly lead man, and the slightly nerdy RJ (Owen Campbell) is the cameraman. Rounding out the group is RJ’s girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega), who is so timid that Wayne calls her “Church Mouse.”
When Maxine wanders away from the house, she ends up meeting Pearl (also played by Mia Goth), and the encounter stirs something up in the old woman. We see her trying to entice her husband Howard to have sex, but he apparently has serious heart problems, and fears it will kill him.
In keeping with its nostalgic feel, X used practical special effects.
Slight spoiler here: His refusal to assuage his wife’s desires ends up killing A LOT of people. Although X starts out kind of slow, we are eventually treated to some great practical effects, and there is plenty of gore in store for the viewer. Add to that the fact that the actors each do a swell job, and you have a pretty great throwback horror film.
The budget for X was a paltry $1 million, and it earned $4 million on its opening weekend alone, so it’s safe to say it was a success. People who attended a theatrical showing of X were also treated to an end credits surprise: A prequel was already in the can. As it turns out, a second film was made at the same time as X, and Pearl would be released in September of this year.
At the premier of Pearl, a third film was announced, MaXXXine. It will be a sequel to X, set in the 1980s. Of course, it also stars Mia Goth.
If you are one of those horror fans who re-watches the same films every year during October, please continue on with your tradition. But, if I may suggest a double feature, follow up your annual watch of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre with a viewing of X.
Is X on your October viewing list? Tell us why or why not in the comments section.