Wednesday, August 6, 2014

RIP, Marilyn Burns

Aw, man.  Sad news to report:
Marilyn Burns passed away yesterday.  She was found at her home in Texas.  No word yet on the official cause of death.  She was only 65.
Marilyn Burns was of course the leading lady and final girl in Tobe Hooper's horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), which ranks as one of the best horror movies ever made and is a personal favorite film of mine.  Burns' performance is remarkable, especially the terror and madness etched on her face by films end.  The final shot of her scream-laughing in the back of that truck is legendary.
By all accounts, it was a grueling shoot making that film.  She discusses some of that (and other things) in an interview over at The TerrorTrap.  While you're checking out interviews, you should also check out the one over at the aptly named Final Girl.  Good stuff.

After her signature role, Marilyn Burns had a brief and low-key film career.  She played Linda Kasabian in the Emmy-nominated TV-movie Helter Skelter (1976) and Tobe Hooper would cast her in his TCM follow-up, Eaten Alive (1977), which is a better and weirder film than people give it credit for.  After that she would star in low-budgeters Kiss Daddy Goodbye (1981) and Future-Kill (1985), a movie I've never seen but am only familiar with because of the H.R. Giger movie poster.

In more recent years Burns got roped back into the Chainsaw universe, popping up for a cameos in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) and Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), which might just be one of those "archival footage" cameo things, I'm not sure.  I don't plan on watching that movie (it looks and sounds shitty).

Burns' most recent completed film credit is Sacrament (2014; sadly, not the similarly titled Ti West film) with one as-yet-to-be-released film on the way, something called In a Madman's World.  Who knows how those movies are.

What I can tell you is that Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a great movie and Marilyn Burns was great in it.  I still find the film to be terrifying.  I'm going to watch it again soon.  It's a bummer she's gone.
Marilyn Burns.
Scream queen.
Final girl.
A nice lady.

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