Hounds of Love serves as the alternative for those who understand why the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic but can’t stomach the over the top gore. Leather Face opening a freezer to show us the trauma of his victims is one thing, but showing him tossing his victims onto hooks like cattle is what should have been left to the viewer’s imagination. Unfortunately, many claimed horror aficionados flock to such low brow and pointless spoon-feeding. Your imagination, which unlocks the doors to what you think is happening, is terrifying. Being force-fed what happens so that your brain shuts off is more akin to drooling over the Kardashians on E!
So what you get in Hounds of Love is an assault on the senses from behind closed doors. John White’s mustache (shaved to unusual, terrifying trash heap innuendo by Stephen Curry) is nearly a character unto itself. When he walks in the room where one of his victims is chained to the bed, he turns to the camera and shuts the door. Leather Face did the exact same scene four decades ago. And the execution of how it tells you what you know is going to happen draws you into rooting for the victim. The other thing that truly sets Hounds of Love apart is its uncompromising character study. When Vicki tells Evelyn that John is using her, she flips out, calms down by taking a bath, putting on lipstick, and stroking a scar on her stomach from a c-section before sharing why she’s doing all of these things with John. Since you’re let in on every little secret in the love nest, you’ll find yourself pleading with each character. However, the root of great horror is rendering you powerless once you enter unfamiliar territory. Viewing John and Evelyn’s kidnapping routine and how they celebrate their love, not yours, with others behind closed doors will more than keep your spine shivering from start to finish. Hounds of Love is a horror gem that deserves far more praise than its less deserving box office darlings like It and Get Out.