In 1979 Texas, run-down producer Wayne intends to make a porn film to sort out his troubled finances. With him, in the van directed to the place chosen for the filming, there is an equally shabby group: the actresses Maxine (Wayne’s girlfriend) and Bobby-Lynne, the ex-marine actor Jackson, the director RJ (who doesn’t hide his authorial ambitions) and his shy girlfriend Lorraine, who acts as his assistant. The journey ends on the isolated farm of the elderly and grumpy Howard, from whom Wayne has rented a rather shabby outbuilding which, unbeknownst to the old man, will be the set of the porno, entitled The Farmer’s Daughters. Everything seems perfect and the crew is full of enthusiasm as filming begins. But Howard’s elderly wife is vigilant and has strange ideas.
Ti West is a director with a sure “horror heart”, he loves the genre, knows it and has frequented it a lot with often interesting results, but not always entirely successful. After a few years dedicated mainly to television work, West returns to horror for cinema with this film which certainly represents his best work in the genre.
The spirit of the 70s is well captured and the trip by van of the crew of a carefree porn film, as well as recalling a similar journey that took place in the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Tobe Hooper (not surprisingly also the one set in Texas), is a journey into the deepest and sickest heart of the most backward America, with frequent television references to religious preachers. But not only. The confrontation between the young actors and filmmakers and the decrepit couple of farmers is also the confrontation between youth and hopeless old age, where the elderly, especially the old woman, express a desperate and destructive desire for youth.
The clash is therefore not only generational, but also, so to speak, philosophical. Pearl, the farmer’s wife, is unable to get old and she still wants to enjoy the passions and sex, which she secretly sees practiced with ease by porn actors. It is an interesting theme that West carries out with skill and even with a certain depth, only yielding in the second part to the demands of the more typical narrative schemes showing the usual massacre, staged with skill, but with a certain predictability.
The couple formed by Howard and Pearl is well outlined and refers to other significant horror couples. The desperate search for one’s youth and the sexual satisfaction that accompanied it recalls the couple played by the great Boris Karloff and the good Catherine Lacey in The Satan Killer by the unforgettable Michael Reeves, while the husband’s devotion to his clearly mentally disturbed wife recalls the spouses of another epochal horror, Pete Walker’s criminal Black. West knows these precedents well and knows how to deal with such a morbid and disturbing subject. It also does so with some directing refinements that do not go unnoticed, such as the frequent use of alternating sequences to highlight analogies and contrasts: above all, the sequences with the strange first meeting between Pearl and Maxine alternating with the scenes from the porn film.

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