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A 1974 American independent horror film written, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel.

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Everything, including the chainsaw on the kitchen sink (DVD review)

  • Jun 18, 2011
Fans of this cult favorite can relax - no, they didn't gloss up the film stock with digital sheen to make it look as though it were filmed yesterday. To be certain, TCM was cleaned up: the colors are brighter and more vibrant, and the film's nocturnal sequences aren't quite as murky as they were in the VHS edition. But this minor buffing hasn't betrayed the film's gritty, low-budget, high-grain 16mm (as transferred to 35mm stock) aesthetic. The '70s zeitgeist isn't even remotely diminished, but the attractive wide shots (mostly rural Texan landscapes) are as eye-catching as ever. The only way to get a better look at this film is to obtain the original theatrical reels, cigarette burns and all!

This DVD offers quite a few features for fans of TCM, Tobe Hooper and Gunnar Hansen. Prominent among these are the soundtrack selections. For standard viewing, the film's soundtrack can be heard as a crisp stereo surround track that's a bit bright, and as the film's original mono recording, which is blunt, a bit messy and preferable for anyone who wants a more authentic listening experience. The third option is a conversational audio commentary voiced by Hooper, Hansen and cinematographer Daniel Pearl. For fans and film students alike, I couldn't recommend this feature more; it's informative and very funny. Unlike certain audio commentary tracks, which are very dry as a result of the participants being recorded independently, this one benefits from the interaction between director, actor and cinematographer, especially when the three are comparing memories and discussing related experiences of a film that they collaborated on decades prior to this recording.

The disc's deleted scenes and alternate footage aren't quite so essential, but they are of mild interest. All of them consist of raw, untreated footage. The clips that haven't any sound are supplemented with textual script extracts. I think that audio commentary tracks would have been preferable to the textual summaries provided for each clip. Yes, the infamous makeup scene is included.

One of the more interesting featurettes is A Study In Filming, which consists of every unedited shot that was used to film the twenty-second scene in which Leatherface commits his first onscreen murder. Even though this is essentially filler, it is somewhat engrossing, as it illustrates how much footage is required for a heavily edited (albeit short) scene.

This disc would be far from complete without the theatrical and televised trailers for the 1974 Bryanston release and New Line Cinema's 1980 re-release. Both sets of trailers are adequate and stylistically representative of their respective periods of release. Although it was hardly necessary to include the ludicrous trailers of TCM's delightfully goofy first sequel and its two incomparably terrible successors, they do make for compulsive viewing. Be forewarned: these may induce squirms in a state of embarrassed discomfort.

The blooper reel is short, but rather amusing. Although it's nice to know that the making of this film was sometimes as jocular as it was maddening, the finished product is much more hilarious.

Silent footage of the Family's house is included. This provides a more detailed perspective of the macabre interior art design that featured quite a few chicken and human bones. I needn't mention that this is strictly intended for fans.

The provided film and production stills are competently shot, but not terribly interesting. They're included for the sake of completeness.

On the other hand, the scanned lobby cards and posters are definitely worth a look. The cards are typical (and probably worth quite a lot on eBay), but the art design of the theatrical posters are especially interesting. The Italian, German and Japanese posters are especially attractive and evocative, and some of them implement a few photos and paintings that I've never seen before.

For hardcore fans of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this is an essential purchase if they don't already have it. For the more casual fan of horror and '70s B-films, this is definitely worth a rental.
Everything, including the chainsaw on the kitchen sink (DVD review)

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More The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reviews
review by . June 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     It takes a true genius to take something as twisted as the concepts and characters dealt with in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and make them satirical material. So not only is one of the scariest horror films of all time still scary, but it's also funny. This is one of the only times where you can say such a thing, but heck, that's why the film deserves to be remembered.    I believe that Tobe Hooper did something pretty impressive when …
Quick Tip by . August 03, 2010
this movie scared me to death and still does. the effects for the time are good. its one of those movies that you watch and your thinking about for a week.
review by . May 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
By now, everyone who has a remote interest in horror films has seen atleast one of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films & knows of it's great importance in the horror genre. While the film may be tame by today's standards, there is no denying the dramatic effect it had on viewers upon the initial release. Along with Night of the Living Dead & ofcourse Hitchcock's Psycho, TCM may very well be one the most influential films to ever grace the silver scream & rightfully has secured it's place …
review by . May 04, 2009
A seventies horror film classic!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying films of all times. Not only did this movie spawn three sequels but it was recently remade (badly might I add) by a big Hollywood company. It also was responsible for many knock-offs and cut rate rip-offs. Despite the fact that there's really no graphic set pieces or expensive special effects, the film is creepy and scary as hell and it's some what based upon a true story.      A group of grave robbers are raiding …
review by . December 04, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was the first modern horror film (well, besides PSYCHO). EVIL DEAD and HALLOWEEN both came later (but all three films formed the foundation for the modern horror film). Tobe Hooper's low budget picture sets itself to be a picture "based on a true story" (twenty years before THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), though there never really was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There really was an Ed Gein who killed people and chopped them up and made clothes from skin and he serves as the …
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About this movie


The feature film directorial debut from Tobe Hooper. 

Based loosely on the crimes of Ed Gein.

First film of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series.

Tobe Hooper was trying to get a PG rating but was given an R instead.

This sensational, extremely influential, 1974 low-budget horror movie directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist,Lifeforce,Salem's Lot), may be notorious for its title, but it's also a damn fine piece of moviemaking. And it's blood-curdling scary, too. Loosely based on the true crimes of Ed Gein (also a partial inspiration forPsycho), the original Jeffrey Dahmer,Texas Chainsaw Massacrefollows a group of teenagers who pick up a hitchhiker and wind up in a backwoods horror chamber where they're held captive, tortured, chopped up, and impaled on meat hooks by a demented cannibalistic family, including a character known as Leatherface who maniacally wields one helluva chainsaw. The movie's powerful sense of dread is heightened by its grainy, semi-documentary style--but it also has a wicked sense of humor (and not that camp, self-referential variety that became so tiresome in subsequent horror films of the '70s, '80s, and '90s). OK, in case you couldn't tell, it's "not for everyone." But as a landmark in the development of the horror/slasher genre, it ranks withPsycho,Halloween, andA Nightmare on Elm Street.--Jim Emerson
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Director: Tobe Hooper
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 1, 1974
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Tobe Hooper, Kim Henkel
Runtime: 84 minutes
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