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

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The First Modern Horror Film.

  • Dec 4, 2003
Rating:
+3
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 inspiration for the inbred family in the film.

The plot of the film is fairly simple. A group of young adults (probably just out of high school) are driving through Texas on a road trip. One of the members of the group (who also happens to be in a wheelchair) is curious to look at the old family house where he grew up. After stopping at an off road gas station and being told the gas truck won't be in until evening, the gang decides to check out the old family abode. While wondering through the fields, two of the people hear a gas motor and decide to check it out and see if they can borrow some gas. This leads them to a spooky house which they end up investigating and where they end up getting killed at. Their folly leads to the death of everyone else in the group, except for young Sally. Sally learns all about the perversity and sadism around her and eventually is able to escape right before having her skull bashed in.

You would think that the film would be rather gruesome, but it isn't. Other than a few flicks of blood off screen, there is hardly any gore in the picture at all. Instead, the movie takes a lesson from Hitchcock and scares by not showing much and leaving the horrors to one's imagination. Why does Leatherface have a mask that looks sewn from some sort of hide? Why are all those cars hidden beneath a camoflauge canopy? You have to put the pieces together yourself.

Because this film was one of the first modern horror films and because it was made on such a shoestring budget, the movie does feel somewhat dated and many may not enjoy it. Also, segments of the film are so common place in horror films today, they seem comical in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (such as the final part of the movie when Leatherface and his brother are chasing Sally). Maybe it will shock you, maybe it won't, but if you have any interest in horror movies or are a film buff, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is worth watching.

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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 …
review by . June 18, 2011
Everything, including the chainsaw on the kitchen sink (DVD review)
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 …
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
tcm
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 …
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About this movie

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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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Details

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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