The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Tobe Hooper

The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is something of beauty. Presented as a low budget slasher movie, this brutal and well planned feature has almost no blood or gore in it. Virtually no blood whatsoever. Instead the terror and fear conveyed is enough to give you nightmares. The implied gore seems to creep up on you a lot more than the actual stuff. The movie kind of lets your mind wonder and take you into places that you really don't want to go. Gunnar Hansen, Jim Siedow, and Edwin Neil are a terrifying cannibalistic family. Hansen does a masterful job as Leatherface, the infantile psychotic, chainsaw wielding, cannibalistic, man child. A new horror icon ready to terrorize your dreams nightly.

A group of young adults, driving across Texas, are looking for their family home. The group gets sidetracked and stranded after a run in with a very strange hitchhiker. To find help they begin migrating to a strange house in the Texas brush. One by one they fall victim to a family of cannibals that have been grave robbing in the area. The movie is "based on true events" in an effort to boost it's popularity. In actuality the movie is largely fabricated, though some things stem from the the real life Ed Gein.

While brutal and violent. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is actually more tame than most Jean Claude Van Damme movies. However, the overall tone is completely different. While most of the gore is implied you are encouraged to put the pieces together in your mind. Everything culminates during the dinner scene where Marilyn Burns (our heroine) is forced to watch the insanity that is this family, consume what very well might be her friends. It is one of the scariest scenes in horror movies. Hell, the intro scene is scary too. This movie is just plain scary. 

What would you do? This family could all too well be real. The Sawyer clan hides right out in the open. Running a small barbeque joint right off the side of the highway. Probably selling human flesh and parts as food right back to the local Texans. It's easy to see why people would think this movie was actually based on true events. That is the scary part. Just like Hitchcock did before him, Tobe Hooper uses Ed Gein and his exploits as inspiration for the Leatherface character. It's done really well. 

The fear is present throughout the entire movie. Tobe Hooper does such a good job with implying what is actually going on. Surprisingly this movie has very little blood at all. I think Marilyn BurnS got it the worst. She was the bloodiest by the end of the movie. It was all just bloody clothes though. With a movie that has Chainsaw Massacre in the title like this to not be a virtual bloodbath and still succeed is something in of itself. It is really truly amazing where your mind will take you. The massacre really happens in your mind. Most of that happens off camera. Sure you get to see the aftermath but hardly the actual act. Genius.

From the opening credits to the final strange dancing scene. This movie is bizarre. The movie's title is intimidating enough to stave off casual viewers. However, for those that are brave enough to venture beyond the DVD sleeve a masterful horror movie awaits. Watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is something that you can check off of your bucket list of movies. Needless to say, I highly recommend it to anyone that's a fan of the genre or anyone that's even mildly interested.

That's the last goddamn hitchhiker I ever pick up.

  • During the dinner scene towards the end of the film, when Leatherface cuts Sally's finger, he actually does cut her finger because they couldn't get the fake blood to come out of the tube behind the blade.

  • A family was actually living in the house that served as the Sawyer family house in the later half of the movie. They rented out their house to the film crew and continued to stay there during the entire shoot. During filming, the crew discovered that one of the residents had been cultivating a marijuana field; fearful that production would be shut down if they were found near the plants, the filmmakers called the Sheriff, who never arrived to investigate.

  • Leatherface had "lines" in the script that were gibberish with little side notes indicating what he was trying to say.