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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

By Jim Emerson

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 for Psycho), the original Jeffrey Dahmer, Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows 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 Super70s, Awesome80s, 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 with Psycho, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Trivia!

An uncredited John Larroquette (of Night Court fame) provides narration!

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"One of the all time greats. Tobe Hooper's documentary style horror gives one the sense of taking part in the drama. Although raw at times, it cruelly forces the viewer to pick their point of view in the film or have it chosen for them. I was fortunate enough to see this movie at its prime in the "Drive In Movie" era and still remember the unnerving feelings it gave me sitting in the car alone. A must see for any horror or slasher fans, it is the embodiment of a Fangoria issue, and a true original for the time. If you thought this movie was campy, try "The Funhouse", it's great as a double feature of Tobe Hooper's work...you won't regret it!"

--HorrorHike75

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Tobe Hooper

Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Gunner Hansen, Allen Danzinger, William Vail, Paul Partain

Released: October 1, 1974

Availability: DVD VHS


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