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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 46
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 4

Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1

Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.

audience

82

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 200,118

My Rating

Movie Info

Tobe Hooper's influential cult classic continues the subgenre of horror films based on the life and "career" of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, which began with Alfred Hitchcock's own influential cult classic Psycho. When Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) hears that the Texas cemetery where her grandfather is buried has been vandalized, she gathers her wheelchair-bound brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) and several other friends together to see if grandpa's remains are still in one piece. While in

R,

Classics, Horror

Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper

Oct 13, 1993

Bryanston Pictures

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

August 14, 2014:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel Gets a Writer
Scott M. Sherwood is on board to pen the script for the project, now titled "Leatherface."
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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (4) | DVD (17)

The picture gets to you more through its intensity than its craft, but Hooper does have a talent.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the heavy doses of gore in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper's pic is well-made for an exploiter of its type.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (4)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is some kind of weird, off-the-wall achievement. I can't imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, and yet it's well-made, well-acted, and all too effective.

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (35)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hooper's unrelenting assault on the senses is one of the most streamlined, sadistic horror movies ever made.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Time has not dimmed the shock value of this seminal classic from director Tobe Hooper that's based on the same real-life case that inspired Psycho.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Chainsaw-wielding Leatherface remains one of the most disturbing characters in horror.

October 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Still a remarkable and utterly unnerving horror film to this day...

June 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Best for older teens and adults only.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn't try anything funny, there are no winks to the audience. And it's all the better because of it.

October 19, 2010 Full Review Source: BBC.com | Comment (1)
BBC.com

Artfully documentarylike and shot under conditions that produced genuinely traumatized performances, the original Massacre eschews cheap thrills and attacks the psyche.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

All these elements set the stage for some of the most prolonged scenes of sustained panic ever captured by cinema, as Hooper infects characters and viewers alike with the thrill of a madness from which there can be no real escape.

November 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

A cutthroat, unendingly bleak masterpiece of horror cinema.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: DustinPutman.com
DustinPutman.com

It's a masterpiece, pure and simple..a smart young director summing up the basest instincts of his species.

June 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Seeing this again recently has convinced me that it's quite a bit better than I initially judged.

October 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre loses none of its intensity as the years go by.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The violence is outdated by today's standards, but the original Chainsaw still packs a punch with its rough look and disturbing overtones.

September 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The Great American Horror Movie.

August 3, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com | Comments (3)
eFilmCritic.com

The film's intense final half achieves its unshakable effect through a combination of things aside from graphic gore.

January 12, 2007 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

A profoundly sensitive look at social prejudices and the toll said prejudices take on the human social organism.

November 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

An intelligent, absorbing, and deeply disturbing horror film that is nearly bloodless in its depiction of violence.

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

While groundbreaking for its time and responsible for establishing many elements of B movie horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn't hold up as well as I had hoped. The acting is over the top and as bad as can possible be expected, but it doesn't really hurt the film that much. The camerawork is unique and adds a nice change of direction for the film. The story itself is unpredictable and suspenseful for about half the movie, but as soon as people start getting killed off it degenerates into typical horror fashion until a few twists are presented towards the end. This is actually a pretty tame film by today's standards (it cuts away from any kills when they are happening so you don't see guts and gore), but the way it is presented still makes it seem depraved. The fact that this film was banned back in the 70's is kind of funny. You could say the story is somewhat exploitive, especially towards the end, but nothing made my stomach turn. Overall, it was a solid low budget horror film that is respected due to its influence on the genre and for that I recommend it. Just don't expect it to live up to other classics like Psycho and Halloween.
August 9, 2014
jlewis07

Super Reviewer

There have been grosser films: films that are weirder, more upsetting, and bloodier, but undeniably this was the first, and the best, shocker horror film. Though it says in the preface that the events are based in historical fact, none of it really happened. Some of it was based on the exploits of Ed Gein from Wisconsin who also inspired the character of Hannibal Lecter. "Texas" redefined the area of horror dealing with a principle villain, and effectively created the slasher genre. The reason that "Texas" is brutally entertaining is because of the sickening content, but more importantly the ferocity and feral manner of its lead: Leatherface. Leatherface is innocent and yet animalistic, unsure of himself and yet predatory in his actions, making him the perfect killer, and the most lasting character. The first death comes out of nowhere, and from there the elicit story of this strange cannibal family comes to light slowly. These killers have no sympathy for their victims, and they will kill anyone who crosses their path. The final dinner scene is so disgusting and gory that it stays with you in the worst kind of way, making this a mainstay horror classic in every sense of the word.
April 18, 2014
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

A nasty, unrelentingly brutal exercise in terror concerning four young people who venture off into remote Texas to check out one of their grandfather's old farmhouse after making sure his grave site has not been violated. What they discover, one by one in pure slasher-horror movie fashion, is something more inexplicably terrifying than they could ever imagine. While it breaks many cardinal rules, including providing next to no character development, the sheer experience alone, especially the final forty minutes are so, are unlike anything captured in cinema outside of maybe "Alien". A remarkable horror movie that is impossible to recommend given its sick subject matter, but from a pure artistic, construction standpoint, this is an excellent, unforgettable movie.
January 20, 2014
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

In 1974, Tobe Hooper brought one of the most demented madmen to the screen with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With this film, Leatherface would become one of the most iconic horror villains in the genre's history. This is a shocking film that delivers one of the most intense horror experiences. What I love about this film is that it plays on the psychological aspects of the viewer and it adds to the experience. This is a shocking picture that is genuinely terrifying and disturbing and is well acted by its cast who give great performances. The idea is so simple and that is what makes the film far better than most horror films of today. Tobe Hooper has made one of the definitive horror classics with this film and it is essential viewing for any up and coming horror fan. This is a modern horror classic that can't be rivalled by any horror film that came after. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a film that stands in its own category and its influence is unmatched. What separates this film from other Slasher is that like Carpenter's Halloween, it relied more on suspense to create the terror on-screen, and the result is a truly intense film that is flawless in terms of genuine scares, the film borders on exploitation and it works brilliantly to induce shock into the viewer. In a few scenes Hooper directs the camera deep down into the action, and it ends up being an exercise in grotesque, cruel depravity that has hints of claustrophobia. Hooper gives us a nightmare that you can't escape from, and even with its final scene, there is still a void of hope due to the fact that the first hour and a half were so unflinching that you simply can't believe that there is a happy ending to this picture.
January 12, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Old Man: Look what your brother did to the door!
    – Submitted by Connor L (2 years ago)
    1. Sally: [when they arrive at the old house, upon seeing its condition] Oh, I wish they hadn't let the place fall apart.
    2. Jerry: Now it looks like the birthplace of Bela Lugosi.
    – Submitted by Bria M (2 years ago)
    1. Narrator: The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
    – Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)
    1. Sally: [to The Cook] You're crazy! Please, you've got to make them stop.
    2. Hitchhiker: [laughing and mocking Sally] He can't stop it. He's just a cook!
    3. Old Man: [to the Hitchhiker] Shut up, you bitch hog!
    4. Hitchhiker: Isn't that right? Me and Leatherface do all the work. You're just the cook.
    5. Old Man: Shut your mouth! I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it.
    – Submitted by Gavin S (3 years ago)
    1. Old Man: (yelling at the hitchhiker and Leatherface, as they taunt Sally) You don't need to torture the girl!
    2. Hitchhiker: You just shut, remember you're just a cook! - (points to Leatherface. And me and him will handle this!
    3. Old Man: Well get on with it. I won't have this.
    4. Hitchhiker: (looks and smiles at Sally) We ain't in no hurry, cause you ain't going no place, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
    1. Sally: (tied up on a chair, crying for the Old Man) You're crazy. You got to make them stop. Please.
    2. Hitchhiker: He's nothing. He's just a cook.
    3. Old Man: (mad at the hitchhiker) Shut up you bitch hog!
    4. Hitchhiker: Me and Leaterface do all the work. He don't like it, ain't that right, You're just a cook!
    5. Old Man: (yells) Shut your mouse! (sits down) You don't understand.
    6. Hitchhiker: I understand you ain't nothing. (points to Leatherface). Me and him do all the work!
    7. Old Man: Well I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There is, just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it.
    – Submitted by Creep F (3 years ago)
View all quotes (23)

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