The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Critics Consensus: 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 Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoJust as Hitchcock's Psycho was based on the life of deeply disturbed farmer Ed Gein, so is this little story of depravity and dementia. When a sister and her brother take a group of friends to visit the farmhouse of their deceased grandfather, they discover that just next door lives a whole family of repugnant psycho killers. Most noteworthy is "Leatherface" who is the bloke who wields the power saw and has a penchant for human flesh. Though the film did not enjoy immediate success at the box office, it has since gathered a hefty cult following. Directed by Tobe Hooper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is considered by many to be groundbreaking work in the genre of horror. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
his abattoir of a movie boasts sledgehammers, meathooks and chainsaws, and the result, though not especially visceral, is noisy, relentless, and about as subtle as having your leg sawed off without anaesthetic.
The picture gets to you more through its intensity than its craft, but Hooper does have a talent.
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.
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.
A genuine classic of the genre, a punishing, unrelenting nightmare that never allows viewers even a moment of sanity or security.
Tobe Hooper's grindhouse masterpiece abounds in snuff ambience and cacophonous trauma
Hooper and his art director Bob Burns conjured up a picture of hell in rural America...absolutely essential for fans of the horror genre.
A genuine American nightmare that is not only uncompromisingly ferocious but truly original, and as much an art film in its way as another fact-inspired murder movie shot a year earlier by another Texas-connected filmmaker, Terrence Malick's 'Badlands.'
As disgusting, harrowing, and ugly as the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is, the film has moments of eerie beauty.
Hooper's unrelenting assault on the senses is one of the most streamlined, sadistic horror movies ever made.
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.
Chainsaw-wielding Leatherface remains one of the most disturbing characters in horror.
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.
Artfully documentarylike and shot under conditions that produced genuinely traumatized performances, the original Massacre eschews cheap thrills and attacks the psyche.
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.
It's a masterpiece, pure and simple..a smart young director summing up the basest instincts of his species.
Seeing this again recently has convinced me that it's quite a bit better than I initially judged.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre loses none of its intensity as the years go by.
Audience Reviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tobe Hooper's controversial classic is a landmark stamp in the genre of horror and a step towards the slasher sub genre. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a rare low-budget overnight sensation that produced hysteria and is still a disturbingly entertaining film for audiences then and now. 4/5More
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.More
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.More
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.More
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Quotes
- Old Man:
- Look what your brother did to the door!
- [when they arrive at the old house, upon seeing its condition] Oh, I wish they hadn't let the place fall apart.
- Now it looks like the birthplace of Bela Lugosi.
- 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.
- [to The Cook] You're crazy! Please, you've got to make them stop.
- [laughing and mocking Sally] He can't stop it. He's just a cook!
- Old Man:
- [to the Hitchhiker] Shut up, you bitch hog!
- Isn't that right? Me and Leatherface do all the work. You're just the cook.
- 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.
- Old Man:
- (yelling at the hitchhiker and Leatherface, as they taunt Sally) You don't need to torture the girl!
- You just shut, remember you're just a cook! - (points to Leatherface. And me and him will handle this!
- Old Man:
- Well get on with it. I won't have this.
- (looks and smiles at Sally) We ain't in no hurry, cause you ain't going no place, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
- (tied up on a chair, crying for the Old Man) You're crazy. You got to make them stop. Please.
- He's nothing. He's just a cook.
- Old Man:
- (mad at the hitchhiker) Shut up you bitch hog!
- Me and Leaterface do all the work. He don't like it, ain't that right, You're just a cook!
- Old Man:
- (yells) Shut your mouse! (sits down) You don't understand.
- I understand you ain't nothing. (points to Leatherface). Me and him do all the work!
- 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.
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