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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Tobe Hooper

Related: cannibalism in film - cult films - banned films - slasher genre - horror films - 1974 films

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Tobe Hooper [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Still from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - Tobe Hooper

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 '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 with Psycho, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. --Jim Emerson for amazon.com


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a low-budget horror film, made in 1974 by director Tobe Hooper and starring Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal, Allen Danzinger, Paul A. Partain, and Jim Siedow.

It concerns a family of cannibals in Texas, who abduct customers from their gas station. One of the main characters Leatherface kills his victims with a chainsaw. The film was inspired, like the films Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs, by serial killer Ed Gein.

Contrary to popular belief, the film is not based on factual events, but instead was loosely inspired by Ed Gein, who did wear human masks. Those who do believe the film was based on actual events will try to back up their statements with similar events in Texas, all of which had nothing to do with the film. Although the film's opening would have one believe that the events are factual, it was merely a scare tactic to pull the audience in to be frightened. (Incidentally, the opening voice-over is done by John Larroquette.)

It is often considered the prototype of the slasher film sub-genre. Despite its grisly subject matter, the film like John Carpenter's original Halloween does not rely so much on explicit gore to generate terror in the audience, as it does pacing, suspense, and dramatic tension. The many sequels and imitators the original film spawned have been much bloodier and more graphic.

The film was banned in the United Kingdom (1974-1999, but was subsequently issued on video and DVD). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Texas_Chainsaw_Massacre [Apr 2005]

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